Benalmadena

About Benalmadena, Spain

Benalmádena is a town in Andalusia in southern Spain, 12 kilometers west of Málaga, on the Costa del Sol between Torremolinos and Fuengirola. It caters for a large number of tourists, and is also home to the 33 meter tall Buddhist Benalmádena Stupa.

The sheltered Costa del Sol is shaped by a succession of extensive beaches, coves almost hidden between cliffs, marinas and anchorage for fishing. Residential areas, marinas, golf clubs, entertainment centers, nightclubs and many more tourist attractions have been built around and now coexist within the peaceful ambiance of country villages, which have astonishingly conserved their traditional town centers.
Summer beach holidays and all the appeal that this can offer along this stretch of the Mediterranean is not, however, the only attraction offered by the Costa del Sol: you will have the chance to uncover the most genuine, authentic features of the Andalusian culture very close by. In addition to the folkloric displays in the tourist centers, you can also experience the lively and popular celebrations. The fiestas, Easter parades, song contests and the bull runs without a doubt claim first place on the list of recommendations for travellers who want to see beyond what first meets the eye.

Beaches
There are so many wonderful beaches along the 154 km stretch of sand of the Costa del Sol, it would be impossible to name then all. Exploration will be part of the fun. However popular destinations include:

La Malagueta, in Malaga, is a popula hangout with lots of action.

In Torremolinos head out to La Carihuela beach, Bajondillo beach, Carihuela beach, Los Álamos beach or Playamar beach.

While in Marbella good beaches to explore are San Pedro de Alcántara, Playa de la Bajadilla and Playa de Fontanilla.

Benalmadera has long stretches of sunny beaches like Torrevijía, Carvajal, Torre Bermeja, Playa Santa Ana and Las Viborillas.

Climate The Costa del Sol enjoys a subtropical climate. The summer's season lasts about 8 months, from April to November. The warmest winters in Europe are found here with average temperatures of 17° C during the day and 7° C at night in the period from December to February. Malaga enjoys plenty of sunshine with an average of about 300 days of sunshine each year.

Geography
The Costa del Sol is a region in the south of Spain along the Mediterranean coastline of the Málaga province. It lies about 100 km east of the Strait of Gibraltar and about 130 km on north of Africa.

Protected from the northern winds by a mountain chain that in some parts comes down to meet the sea, the coast is dotted with valleys, beaches and coves. The proximity of such different landscapes -the mountain, the valleys blanketed in vegetable gardens and the sea- is, without a doubt, one of the greatest attractions of this coastline which combine all the appeal of the Mediterranean landscape and culture.

This destination guide includes the city of Málaga and the towns of Torremolinos, Benalmádena, Fuengirola and Marbella.

History Settlement in the region dates back to the Bronze Age, and has been colonized and ruled by many cultures such as the Phoenicians (about 770 BC), Carthaginians, Romans and Moors before the Reconquista of the Christians in 1487. Málaga has always been an exceptional site to establish trade routes, thanks to the strategic position of its port.

Historically its population lived in the fishing villages and in the mountains running down to the coast. The area was discovered and developed to meet the demands of international tourism in the 1950s and has since been a popular destination for foreign tourists not only for its beaches but also for its local culture.

Nature The mild climate encourages tropical vegetation in which palm and cypress trees, bougainvillea, oleander and hibiscus are common.

There are several natural spaces in the provinces's interior, such as Alcornocales-Sierra del Aljibe Nature Reserve, the Montes de Málaga Nature Reserve or the Sierra de las Nieves Nature Reserve. All of these can offer wonderful nature walks, cycling or intense rock climbing experiences, depending on what you like.Climbers should check out the amazing El Chorro gorge, Via Ferrata and El Torcal.

Lake Negratin, one of Europe’s largest lakes, is situated at the foothills of Mount Jabalcon. The area is famous for its magnificent lunar-landscape.. There is a man made beach, a few restaurants and basic water sports rentals round the lake.

Unique to Here The province has a rich Moorish heritage, including many fantastic examples of Moorish architecture which were built during the eight centuries when Andalucia was the centre of the Arab population in the Iberian peninsular. The Moorish rule effectively ended in 1492AD when the Christians recaptured Granada.

Andalucia is the home and birth place of the dance know as Flamenco. The Museo del Baile Flamenco (Flamenco Dance Museum) in Seville is the ideal place to learn more about this tradition. To see a show look for clubs dedicated to Flamenco called Tablaos. They are the best places to see a unique flamenco performance.

Airport :
Malaga Airport Airport Tax : None Distance from Airport : 16 kilometers to the northwest Tourist Office : Plaza de la Marina 11. 29001. Malaga, +34 952122020 Tourist Season : April to June, and September to October Festivals & Events March/April - Semana Santa

April to October - Bullfighting fairs, all over the south of Spain

April - Feria de Sevilla

May - Feria de Nuestra Señora de la Salud, Cordoba

June - Feria de Marbella

August - Feria de Malaga, a week-long festival of Spanish culture and history, with sweet wine, tapas, and live flamenco shows filling the town.

September 8th - Grape Harvest Festival, Jerez

Transportation The Costa del Sol is served by Malaga Airport, an international airport, and it offers daily links with twenty cities in Spain and over a hundred cities in the world.

Each town has a train station that leads to the main city of Malaga. Malaga's main rail station is María Zambrano station which is connected with Madrid and then Barcelona and France. A high-speed train now also runs to Madrid and Barcelona.

Buses are another form of transport around the Costa del Sol. Málaga's bus station is right next to the train station. Taxis are available everywhere as well. Pubic transit exists in Malaga. There are two commuter train lines along the Costa del Sol.

Towns and cities are well served by highways. Numerous rental car agents operate from Malaga. Be advised parking in the towns can be very difficult.

The Port of Malaga is the areas main seaport and has been in operation continuously at least since 600 BC. There are ferries to Africa from here.

Activities & Sports
With stretches of sands as far as the eye can see there is not surprise to learn visitors will find several locations to practice any water sport imaginable: pedal boats, jet skis, parasailing, windsurfing, water skiing, scuba diving, and boat rentals and excursions which can include dolphin watching.

Golf has taken over the Costa del Sol with a fury as there are more than 60 quality courses to be play. There are golf courses to suit all levels of players and most are set in spectacular settings. The biggest agglomerations of golf courses can be found in Malaga, Marbella, Fuengirola and Benal.

The lasting activity you would expect to read about from a sun destination is skiing. But there is close by the famous Spanish Ski resort of Sierra Nevada which is open, depending on the snow levels, from the end of November or the beginning of December until sometime in April.

Bullfighting is a traditional sport in the south of Spain that runs from April to October. There are about 70 active bullrings called corridas. Even if many groups advocate against this blood sport it still remains an extremely popular sport in Andalucia. Spanish-style bullfighting is called corrida de toros where three matadores each fight two bulls. The bullfight usually concludes with the killing of the bull by a single sword thrust which is called estocada.

There are so many other sports that you can practice like horse riding, football, tennis, hiking, hunting and fishing. Outside Torremolinos visitors can spend the day at Aqualand, a huge water park. Another water park, Mijas Aquapark, can be found just outside Fuengirola. There is a horseracing track about 15 minutes from the centre of Marbella at the Hipodromo Mijas Costa.

Archaeology With a history going back to the Bronze Age it is no wonder that so many archaeological sites litter the Costa del Sol. Sites worth exploring are the Roman baths of Guadalmina or the Roman villa of Río Verde in Marbella.

In Fuengirola you will find the sites of Finca del Secretario and Torreblanca, where there are Roman baths, remains of a fish salting factory and a graveyard with 32 Visigoth burial tombs. Not far from the necropolis are the remains of the Basílica Vega del Mar, a paleo-Christian construction built by the Visigoths in the 4th century.

Attractions & Sights Inhabited for more than 2,000 years by different Mediterranean civilizations, Malaga is today a city which combines tradition and modernity. Stretching below the watchful eye of the Castle of Gibralfaro is a lively and bustling city crammed with beautiful parks, such as Alameda Principal, La Conception Botanical & Historical Garden Malaga or the promenade of La Farola, in which it is possible to discover neighborhoods such as El Perchel, El Ejido or La Trinidad.

The Moorish Castle of Gibralfaro (14th century), joined to the Alcazaba (11th century), by a stretch of wall, gives the best views of the city, which opens out onto the sea with the port and the promenade of La Farola, one of the major leisure areas in the city. At the foot of Gibralfaro is the Roman Theatre (1st century BC), the bullring (known as “Plaza de Toros de la Malagueta”) and the historic quarter of the city.

Historic Malaga offers countless spots and corners full of local color. The façade of the City Hall, from the early 20th century, can be admired, as can the Merced square, dominated by the Monument to Torrijos and where the house in which the famous painter Pablo Ruiz Picasso was born is situated. A tour of the historic quarter must take in the busy Pasaje de Chinitas, calle Granada and calle Larios, the old town's main thoroughfare. The harbor is one of the oldest and most important in Spain.

In the centre stands the Cathedral (16th-18th centuries), also known as “la Manquita” because of its unfinished right tower. This temple, beautifully executed in the Renaissance style, preserves an interesting series of chapels which contain fine examples of Andalusian images. In the old town, other prominent churches are Santiago (15th-18th centuries), with a beautiful Mudejar tower, los Mártires, Sagrado Corazón and Santo Cristo de la Salud.

Museums not to be missed include the CAC Malaga (Museum of modern art), the Museo Interactivo de la Música which has one of the largest collections of musical instruments in Europe, and of course the Picasso Museum Maximum loaded of objects and some paintings that the most famous artist of the 20th century created during his childhood. ____________________________________

Torremolinos is a town only 12 kilometres from Malaga. In the historic part of town stands the parish church of Nuestra Señora del Carmen, while it is also possible to find fine examples of noble architecture, outstanding among which is the Casa de los Navaja, built in the 19th century. But the greatest symbol of its heritage is the Torre de Pimentel or Torre de los Molinos, a defensive construction and which gives the city its name.

Meanwhile, in the area known as Cortijo del Tajo major archaeological sites have been uncovered corresponding to the Neolithic age, as well as the pre-Roman and Roman periods.

A very unusual attraction awaits you here too: the Crocodile Park, where you can learn about these prehistoric monsters which have miraculously survived 200 million years of evolution. ____________________________________

The town of Benalmádena is located on a hill, which means there are magnificent views to be seen. The wide range of facilities and services are complemented by an international amusement park. This is a destination of relaxation and leisure with many golf courses and a fantastic marina where you can organize boat trips, some including dolphin watching excursions.

Strikingly original is the Castle of Bil-Bil, a curious structure built on the beach front in 1934 in the neo-Arabian style and which the city council uses to stage exhibitions and cultural events. Also of interest are the Muro gardens, a blend of plants and water designed by César Manrique. ____________________________________

Fuengirola is a city which offers an extensive stretch of sandy beaches, golf courses, riding centers, leisure parks, the Bioparc Fuengirola Zoo, a water park, and a marina. Dominating the centre of town is Constitution Square (19th century), where the Church of Nuestra Señora del Rosario stands.

Along with it, Fuengirola has managed to preserve a great many remains left behind by the peoples who inhabited the city in ancient times, such as the Roman baths and villa or the Arab castle of Sohail. The Castle of Sohail, ordered to be built by Abd-al-Rahman III in the 10th century, still preserves some paintings of its walls. Next to this parade ground, the remains of an old Phoenician settlement (6th-3rd centuries BC) have been found. ____________________________________

Marbella is, without a doubt, one of the Costa del Sol's major tourist centers, thanks to the high quality of the facilities and services it provides. Puerto Banús is a famous marina where each year it welcomes some of the biggest and most luxurious yachts.

At the foot of the Sierra Blanca hills is Marbella's historic quarter. The plaza de Los Naranjos is the heart of the old town and you’ll notice an interesting mix of both Andalucian and Moorish architecture. In the small church square you will find the Greater Church of la Encarnación, built in the 16th century. In this same setting stands one of the two towers which formed part of the city's old Arab fortress and walls, from the 9th century. The Museo del Grabado Español Contemporáneo, situated in the Hospital Bazán (16th century), houses an interesting collection of engravings from the 19th and 20th centuries, with works by grand masters of the stature of Picasso, Miró or Dalí.

Nightlife Although the smaller towns along the Costa del Sol can resemble more sleep towns when it comes to evening entertainment, Malaga’s nightlife will make you think that nobody sleeps in this town 7 days a week! Weekends are especially busy. There are a lot of fun bars and discos to discover.

For a fun but quieter evening out try one of the several nice Moroccan-style tea houses in town. You can taste test an amazing variety of teas in addition to other interesting non-alcoholic drinks.

Side Trips Situated on the banks of the Guadalquivir River, Seville has a rich Moorish heritage, and used to be a prosperous port that carried out trade with the Americas. The streets and squares in the historic quarter of the capital of Andalusia are lively and busy. They treasure many constructions that have the World Heritage designation, and many districts are full of traditional culture. Museums and art centers, theme parks, cinemas, theaters and clubs are some of the many leisure options that a great city like Seville holds. Without forgetting, of course, the numerous terraces, inns and bars where visitors can practice one of the most deeply-rooted and tasty traditions in the city: going out for tapas.

Cordoba is situated in the interior of Andalusia where past and modernity blend in together. This thousand-year-old city, which has the World Heritage designation, is a living legacy of the different cultures that settled here throughout its history. Without disregarding its splendid past, Cordoba is definitely a modern city that has been able to adapt to the present day. Cordoba is also synonymous with art, culture and leisure. Standing in the historic center, the Great Mosque is one of the most beautiful examples of Muslim art in Spain. It was built in 785 by the Muslim emir Abdurrahman I, on the site of an ancient Visigoth church of San Vicente. The interior looks like a labyrinth of beautiful columns with double arcades and horseshoe arches.

At the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains, Granada has an unmistakable Moorish essence, due to the fact that it was the last city to be reconquered by the Catholic Monarchs in 1492. The Alhambra is a beautiful complex of buildings and gardens. The Palace premises are made up of beautiful rectangular courtyards and numerous fountains, as well as the Nasrid buildings that served as living quarters for the monarchs and their servants. The oldest building is the Alcazaba (citadel). One of the most important structures is the La Vela tower, which offers one of the loveliest views of the Alhambra. The courtyard of the Lions with its fountains is one of the most beautiful in the compound.

The Rock of Gibraltar is an overseas territory of the United Kingdom on the southern coast of Spain. Bring your passport as there are border checks. Points of interests include: Europa Point where the Atlantic meets the Mediterranean; Upper Rock, the military installation and the nature reserve where the famous Barbary Macaques monkeys live; St Michael's Cave, an impressive natural grotto used by the Neolithic inhabitants of the Rock; Siege Tunnels, a system of tunnels dug during the Great Siege; the Gibraltar Museum; and for those who enjoy treacherous hikes, walk up the Mediterranean Steps for fantastic views. If you don't fancy the uphill struggle, you can always use the cable car.

Accommodations
There are a wide range of hotels available for most budgets, as well as many small hostels and pensions. Visitors can find also many self-catering apartments and houses available to rent, many of them owned by British or Dutch ex-pats.

Eating Out Andalusia is a treat for the taste buds with a lot of local specialties. Make sure to try the thick soups gazpacho Andaluz and porra antequerana, rabo de toro (oxtail stew), croquetas caseras (croquettes), espetos (grilled sardines), pescaíto frito (deep-fried fish), coquinas (small clams cooked in white wine)and jamon, an aged, salted ham, from acorn-fed pork, similar to prosciutto.

The best place to taste local cuisine would be at an Andalusian tavern where many of these dishes are served along with a great selection of tapas. Wonderful pescaítos frito can be found at the beach bars called Chiranguitos. Each town has its own selection of restaurants as well, from local Spanish fare to international choices.

A must: Malaga has a typically sweet wine made from Moscatel and Pedro Ximenez grapes. It is usually served as an aperitif or with dessert

Shopping Shopping in the Costal del Sol can be a very interesting experience as you will find the big style shopping malls slowly gaining popularity in the bigger towns. You will also find tones of very small usually family run shops; look for them especially in the little side streets and alleys. There are also markets days in most towns.

The big department stores, with national and international chains, are found mostly in Malaga, Torremolinos and Fuengirola. Some of the shopping centers are Super Sol and Mercadona, Dunne's, Myramar and El Corte Ingles.

The population of the Costa del Sol includes a lot of established foreigners, hence you will find a lot of specialized European shops, as well as Asian and Arab markets.

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