23 Top things to do in Benalmadena Spain

Looking for what to do in Benalmadena Spain? The enchanting coastal town is one of the best places to stay in Costa del Sol with so much to explore.

We recently spent 3 months house-sitting in Benalmadena and got plenty of time to explore this vibrant coastal town near Malaga. It has always been one of my favorite towns, but spending more time there was great.

Among the best things to do in Benalmadena Spain, visit the fairytale castle of Colomares, hike to old mines, take the cable car to the best views, and sip drinks on the energetic marina.

Benalmadena is less walkable than other cities and towns in the region as you have the coastal area and Benalmadena Pueblo which is perched on the hillside above it. But you can easily take the bus or an Uber to get between the two places.

Read on for the top attractions in Benalmadena so you don’t miss out on any fun activities when visiting.

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Ferris wheel on a marina with boats for rent in the water - best things to do in Benalmadena Spain

Things to do in Benalmadena

Visit Benalmadena Pueblo

Benalmadena Pueblo is perched on the hillside overlooking Benalmadena Costa and is everything you can want from a Pueblo Blanco.

Whitewashed houses, colorful pot plants, narrow cobblestoned streets, charming squares, and epic coastal views!

On top of the village, there is a baroque church, Iglesia de Santo Domingo de Guzmán, overlooking the coast.

There are several restaurants and bars to enjoy a bite to eat or a drink on a sunny day.

People shopping in a narrow, cobbled street with white hourses and plants and shops - what to do in Benalmadena Spain

Watch the sunset in Jardines del Muro

Just below the viewpoint in Benalmadena Pueblo, you find the Jardines del Muro,a beautiful terraced park along the old Moorish Walls.

Nestled in the pine trees overlooking the coast, you’ll find one of my favorite restaurants and bars in Benalmadena. Not only are the views spectacular, but they have live music on the weekends (at least in the summer.)

They serve barbeque and have always prepared me fabulous Parilla de Verduras (grilled vegetables.) Nothing beats the sunsets from there and it’s the perfect place to have a drink on the terrace with live music and watch as the colors change over the sea as the sun sets.

Idyllic restaurant and bar in a park with sea views in Benalmadena. Things to do like going for a walk, having a drink or eating dinner are perfect there.

Go for a stroll in the Paloma Park

Paloma Park is the biggest and most popular park in Benalmadena. Translated, it means Pigeon Park, and indeed there are a lot of pigeons there.

But there’s a lot more to this park than pigeons. With a large duck pond, a cactus garden, a big playground, farm animals, several bars, and exercise machines, you won’t get bored.

We lived right next to it, so we went there nearly daily walking and training the puppy and doing some exercise (it’s basically a free gym with pond views!)

I’ve been to Parque de Las Palomas many times before and always enjoyed the vibe so it was nice to spend so much time there.

On sunny days especially, you’ll notice how much the locals use the park whether it’s to build muscles, have a drink with friends, let the kids play, walk the dog, or chill with a book in the grass.

No wonder the park has become one of Benalmadena’s attractions when visiting the coastal town.

Palomas Park Benalmadena

Grab a drink at Plaza de la Tribuna

There are many lively squares in Benalmadena perfect for a drink, but I especially like the vibe at Plaza de la Tribuna on a sunny day.

It’s nestled in the narrow streets of Arroyo de la Miel neighborhood and there’s an old water fountain and arch at the entrance of the square. I guess it just speaks to me.

However, I don’t seem to be the only one, because more often than not, you’ll have to wait for a free table at any of the restaurants and bars.

people having drinks at Plaza de la Tribuna benalmadena

Look for street art

Like so many other places on Costa del Sol, Benalmadena is home to amazing street art. From the marina to Arroyo de la Miel, several pieces have caught my attention.

Make sure you keep your eyes peeled for street art wherever you go because you never know where you’ll come across something cool.

Street art in Benalmadena of a sea God holding a turtle.

Take a boat tour

Being one of the biggest coastal towns in Andalucia, there are plenty of boat tours to take in Benalmadena.

At the marina, you can get on speed boat tours, dolphin-watching tours, or a ferry service to Fuengirola. I highly recommend going on any of these really, though I really enjoyed the dolphin-watching tour.

If you fancy a party boat cruise, this 3-hour tour is a great one with a live DJ on board and even swimming stops when the sea allows it.

Me sitting on a staircase under a wallpainting saying Benalmadena with my puppy Baby Atlas in my lap.

Chill at the beach

There are several great beaches in Benalmadena where you can enjoy long summer days. The beaches are all well equipped with amenities like showers, toilets, beach bars, and parasols and sunbeds for rent.

You can also rent paddle boats and paddleboards on some of them in the summer. In the off-season, there are no lifeguards, but you can still go swimming and sunbathe nonetheless as long as the weather allows it.

I went for a dip in January and February and it was actually refreshing because the sun was warming up so much. That said, I always see tourists bathing even on cloudy and cold days, so I guess it depends on what temperatures you’re used to.

People walking on the beach, one of the fun things to do in Benalmadena

See the boats at the marina

Benalmadena Marina is one of the most charming marinas on Costa del Sol with plenty of restaurants and bars. It’s a fabulous place to spend an afternoon whether you opt for lunch or ice cream while people-watching.

I love strolling on the marina just looking at the luxury yachts and boats surrounded by white and blue buildings.

Benalmadena Marina

Visit Colomares Castle

One of the fun things to do in Benalmadena for big and small is to visit Colomares Castle. The fairytale castle was built as a monument for Christopher Columbus and the Age of Discovery between 1987 and 1994 and has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Benalmadena.

It’s located right beneath Benalmadena Pueblo and overlooks the glittering coast. You can climb up some of the towers, and it’s easily one of the most beautiful castles in Malaga.

Colomares Castle, one of the top tourist attractions in Benalmadena

Stroll along the promenade

One of the top things to do in Benalmadena is to go for a stroll along the promenade. It’s a long promenade stretching along several beaches on both sides of the marina with chiringuitos (beach bars) and parks where you can take a break.

What I love the most about the Benalmadena promenade is its diversity. You find several of Benalmadena’s attractions along it, like Bil Bil Castle and the marina, and rocky outcrops bringing out a vivid and natural touch.

Mohammend and our puppy Atlas walking along the promenade at sunset which is one of the top things to do in Benalmadena.

Seek out old Roman ruins

There were two Roman settlements in Benalmadena. You can see the remains of the 3rd-century AD Roman villa, Benalroma, which is the only Roman villa found in Costa del Sol.

There are also remains of an old Roman oil factory not too far from the villa. We also came across some excavations below Paloma Park that seemed reasonably new. It seemed to have a visitor’s center, but it was never open when we walked past.

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Snap a picture of Bil Bil Castle

Bil Bil Castle sits on Benalmadena’s promenade. It was originally constructed in 1927 as part of a residence for one of the wealthy families of Benalmadena.

It’s recognized for its red color and Moorish influence. While it now houses a cultural center, it’s still one of the most photographed sights in Benalmadena.

Bil Bil Castle Benalmadena

Go shopping

Shopping in Benalmadena won’t disappoint either. I really enjoy walking around in Arroyo de la Miel, a neighborhood about 5-10 minutes walk up the hill from Paloma Park. There are plenty of shops, bars, and restaurants.

The main street is full of shops, but there is also an energetic pedestrian street with shops and cafes. Besides, Benalmadena Pueblo is a fantastic place to find art and handicrafts.

There are also quite a few shops in the marina whether you’re looking for jewelry or clothes. Next to Paloma Park, there’s also a market where you can find anything from olives to clothes.

pedestrian street in Benalmadena

Take the cable car

One of the absolute must things to see in Benalmadena are the views from the Calamorro mountain. The best and easiest way to reach the top is by cable car.

It’s a 15-minute journey and on the top you can walk to Cima Calamorro which is the peak itself.

I highly recommend taking the cable car for anyone who’s not interested in hiking up the mountain. However, in the summer months, it’s too hot to hike, so the cable car is your only sensible option. If you feel sporty but don’t want to walk uphill, you can also get a one-way ticket and walk back down.

Visit the Stupa of Enlightenment

The Stupa of Enlightenment is one of the most fascinating buildings in Benalmadena. The Buddhist temple seems completely out of place in southern Spain but in a good way.

It’s actually the tallest stupa in Europe with its 33 meters of altitude. Inside, it’s colorful yet serene with beautiful wall paintings, incense, and a simple altarpiece where you can see bowls of fruit offerings to Buddha. On my last visit, I was surprised to also see a LOT of Ferrero Rocher offerings.

I’ve always been intrigued to visit, but it wasn’t until we were house-sitting this winter that we finally went there. Two times actually, as we had a friend over from England, and we took him there too.

The location is absolutely mesmerizing perched on top of the hill overlooking the glittering coastline. There is a park beside the stupa where you can get beautiful views of the temple. If you have the time, I recommend walking to the edge of the cliff.

Benalmadena stupa

Hike to Minas de la Trinidad

One of Benalmadena’s things to do that often escapes the tourist radar is hiking. For a short 1.5-hour hike with spectacular views and a pinch of adventure, I highly recommend Minas de la Trinidad.

The hike starts by the Stupa of Enlightenment and takes you up the hillside to an old mine. You must bring a headlamp as it’s pitch black if you want to venture into the caves.

I forgot to put on my headlamp last time I went and tried to use my phone flashlight, but it was useless, so I had to dig into my backpack.

This is not a secured cave and you should be very careful inside, especially if you bring kids. There are drops and you must follow the arrows that are marked in the cave walls to make sure you don’t get lost.

At one point, the path becomes tricky as it climbs further up with steep drops so I don’t recommend continuing unless you’re with a local that knows the path and you have proper equipment.

However, if you walk as far as you feel comfortable, it’s a fun adventure. But make sure you wear good shoes and clothes you don’t mind getting dirty because you’ll be well dusty when you get back out!

Me and my dog Ayla inside Minas de la Trinidad with a headlamp to see the cave ahead.

Join one of the Fiestas

You already know that Spain is famous for its Fiestas, and Benalmadena is no different. One of the best things to do in Benalmadena is to join any of the festivities.

The 5th and 6th of January is Three King’s Day, and you can see epic processions through the streets followed by the carnival in February.

We were lucky to come across carnival parades in Benalmadena Pueblo this winter when taking our friend sightseeing.

The Benalmadena Fair usually takes place in August, but there is also Feria Virgen de la Cruz in Benalmadena Pueblo in June.

Besides, I’m sure they have plenty of other fun festivities I haven’t listed here – there always are!

Colorful clowns walking through a narrow street of whitewashed houses in Benalmadena carnival

Have fun in Prison Island

Have you ever been to an escape room? In that case, try it out when in Benalmadena. On the Marina, there is a fun escape room called Prison Island.

I’ve been once and really enjoyed it! They have 24 cells with different challenges and it’s great for kids and adults alike. They also have a laser tag game in Laser Island, which I haven’t tried yet, but have friends who brag about it big time!

If you’re looking for things to do in Benalmadena when it rains, look no further that Prison Island.

Go on a day trip to Gibraltar

A day trip to Gibraltar from Benalmadena is definitely one of the best things to do. Benalmadena is only an hour and a half from the small British territory and the only place in Europe where you can see wild monkeys.

If you’ve been following any of my blogs, you know that I’m a big advocate for ethical animal tourism. I refrain from any activity that includes captive animals and animal interactions, so if you want to see monkeys, do it in Gibraltar.

But be responsible and don’t feed them and only let them sit on you if they choose to, so don’t try to pet them or chase them in any way.

Besides the monkeys, there are plenty of fun things to do in Gibraltar like taking the cable car, seeing the views of The Rock, and getting underground in the St. Michael’s Caves.

Gibraltar monkey

Visit Mijas Pueblo

Make sure you visit Mijas Pueblo which is one of the most beautiful white villages in Andalucia. Among the best things to do in Mijas Pueblo, is to stroll along the old castle walls which make out the main park which consists of several lookouts.

But the village also has its own chocolate factory where you can take chocolate-making classes and purchase local chocolate. They also have two cafés where they sell exquisite hot chocolate (especially tasty during the cooler winter months) and ice cream.

The whitewashed houses and narrow streets are a tourist attraction on their own with the typical colored pot plants on the walls.

Besides, there are several museums you can visit, I especially love the Miniature Museum which exhibits everything miniature you can think of.

Mijas Pueblo Spain

Splurge at El Higueron Spa

Located above the A7 highway in the direction of Fuengirola, El Higueron is an exquisite luxury hotel with sweeping views of the coastline.

They have outdoor pools with a view and a world-class spa. If you want to splurge, I highly recommend spending the night there, it’s one of the best places I’ve stayed just to get pampered for the day.

You used to be able to pay to use the pool area even if you weren’t staying there, but it doesn’t seem like that’s the case anymore. Nonetheless, it’s totally worth staying there as one of the best places to stay in Fuengirola.

Walk El Caminito del Rey

One of the top places to visit in Andalucia is El Caminito del Rey in the mesmerizing Gaitanes Gorge. The walk used to be the most dangerous hike in the world. Now, the 100-meter-high footpath is safely rebuilt.

It takes a couple of hours to walk the incredible pathway on the vertical gorge wall including a stunning hanging bridge to cross to the other side.

You must book tickets in advance and I highly recommend getting this guided tour to get more background information about the site. We’re talking about one of the most important landmarks in Andalucia, so it’s not surprisingly one of the best day trips from Benalmadena.

El Caminito del Rey path along a vertical cliff wall with a hanging bridge at the mouth of the gorge.

Go on a day trip to Malaga

Finally, no list of Benalmadena’s things to do is complete without mentioning a day trip to Malaga. The capital city of Costa del Sol is such a stunning city with plenty of things to do.

From exploring Malaga Old Town with its historical sites like the Alcazaba of Malaga, the Roman Theater, and the Gibralfaro Castle.

Visit Malaga Cathedral, visit some of Malaga’s parks, and take a stroll along Muelle Uno where there are several fun boat tours you can take. You can easily take the train to Malaga in half an hour.

Views of Malaga with palm trees and building leading to the coast.

Reflections on what to do in Benalmadena

Summing up the best things to do in Benalmadena Spain, there are so many fun activities and attractions making this a prime place to stay near Malaga and base for day trips.

Whether you’re traveling to Benalmadena with kids, as a group of friends, or solo, there are so many fun things to do I can’t recommend Benalmadena enough as a holiday destination.

Happy travels!