There are hundreds of sights, activities and fun things to keep everyone happy on the Costa del Sol. We’ve picked out 10 ideas for starters… and no matter how many times you return, you’ll discover many more with new attractions appearing all the time.
1. Benalmadena Butterfly Park
‘Where colours fly…’ is the slogan for one of the Costa del Sol’s quieter attractions,a butterfly park inside a wonderful Thai temple-like building, just outside Benalmádena pueblo off Avenida de Retamar.
With its gold decorated roof and distinctive design, it’s easy to spot – especially as it sits next to the impressive Buddhist Stupa offering spectacular views across the coast, which means you can conveniently tie-in a visit to both.
2. The Teleférico Cable Car – Benalmadena
The summit of the Calamorro mountain offers one of the best panoramic views of the Costa del Sol – on a clear day it’s possible to see around 150km in either direction, from Gibraltar in the west to the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Granada province to the east!
And experiencing the amazing view is no longer the sole domain of shepherds and climbers – you can see it for yourself with an exhilarating ride to the top on the Teleférico cable car out of Arroyo de la Miel, near Benalmadena.
3. Benalmadena Marina
During the 1990s, it was twice named ‘Best Marina in the World’ and with its artificial islands and stunning architecture (architect Eduardo Oria*) it is a real jewel in the crown for Benalmádena.
Puerto Marina (Marina Port) radiates glamour, and it is where to head for more upmarket and sophisticated bars, restaurants and nightlife on this part of the coast. From Select Benal Beach you can walk (just under 2km), take a taxi or catch a bus along the coast road.
4. Sea Life Benalmadena
A fascinating life beneath the ocean waves is revealed on a visit to Benalmádena’s massive Sea Life aquarium in the marina, from fearsome predators and weird looking creatures down to pretty, prehistoric seahorses and brilliantly coloured tropical fish.
With 36 displays, a touch and hold rockpool and a spectacular underwater tunnel for incredible close-ups of sharks, and hundreds of other inhabitants of the planet’s deep oceans and seas, there’s plenty of bang for your buck.
5. Selwo Marina
Selwo Marina in Benalmadena is a classic holiday attraction. Andalucia’s one and only dolphinarium is the perfect way to spend a day out with the family while enjoying your holiday at Select Benal Beach – and it’s almost right next door!
The park offers an exciting range of activities and exhibits, with regular live events that not only thrill spectators but also provide a first class opportunity to learn about rare and endangered species through interactive sessions with many of the park’s wonderful marine mammals.
6. Bil-Bil Castle
A red, Arabic-style fortress that looks straight from a movie set sits conspicuously by the promenade on the Benalmádena seafront; this is Bil Bil Castle or el Castillo de Bil-Bil.
This is no ancient castle; it was built in the 20th century, begun in 1927 and completed in 1934. Designed to be a family home for wealthy couple Leon and Fernanda Hermann, they never actually got to live there due to the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War two years later.
7. Benalmadena Nightlife
If you like late nights, then you can be out enjoying yourself through to breakfast time in Benalmádena; one of the Costa del Sol’s great party destinations with a huge variety of clubs, discos, pubs and entertainment venues catering for all ages and tastes.
Most famous, infamous even, is Plaza Solymar – which everyone knows as ’24 Hour Square’. This raucous area does exactly what it says on the tin.
8. Tivoli World
Where in the world will every member of the family find entertainment and leisure pursuits they can enjoy: Tivoli World show and amusement park at Arroyo de la Miel on the Costa del Sol, that’s where.
The fairground/theme park is a long-established attraction that prides itself on variety, value for money and providing great shared memories for families to take away with them – and each year something fresh is added to the menu of rides, shows and services.
9. Benalmadena Beaches
Stretching along the Benalmádena Costa for near on 10km are beaches that range from peaceful small coves to broad stretches favoured by families and creating a busy and fun ambience with lots of things to do; there is even a nudist beach: Benalnatura.
Several carry the Blue Flag and the beaches have a reputation for cleanliness and facilities; most have showers, sun beds, water sports and nearby places to eat and drink.
10. Paloma Park
There is a place you can escape to that feels a million miles from the commercialism of the coast, and yet it is set right at the heart of the thriving holiday centre of Benalmádena and it is called Paloma Park.
From the main coast road it is a few hundred metres in the direction of Arroyo de la Miel, and it offers a day out for the family that is not only free but just as memorable and fun as many other paid attractions on offer.