Cablecar to Calamorro hill
We had rented an apartment for a week in Benalmádena. From our balcony we could see the cablecar to Calamorro hill starting operation daily at 11 am. So we decided to make the trip, and it was the highlight of our stay.
We bought a ticket one way only, because we intended to hike our way down. At the ticket booth we received a map with several hiking trails. Off-season we did not have long ot wait in line, but during peak season yo may want to make a reservation or buy your ticket online. See the phone numbers and the website.
After the 12 minutes ride on the cablecar one has the choice of two viewpoints, upper and lower. Of course we chose the upper one first, which requires climbing the bare summit by some irregular stairs - fortunately with iron railing - to 800 m above sea level. The view was spectacular to all directions. At the lower viewpoint the view is good too, but only along the Málaga coastline, not inland.
From the higher viewpoint we descended to the falconry display, see separate tip.
Our hike down, along some variant of the R-1 trail took us about two hours, all the way back to town and the lower cablecar station.
Price: One way EUR 7:40, return EUR 13,25. Children and seniors pay less.
Schedule: The schedule varies according to the season, consult the website. In winter, January through March, the cablecar is closed for several weeks.
- Hiking and Walking
Valley of the Eagles falconry display
We did not know it, but once on the Calamorro hill we saw that there is a falconry display near the cablecar station twice daily. As we had come early in the day, we had to wait just half an hour for the 1 pm display after coming down from the upper viewpoint.
The show started with vultures. They were enticed by way of feeding them bits of meat to land on the arms of spectators. Then a falconer hid a piece of meat in a hole in the ground where a vulture knew to find it. An eagle too landed on branches held up by a spectators.
Two eagles were released, soaring high into the sky, and were called to land back on the hand of a falconer. When a falconer pulled a mock hare on rope, so that it seemed to run on the ground, we saw how a falcon dropped out of the sky to catch it.
Also an owl was shown to know the falconers in daylight, and fly to them when called.
After the show spectators could pose for a photo with some of the birds.
The display started only after some guests with dogs had been ordered to lead them away. The birds in the air may be reluctant to return to the falconers when they see dogs on the ground.
Schedule: When we visited in October: twice daily, at 1 pm and 4:30 pm, the show lasts about an hour. The schedule probably varies with the cablecar schedule.
Admission: Free, but one has to show one's cablecar ticket in order to be admitted. After the show donations are solicited; you may decide to buy some souvenir for the money instead.
Where to spend the day?
Yes, there are several places where you can go. Selwo Marina park where you can spend without problem half day walking and checking out dolphins, the various small animals, the birds show with cacatuas, the sea lion show and the pinguin aquarium too with various species. There is also the Tivoli world, a big park with lot of attractions and a cable car that can get you to the top of the nearby mountain to enjoy astonishing views of the surroundings, on clear days you can see Africa.
- Theme Park Trips
- Family Travel
The biggest butterfly park in Europe.
Now this is an awesome park (inside park), The Benalmádena Butterfly Park or Mariposario de Benalmádena. It was absolutely breathtaking, butterflies flying all over, sitting on beautiful flowers of all colours. I wished VT allowed for more than 5 photos as I have such beautiful photos from my visit there. Stepping into the park is like stepping into a jungle and it is so humid there, so one cannot stay there for long, but wow, what a visit. I went there with a really macho man, hehe, and he loved it as well, so I guess butterflies are for everybody.
I passed some really big butterflies, which I thought were fake, just there for decoration, only to find out that these were the largest moths in the world, sleeping. I took a photo of them and was almost scared of them, they had hairy spider legs. I was glad that they only come out at night, but they must be a breathtaking sight, these huge multicoloured moths flying around.
On their website they say that there are 1.500 butterflies in the park, wow, one of them even flew into my forehead. Just mesmerizing and a great experience. The park is in Thai style and the building housing it is so beautiful (see my last photo) Thai building. And it is 2.000 m2 large, making it the largest one in Europe.
Admission fee: 8,50 euros for adults.
Highly recommended :)
Tivoli World - Benalmadena
One of the main reasons we stopped off at Benalmadena was to visit Tivoli world park and keep the Small Person amused. I also had fond memories of the park as a child and looked forward to the visit. The park was a short drive from Hotel La Fonda and had lots of easy parking.
There is a very reasonable entrance fee which covers 80% of the rides and activities (a couple of the special rides you have to pay for like The Bungee Rocket, which is one of the park's more unique features and catapults participants 120 metres into the air in under two seconds. It's great fun, if a little bit pricey). A 'Supertivolino' buys you a ticket for 30 of the other rides.
The great thing about this park, is you can go late at night and it is warm! Tivoli World won't appeal to adrenalin junkies, but there are enough rides to keep kids from 2 -12 years old amused ('tiny tots' have a rides section all to themselves) and there are shows, gardens and restaurants within the park for the adults. Spend an evening there strolling around. It's all at a very relaxed pace and we had a very enjoyable evening without the usual hassles of an amusement park.
The park offered a 'flamenco' show - The dancers were of a very high standard, but I should point out if you are a flamenco fan, this is not authentic, more classical Spanish dance. You can eat at an outdoor cafe while watching a show in the central square, sourrounded by cheeky peacocks strolling around the tables - (nice for small people). There are also exhibitions, theatre etc to keep you culturally amused.
Addtionally, you can get the cable car to Mount Carramolo from the entrance of the park, we didn't have time, but it looked like a cool thing to do for some great views, and apparently there are donkey rides for the kids at the top.
Returned Aug 06, par open until 2 am, weather was lovely and warm, enjoyed by all.
- Theme Park Trips
- Family Travel
Train from Airport to Benalmadena
Don't waste money on an extortionate taxi ride from the airport into town. Get the train, it's so simple! Come out of arrivals, cross the road and walk through the car park to the other side. You can then see the 'station' ahead of you. For less than 5 euro's you can get the train into Benal', it takes about 30 mins and will cost about a 5th of what a taxi ride will cost you.
Hiking on the Calamarro mountain - the lower route
Coming down from hiking on the upper route of the mountain we decided on taking the south panoramic hiking route as well. This turned out to be a much easier route with a great view of Costa del Sol. At the end of the route there is a big covered view platform where you can sit and enoy the views.
I recommend going there more than taking the upper route - at least on a very hot day.
Hiking on the Calamorro mountain - the upper route
Up on the Calamorro mountain there are several hiking routes, one of which leads you to the top of the mountain. We decided on taking that route. It was ever so hot this day and the stone-trail was so slippery and the railing was so hot! I was amazed at how dangerous this route was and would never take this route again - at least not on a very hot day. We were holding on to the hot railing for our lives while slipping again and again and there was an abyss down below.
But the view was amazing at the top so it was worth it, but this is not for people with vertigo! There were 2 view-platforms at the top and telescopes.
People were hiking with their kids and wearing sandals and having difficulties sliding on the hot stone-trail. Hiking shoes are recommended here.
Take the tourist train in Benalmádena.
There is a tourist-train which takes you around Benalmádena. The train runs from Puerto marina to Tivoli and back. We bought the tickets at the ticket-office at Puerto marina in Benalmádena. We were going to The Teleférico cable-cars opposite Tivoli (see my tip) and wanted to make a day of it and thus decided on riding on this small train. What a ride it was, it lasts for 45 minutes and it was ever so bumpy and slow and I would not decide on taking it again. We bought a return ticket but decided on walking back.
The train-stops are at Puerto Marina, Parque Selwo Marina and Parque de la Paloma, Teleférico cable car and Tivoli and back.
A round-trip costs 4 euros.
Teleférico - a cable-car trip 800 m up a mountain.
Taking a trip on the Teleférico cablecar was something I had wanted to do for the longest time, but my fear of heights had stopped me from going. The trip was awesome. It takes you from Benalmádena Costa up to the Calamorro mountain, which is at an altitude of 800 meters.
The cable-cars are so small and we were a bit anxious, but it turned out to be so worth it! And at the top (or almost the top) of Calamorro mountain you have the most breathtaking views of Costa del Sol.
At the top there is a restaurant, a bar, shows of birds of prey (check out at what time, as we came to late for that) and hiking routes up to the top of the mountain (see my tip on two of the routes).
A return trip on the cable-car costs 13 euros but with a discount we paid 11 euros. You can get the discount leaflet all over.
Take a ride on a pirate ship at the marina.
There is a pirate ship which departs from the marina in Benalmádena, It is called "Junco Chino (Chinese Junk)" and takes you for an hour´s + ride around the marina in Benalmádena and the coast-line of Torremolinos. From there you have a lovely view of the beaches of Torremolinos and view of Malaga. You can also see dolphins on the way and other sea-animals.
The ship is originally from Hong Kong and was made in 1972.
It sails all day long every couple of hours from 10:00 until 20:00 at night and at nights it is all lit up. A very popular ride.
The price of one ride is 15 euros for adults and 10 euros for kids and includes one drink.
Parque de la Paloma.
Parque de la Paloma is my favourite park in Costa del Sol. It is vast with a lovely lake with fish and turles, ducks and swans. You can also find roosters and hens with their chick running around the whole park and their crows fill the garden. There are also a lot of rabbits in the park running around free and they are very popular amongst the children. There are also Barbary sheep and emus fenched in, but what I like the most are the peacoks which run free in the garden and I have gotten plenty of private shows of their splendour. I caught on camera a fantastic mating ritual by the peacocks while visiting the garden once, I will add that here later on. You can feed bread to all the animals apart from the sheep and emus.
The park is 200.000 sq.m. and one of the main green areas in the municipality.
There is also a big cactus-garden and a library, 3 cafés, streams and a fountain, bicycles for rent and family-bicycles. There are 2 play-grounds for children and every time I have been there there have been groups of school-children visiting the park. It is so lovely and so much fun being there, I recommend it to anybody visiting this area. I could sit there for days reading a book or just admiring the lake and animals. The lake is man-made and the park is on a hill so the view is fantastic there.
Benalmádena Pueblo is situated on a hill above Benalmádena costa. From the costa you can take a bus to the village, but be sure that it says "Benalmádena pueblo" on the bus. You can read the troubles I had with the bus driver under my tip "Warnings and dangers" so do get off when you see a white village up on the hill. The bus fare is only 1,20 euros.
Benalmádena Pueblo is a typical Spanish village with white houses, a church and a square. On the square, which is called "Plaza de Espana" is the bronze statue which is the symbol of Benalmádena "La Nina de Benalmádena" or The girl of Benalmádena. A lovely statue made by the sculptor Jaime Pimentel.
Jardines del Muro in Benalmadena Pueblo.
Jardines del Muro gardens are a lovely sight with a great view of the coast and it is said you can see as far as Africa from this beauty spot. The gardens were designed by César Manrique and have beautiful flowers and streams and a café. From there you can see Castillo Colomares, see my previous tip.
There is an elevator to the top where the church is located and a lot of steps. As I came from Castillo Colomares and not from the village I took the steps.
The most unusual building in Andalusia - Colomares
Now this castle is a beautifully hidden gem and it took some doing getting there.
Castillo de Colomares is devoted to Christopher Columbus´s discovery of America and different parts of the castle show Columbus´s feats and the religions in Spain at this time, making the castle delightfully beautiful and interesting. The castle is the largest monument dedicated to Christopher Columbus´s discovery of America. At the castle is the smallest chapel in the world and both the chapel and the castle are listed in The Guinness Book of Records. The castle was built from 1987-1994.
I recommend going there, it is a fairy tale castle. The entrance fee is 2 euros and you get a map which guides you through the castle with numbers from 1-16 explaining what each section of the castle means.
I add more photos of the castle in a travelogue here.
I had seen photos of the castle in travel-guides but it seemed as if nobody knew where it was located. Then I got information on that it was located in Benalmádena Pueblo and I could go there by bus from Arroyo de la Miel/Benalmádena. So I took the train from Torremolinos to Arroyo de la Miel and got on a bus asking the bus driver to tell me when I should get off for Benalmádena Pueblo. By that time I did not know that there is a group of bus-drivers who hate tourists and let them off at wrong locations, sic! So the "joke" was on me this day. We drove into the hills and when I saw a white village I asked if this was Benalmádena pueblo, to which the bus-driver answered no and that it was further on. We passed road-construction in the mountain and close to there the bus-driver told me that I should get off. I had no clue where I was at, it was on an August afternoon and very hot and I was lost. There were some villas down a steep hill and down there I went, no signs of anything until I ran into some men, one of which fortunately spoke English. He told me that I was not even close to the castle and walked with me up this steep hill and showed me where to catch a bus to Benalmádena pueblo. There were absolutely no people at the bus station and I felt like I was in Sahara. Then an English woman came out of the blue and asked me if I wanted to share a cab with her to Benalmádena pueblo where she lived! She asked the cab-driver to drive me down to Colomares castle which is located just beneath Benalmádena pueblo. I thank these people from saving me this day and believe they are angels in disguise. And to the bus-driver I say: "% and don´t forget that because of tourism in Costa del Sol this area is blooming!".
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