The town of Benalmádena is steeped in an illustrious history, having been occupied and conquered throughout the ages by cultures and settlers that have imbued it with a cultural edge that is unrivalled on the Costa del Sol.
These days, the town is thriving and stands as an understated gem in southern Spain making buying and selling in Benalmadena a highly lucrative venture.
Torrequebrada beach is among the most un spoilt in the whole of Andalucia and makes for a welcome change from the ubiquitous and inauthentic sandy beaches maintained by noisy and polluting machinery.
Instead, the beach serves up a raw slice of organic geography, with delicate wildlife including sea urchins and fish taking refuge along the stone-pebbled shore.
It adds to the charm of the town and really is the icing on the cake for those understandably keen on snapping up real estate in Torrequebrada.
Elsewhere the Puerto Marina gives rise to a more lavish setting, with slick white architecture overlooking the port’s hundreds of sailboats and portside cuisine befitting of the glorious scenery.
Then there is the Parque de la Paloma or Dove Park, undoubtedly one of the most stunning parks on the Costa del Sol and situated bang in the centre of Benalmádena, the natural enclave is the ideal space to escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
It’s also a refuge for many animals, with a spectacular lake the home of ducks while chickens, parrots and even peacocks can be seen roaming the greens.
Unlike many towns on the Costa del Sol, which either fall victim to sacrificing tradition and heritage in the quest to boost tourism, or are hollowed out due to lack of investment, Benalmádena has proved that you can preserve a town’s cultural aesthetic while still suffusing it with an internationalist edge.
This cosmopolitan vibe is evidence by the town’s education offerings, which cater to the strong Nordic presence here, including the distinguished Norwegian School and Benalmadena International College, both of which pride themselves on maturing their students to become multilingual citizens of the world and make buying property in Torrequebrada and Benalmadena highly attractive for families.
And it is not just the town’s multilingual nature that marks it out as the ideal location for expats.
The town is also a bastion of religious pluralism and boasts the tallest stupa on the continent.
Completed in 2003, the religious monument stands at over 100 feet, and was the final project of Lopon Tsechu Rinpoche, the master of Tibetan Buddhism who died the same year of its completion.
Elsewhere there is the famous Butterfly Park found next to the Thai temple, which is home to more than 1,500 exotic butterflies from around the world, surrounded by waterfalls and flowers for the perfect alternative day out.
Not to be outdone, the town also boasts by far the best aquarium on the Costa del Sol. Sea Life is a kids focussed educational centre that prides itself on animal welfare and sustainability while putting on dream days out for inquisitive kids.
And the Selwo Marina animal park is a family favourite, with dozens of events put on every week for children where they can interact with animals from all corners of the globe.
It marks out Benalmádena as unique in having some of the best activities in the area for kids as well as some of the finest schools, making buying real estate in Benalmádena a safe bet owing to its younger age demographic unlike some of the ageing towns that it is situated close to.
For the adults, there is Casino Torrequebrada, a hugely popular casino with vast tables and slot machines and three individual areas for poker, roulette and blackjack. Locals come just as much for the restaurant as they do to have a flutter, with tasting sessions frequently held showcasing the best of Andalucian food.
And for the best sightseeing in town there is Benalmádena Cable Cars, which take you to the peak of Mount Calamorro, almost a thousand metres high.
The town is also a haven for sports lovers, with the jewel in the crown surely Torrequebrada golf club, nestled between the Med and the Sierra de Mijas mountains and just a stone’s throw away from Malaga Airport, this unique golf course was opened in 1976 and designed by José Gancedo, the so-called Picasso of Golf.
The course is a joyous 18 holes that is worth it for the views alone but is also a much more forgiving course than many of its neighbouring rivals, making it an accessible and fun course no matter what your handicap is.
The food here is fantastic, with restaurants to suit every taste whether you’re looking for an authentic slice of Andalucia, or wanting to experiment with something more oriental.
Yucas Café and Bar is the ultimate dining experience, with fresh and vibrant dishes perfectly complemented by an expert wine menu and overlooking the Playa de la Luca in a setting with views you will be hard pressed to find anywhere else on the Costas. Trocadero Playa meanwhile offers distinguished Mediterranean food in a chic beach bar with al fresco dining while Noor Mahal Indian is the ultimate testimony that good Indian food has finally conquered Spain.
The town captures the essence of Andalucia with its wonderful food, charming scenery, and friendly people yet somehow manages to eschew the sleepy atmosphere that is often present in smaller towns on the Costa del Sol with its wide range of activities, cultural sites and green areas.
Benalmádena is therefore not like other towns. It is a breath of fresh air on the Costa del Sol with something to offer any prospective buyer. But with its appeal continuing to grow, its status as a hidden gem is beginning to wane, meaning now is a better time than ever to invest in property here.