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!".
There are many boats and yachts which offer dolphin trips at Puerto Deportivo. The prices vary from 10-15 euros for an hour, depending on it being high- or low season. But if you go there just before they leave for the last journey you can get a good price - we got 2 for 1. There are several drinks included in this price so it was not too bad, 7,5 euros for an hour´s boat trips with free drinks :D
They also offer 2 hours, full days and private events.
You can choose between sitting inside or sunbathing on a mattress at the front of the boat. We opted for the mattress - which gave us an extra adventure. The sea was calm at the Puerto Deportivo but as we left for the open sea it started getting rough and we got quite a ride and got totally soaked, screaming as we hit the big waves - but afterwards it was totally worth it. But we saw no dolphins, which of course is not guaranteed. I will go back!
Castillo de Bil-Bil.
Castillo de Bil-Bil is located by the Paseo Maritimo in Benalmádena, right by Playa de Bil-Bil :) It has got distinct Arabic influences. It is a Cultural center (Centro Cultural) and hosts exhibitions from the town hall.
In the garden there is a statue of the famous botanist and pharmacist Ibn-al-Baytar who was born 1197 in Benalmádena and died 1248 in Damascus.
SEA-LIFE AQUARIUM BENALMADENA
A wonderful way for a family to spend the day is at SEA-LIFE AQUARIUM BENALMADENA.
New for 2008 is Medusas Jellyfish. With their primitive anatomy, there are few animals more intriguing than jellyfish. Did you know that jellyfish are more than 95% water and have no heart, no bones and no brain! Yet they are hauntingly beautiful.
One of the first things you come across is Rocky Depths (Fondos Rocosos), then it's the Ray Tank (Tanque de Rayes) - fascinating creatures aren't they!
Next was my favourite - the Nursery (Guarderia) - all the babies.
Then came the Interactive Zone, the Jellyfish and the Turtle Reef (Arrecife de Tortugas).
Amazonia, Tropical Lagoon (Laguna Tropical) Tropical Reef (Arrecife Tropical) and Discover Nemo.
Admission is 11 Euros. Brochures with discount coupons can be found in various shops,hotels and the tourist info center.
STROLL ALONG PASEO DE LAS ISLAS
On a lovely, sunny afternoon, there is nothing better to do in Benalmadena Costa, than to take a STROLL ALONG PASEO DE LAS ISLAS. You can have your pick of many ice-cream kiosks, many shops and boutiques, terraces galore. The idea is to see and be seen. You will see local families with their children dressed up so cute. Perhaps you would like to buy some "day old bread" and feed the fish in the waters of the Marina.
Hans and I picked a lovely day to visit Benalmadena and there were many out doing the same. I enjoyed snooping in many of the little shops and boutiques. Prices were a little steeper here than in Torremolinos, for the same things.
Now that I have added tips on the Paseo Maritimo and the beaches and marina I just wanted to add some pictures of the main street in Benalmádena, Avenuda Antonio Machado. That street runs straight from Torremolinos, as Benalmádena and Torremolinos are adjacent, and there would be no telling where one town ends and the other town begins if it weren't for the sign with Benalmádena on one side and Torremolinos on the other side (I added a photo of the sign).
On Avenuda Antonio Machado, which runs through the town of Benalmádena, parallel to the beaches, there are a lot of shops, restaurants and supermarkets, hotels and bars along with some discotheques.
The art-work in Paseo Maritimo in Benalmádena.
The Paseo Maritimo promenade is extraordinary. All along the promenade all the way down to Playa Santa Ana there is beautiful art-work in the pavement, you literally walk on it. I just wanted to add this tip here with the pictures of some of the art-work, as this is the most beautiful Paseo Maritimo I have ever been to and would not want to miss out walking there. Absolutely lovely :D
Paseo Maritimo and beaches in Benalmádena.
The Paseo Maritimo - the promenade in Benalmádena is just wonderful, with a lot of artwork along the way (see my next tip). There are shops and restaurants all along the promenade, it is quite a lovely walk and at night the night-life is very lifely, with artist and painters and lots of stall with things for sale.
The beaches at Benalmádena stretch all the way down to Fuengirola, I have only been down to the casino though, but the beaches I've been to are lovely. The beaches closest to the marina are called Playa de Arroyo de la Miel y Los Melilleros. Then there are Playa Santa Ana and Playa de Bil-Bil. A lot of shells on these beaches :D
Visit the marina at Benalmadena.
The yacht-marina, Puerto Deportivo, at Benalmadena opened in 1982 and has on several occasions been awarded "The Best Marina in the World".
It is such a magical place and looks like a small Arabic town with its whitish yellow houses. It is buzzing with life and has got a great night-life, in one part there are lots of discos, bars and international and local restaurants. In another part there are shops, boutiques, cafés, the Aquarium Sea-life, street-vendors etc. There are a lot of activities for the kids there as well and a small train which takes you around the streets of the marina.
From the marina you can catch several boats, be it a ride on a pirate ship, a 2-hour-dolphin trip with Joven Maria II and parasending to name some.
I have added more pictures from the marina in a travelogue.
Feeding the fish at the marina.
There are many fun things to do at the marina in Benalmádena, one of them is feeding the fish in the harbour in Puerto Deportivo. While walking there you can spot a lot of big fish swimming there around the yachts. Try feeding them and if you thought you had seen many fish before, then you are in for a surprise. They will almost jump out of the water and fight for the bread.
There is one café/ice-shop which sells bread especially for the fish, Chiringuito la Torre, and one bag full of bread is 1 Euro.
Visit Aquarium Sea-life by the marina.
I just loved my visit to Aquarium Sea-life by the marina! There are just so many fish to see, and I pay Sea-life a visit every time I visit Costa del Sol. My favourite is the glass tunnel you walk through with sharks and sea-turtles swimming over your head. And the sea-horses, they are very lovely. I am a bit of an animal-nut so I am very easily impressed by all the various kinds of fish on display. And it doesn't hurt that Sea-life is committed to marine conservation.
It is open all year round from 10 a.m. and there are many discount tickets you can get, f.ex. 2 for 1, 2 Euros off, 4 Euros and 5 Euros off, so before visiting and paying the entrance fee of ca 11 Euros, find these discount tickets at your hotel or the information centers. I found 4 Euros off at the hotel and the Bus-terminal, but on my way to Sea-life I came across a discount ticket for 5 Euros off at one shop in Torremolinos.
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