The Spanish resort of Benalmedena is only 11km from Malaga airport – making it a perfect destination for those without much time to waste. With 322 days of sunshine a year, good weather is almost guaranteed.
For more traditional Andalusian life and some local culture head for Benalmedena Pueblo village in the mountains which has steep narrow streets and whitewashed houses, a museum and a fascinating castle. You catch the cable car up from Arroyo de Miel which lies between the mountains and the coast. This is the business and residential centre and home to the world famous theme park Tivoli World. The Costa is the base for most tourist activities and as well as sandy beaches and water sports there is a fully equipped marina. A night club, a casino with 15 tables, golf course and plenty of bars and restaurants mean there is enough entertainment whatever your mood.
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- Markets: search for a bargain at the Arroyo de Miel flea market on a Wednesday, and visit the weekly market on a Friday. Tivoli World has a market on a Sunday.
- Benalmadena Sea Life Centre: feed stingrays from your own hand or walk under the sea tunnel where sharks are swimming overhead. This popular attraction is aimed at educating visitors and letting them get close to sea life. There is a special “sound” room where you match the sound of the sea creature with its picture, and information about conservation and rearing protected species. As you would expect, there is also a well-stocked shop, and a café with cool drinks and refreshments.
- Tivoli World is one of the oldest theme parks along the southern coast which has been designed for adults as well as children. The low-cost entry ticket gives you access to all the gardens, fountains, and walkways as well as the free shows. In Andalusia square you sample a taste of flamenco and other aspects of Andalusian culture, and Western Square is devoted to cowboys, country and western and all things western. The rides are hugely popular and are paid for per ride. They cater for the more adventurous with go-karting and all kinds of water tunnels and drops. It makes for a good day away from the beach.
- Festivals: Arroyo de Miel celebrates St John the Baptist at the end of June, and Benalmadena Pueblo the festival of the Virgin of the Cross in mid-August.