10 sunny days (26 June – 7 july) of the summer vacation was spent in southern Spain, in and around the town Benalmádena where we (Mickey and me) stayed in a very nice flat overlooking the sea and mountains.
The town is located 12 km west of Malaga, approx. ½ hour drive from the airport. It is divided into three separate parts:
- Benalmadena Costa – the coastal strip that contains most of the resorts hotels and some apartment blocks.
- Arroyo de la Miel (Honey stream)- originally a separate village and is where you will find shops, most of the resorts apartment blocks, and many Spanish bars and restaurants. The towns train station is here, it is home to Tivoli World and the cable car.
- Benalmadena Pueblo – the original village located about 3 km inland and at 200 m. above sea level. The Pueblo is like the many Spanish “white villages” found in southern Spain. Narrow cobbled streets with white painted houses and many beautiful flowers on the walls. You find Copenhagen municipal hospital, Montebello, here and hear quite a lot of danish in the streets. There is a bar called Dansk bar and a restaurant Rottehullet (the rat hole)…
A 12 min. and 2,6 km long cable car ride start from Arroyo de la Miel. It takes you to the summit of Monte Calamorro, 769 m. Fantastic views over the area. A bird show is included in the ticket. Two falconers showed some tricks with eagles and vultures. After the show we decided to hike down. According to the guide it should take approx. 2,5 hours and “the trail start 100 m. down the road to the right”. After followed the trail for some time it suddenly ended and we looked for something that looked like a trail. Ended up at a VERY steep cliff where we agreed to turn back and try descending somewhere else. Found a not so steep and high spot where we managed to climb down. Mickey tried some “pebble surfing” on the hill side :-). With lunch break and the “detour”, it took us 2 hours and 20 min. to return to the start.
Benalmadena Costa has almost 10 kilometers of beach. From quiet cove, to the family focused beaches with plenty of activities. The beaches are a mixture of man-made, golden sand and shingle. Sales men and women like to sell you sun glasses, football T-shirts, hats, watches, hair extensions, massage etc. We liked the beach at Castillia Bil-Bil. For some reason, less crowded and one day with nice waves. Paseo Maritimo, the beach walk with lot’s of bars, cafes and restaurants to the Puerto Marina, an Arabian style marina that has over one thousand moorings and also with many places to eat and drink.
Parque de la Paloma with it’s large lake, water plume, wild life running free, beautiful trees and landscaped gardens with a large cactus garden with species from all over the world.
Mini golf at Playa Mini Golf Espana where we tried to play mini golf with “normal” golf balls for, what I know, the first time.
- We learned that it’s a good idea to take the train from Arroyo de la Miel to visit Malaga. One objective was to visit the Museo Picasso, it turned out to be closed on Mondays. Instead we semi followed a recommended “Trail-of-sights” from the tourist office (Malaga in 8 hours): Calle Larios – Plaza de la Constitucion – the Cathedral – the Roman Theatre – the Alcazaba – HC Andersen – Plaza de la Marina – the Lighthouse…
- A nice drive south west along the coast way N-340 a few km. takes you to Fuengirola that is a major tourist resort. We visited the Bioparc, a quite small and different zoo. It’s divided into four exhibition areas built to simulate the animals’ natural surroundings.
Near the Castillio Sohail one could rent a boat on the beach filled with sand for 5 euro. This is used for bbq and the very popular grilled sardines.
- Inland, a bit up the mountain, 450 m.above sea level, is the small white village Mijas located. Parked the car at the entrance of the village in a big parking house for 1 euro for a day. You can take a donkey taxi or walk around the narrow, cobbled and some times steep streets. Looked at a flamenco show at the town square. Wednesdays at noon. Don’t know if it’s on every day. Other sights we checked out was the El Compas view point and the chapel with small electric “candels”, Plaza de Toros, Calle San Sebastian and the fun (and little strange) Carromato de Max – a miniature museum with a collection of paintings on pin-heads, rice corns and hair, wood carvings on tooth picks etc. E.g. a picture of Abraham Lincoln painted on a pin-head (no photography was allowed).
- Further down the coast, after about 2 hour drive from Benalamádena, on the Mediterranean Motorway A-7, is Gibraltar. This 6 km2 piece of land is still Brittish tertitory with about 30.000 inhabitants. The Rock, made of limestone, raises 426 above sea level.
After driving around the very narrow streets of La Linea, looking for the border, we finally found a parking place near the frontier. “Quite a few” people preferred to drive across, loooong que. At the frontier we bought tickets to the cable car that included bus transport.
The cable car is from 1966 and takes you to the top in about 6 min. After looking at the stunning views from the top and the many monkeys we walked down, this time on a proper road.
Back in the center we walked along Main Street checking prices on electronics that we heard should be tax free and much cheaper. We didn’t think that was the case. At the coffee break, I was surprised that the staff had limited knowledge of the English language.