Surface Area: 26.6 square kilometres
What the natives are called:Benalmadenses
Monuments: the Santo Domingo church, El Muro gardens, Museo Arqueológico (Archaeological Museum), Bil-Bil and Colomares castles, Las Águilas garden, the Estupa Budista (Buddhist Stupa), watchtowers (Torrebermeja, Torrequebrada, and Torremuelle), Plaza de España, historic quarter of Benalmádena - Pueblo, and the Roman ruins at Benalmádena - Costa.
Geographical Location: in the Western Costa del Sol region, 20 kilometres from the city of Málaga and at an altitude of 280 metres. Average annual rainfall is 610 litres per square metre and the average temperature is approximately 18º C.
Tourist Information: Tourism Office, Avda. Antonio Machado, 10 (29630). Telephone: (+34) 952 44 24 94 Fax: (+34) 952 44 06 78 E-mail: [email protected]
The most striking peculiarity about this municipality, which stretches from the southern foothills of the Sierra de Mijas range to the sea’s edge, is that it consists of three population centres, which are now practically joined together, but which nevertheless are still well differentiated: Benalmádena Pueblo, Benalmádena Costa and Arroyo de la Miel.
The first of these is the oldest and is a typical whitewashed Andalusian village -whitewashed with exceptional care, in fact-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. Benalmádena Costa is the most cosmopolitan section and it is here that the tourist offer of sun and beach is found: large hotels, a casino, leisure port and businesses of all kinds.
Benalmádena is one of the leading municipalities in the province of Málaga in the tourism field, due to its location, its solid hotel industry base and its extremely broad leisure offer (beaches, a leisure port, hiking and trail walking, a cable car, golf, amusement parks such as Tivoli, Selwo Marina, and Sea Life, etc.) as well as intensive cultural activities connected to plastic and scenic arts and music.
The first human settlement in this municipality occurred in the Upper Palaeolithic period, as proven by remains discovered in the El Toro, Los Botijos and Las Zorreras caves. The Phoenicians established themselves in this region between the eighth and sixth centuries B. C., and there are also remains proving this in the coastal area. The Romans came later (a salted fish trading post at Benal-Roma and ruins of villas in Torremuelle and Capellanía), but it was the Arabs who provided the origin of the municipality’s name.
In fact, the present name seems to derive from the Arabic Ibn al-Madin, meaning “children of the mines” in reference to the ancient iron mines in this region. This is not the only hypothesis as to the origin of the name of the municipality, but it is the one that is most accepted by students and historians.
The Christian troops not only conquered but also destroyed the village, and with it, its castle, which offered a stubborn resistance to the Catholic Monarchs’ army. In the late sixteenth century, it was repopulated by long-time Christians, who were not able to establish themselves in the region owing, mainly, to the dangers they faced from the continuous attacks from the sea. 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, which disappeared in the early twentieth century as a result of the phylloxera (leaf louse) pest. The phenomenon of tourism, which began in Benalmádena in the 1960′s, was to drive the economy forward at an unstoppable rate.
How to Get There
The locality is perfectly linked to the Costa del Sol by the Mediterráneo Expressway (AP-7; N-340), and by commuter rail also to Fuengirola, Torremolinos and the provincial capital.