Benalmadena is located in the western Costa del Sol region, 20 kilometres from the city of Málaga and 15 kms from Málaga Airport. This municipality, which stretches from the southern foothills of the Sierra de Mijas to the sea’s edge, consists of three population centres, which are now practically joined together, but which nevertheless are still well differentiated: Benalmadena Pueblo, Benalmadena Costa and Arroyo de la Miel.
Benalmadena can be reached by a four-lane highway and by train. There is also an excellent marina that is being enlarged in order to enable small cruise ships to dock.
Benalmadena Pueblo Map
Benalmadena Pueblo is a typical whitewashed Andalusian village with narrow streets and relaxing squares. Due to the elevation (almost 300 metres) of the village centre, and its proximity to the sea, it has a number of exceptional vantage points for viewing the Costa del Sol.
A large part of the population and municipal services are concentrated in Arroyo de la Miel, a subsidiary administrative district that owes its growth to the commuter railway station, and is the economic centre of the municipality.
Benalmadena Costa is the most cosmopolitan section and it is here that the tourist attractions of sun and beach are found: large hotels, a casino, leisure port and businesses of all kinds. The port in particular to comes alive at night and boasts some excellent disco bars.
Benalmadena Costa map
The first known settlements in Benalmadena date back to the end of the upper late Paleolithic, as evidenced by the archaeological remains found in some of the municipality’s caves (Cueva del Toro, Cueva de los Botijos and Cueva de la Zorrera).
In the 7th and 8th centuries B.C. the Phoenicians reached this coastal area and the remains of some of their settlements can be found in the municipality. Roman settlements followed and numerous remains can be found along the coast of Benalmádena. The ruins of a salting factory in the Benal-Roma area, together with ruins of other villages and fishing facilities near Torremuelle and Capellania are particularly noteworthy. The watchtowers marking the Benalmádena coast, whose mission was to keep the area free from the attacks of the pirates that threatened the coast, also date back to that time.
When the Arabs arrived in southern Spain they named the town ‘Ben-Al-Madina’, which means ‘children of the mines’. This could be due to the existence of mines in the area, from which iron ore but mainly ochre had been extracted since Phoenician times.
Christian troops not only conquered but also destroyed the village, and with it, its castle:some of the watchtowers that still stand close to the sea date from that era.
When several paper factories began operations in the eighteenth century the region began to recover a stable population. It was to increase years later with grape cultivation but it was the phenomenon of tourism, which began in Benalmádena in the 1960’s, which was to drive the economy forward at an unstoppable rate.