7 Great Places for Culture in Benalmadena

July 05, 2024

Culture in Benalmadena – Imagine you are on a beach in Benalmadena when you suddenly spot a body on the shore. It is completely white, as if made of marble; as you approach it, in a mix of fear and curiosity, you ascertain that it is, indeed, made of marble; it is not a body, but a statue, that simply appeared on the shore while you were in the water!

This story happened in 1961, in Benalmadena. Marble statues started to appear floating in the sea or on the sands. A diver’s crew found out it was coming from a century-old shipwreck, that of the Pecio Isabella, sunk near Torrequebrada during a storm in 1855. The ship was going from Italy to India, carrying a cargo of marble statues and tiles to decorate a mansion, but met its fate on Benalmadena’s shores… This and other interesting stories are to be found in the many places dedicated to culture in Benalmadena.

Culture in Benalmadena - Dionysos sculpture
Dionysos sculpture, 1.50 m high, found in 1961 in the beach of Torrequebrada (Benalmadena). Photo: Provincial Council of Malaga.
 

Benalmadena has several cultural venues that specialize in different aspects of knowledge, particularly history and art. They don’t charge anything – they are all free to enter! 😉 Let’s check each cultural place in Benalmadena, so you don’t miss a thing while you are around the town. And if you want to know what is going on in each of the places while you are here, bookmark this page, as it has links to the page of each cultural venue and then some – pretty much everything you need to know what is happening in the town beyond the parties.

Now, if you want to know about the parties too, then check our posts dedicated to the best of each month in the Costa del Sol! 😉

Museo de Arte Precolombino Felipe Orlando

The Museo de Arte Precolombino (Pre-Columbus Art Museum) has a very specific focus on the arts and crafts of the peoples that inhabited the American continent before the arrival of Colombus, i.e., before the Iberian occupation. In its bottom level, though, it hosts the findings from the Pecio Isabella, the shipwreck mentioned in the introduction of this post, as well as prehistoric artifacts found in the caves of Benalmadena and local crafts from the Roman period. An interesting mix, right?

Besides the permament exhibitions, the Museum also hosts workshops about a variety of subjects. Take the one about embroidery, for instance, that was a 3 day-long series of workshops and lectures on different aspects of the craft. The Museum shines, though, during Halloween, when they traditionally do a Mexican-style Altar of the dead and promote a parade of Catrinas and skeletons through Benalmadena Pueblo!

Moreover, the Museum offers guided visits on the last Sunday of each month, at noon, for free; and has audio guides in Spanish and in English for both adults and kids.

📍 Address and directions:

⏳ Opening hours:
Wednesdays to Saturdays: from 10:00 am to 1:30 pm and from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.
Sundays and holidays: 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.
> Their opening hours may vary during the year; it is advisable to check their page to confirm.

🔎For more info, check the Museu de Arte Precolombino Felipe Orlando page in the Town Hall website. They even have a virtual visit to the Museum!

Biblioteca Municipal Manuel Altolaguirre

This is a cute and cozy library in Benalmadena Pueblo. It occupies one room only, filled with books from floor to roof. They have books for both adults and kids, two computers with internet access, Wi-Fi and even newspapers. The location is quite central, a bit behind the Museo de Arte Precolombino and right in front of the Plaza de la Cruz, which is a nice place to sit under the trees with a book.

Above: front and side of the library, where it reads “I wish everyone read, not to become literati or poets, but so that no one would be a slave”. The last image shows the entrance of the library, which is a bit hidden, between the library and the building right behind it, in the Pasaje Gladiolo. Below, the interior of the library and its opening hours!

You can read inside the library and, if you have the library card, you can borrow books and other media, such as magazines. This card can be done in either library of Benalmadena and is valid for all of Andalusia – all you need is a document, which can be a NIE or even a passport. I did mine and Kido’s years ago and it was very easy. And let me add: the librarian in the Pueblo is super nice, she really took the time to tell me all about the place. 😉

Culture in Benalmadena - Plaza de la Cruz  Benalmadena Pueblo
Above: Plaza de la Cruz, right by the library.

📍 Address and directions:

⏳ Opening hours:
Monday to Friday: 9:00 am to 9:00 pm
Saturdays: 9:00 am to 2:30 pm.

🔎For more info, check the page of the Biblioteca Municipal Manuel Altolaguirre in Benalmadena’s public libraries website.

Biblioteca Pública Municipal Arroyo de la Miel

The library in Arroyo de la Miel is a lot bigger than the one in the Pueblo. It has four floors, several different rooms, and even a space where parents can read to their little kids – adorable. It is also right by the La Paloma Park, which makes it easy to have a library & park afternoon – and create great memories associated with books. Smart. There is a large selection of books in English and other foreign languages, as well as in Spanish (of course!) and material for those learning the language of Cervantes.

A tip for newly arrived parents: Kiddo and I used to go to the library in Arroyo de la Miel a lot on our first year in Spain, so that he would choose his Spanish book for the week, that we read together at home. It was (is) a struggle to make him read, to be honest, but at least him choosing a book himself made it a bit easier for both of us; and accessing lots of books without spending any money always feels like a privilege.

Above: images of the Biblioteca Pública Municipal Arroyo de la Miel from Bibliotecas públicas de Benalmadena

Among many other services, the two libraries of Benalmadena host together the CuentaCuentos (short-story telling) also referred to as Tardes de Cuentos (Short-stories afternoon), for kids that aren’t old enough to read yet. They make it fun for the little ones – it has to be; the goal is to make kids curious about books. Super cool. After all, Benalmadena is for kids!

In 2024, the CuentaCuentos is happening every Thursday, at 7:30 pm, in July and August (it was at 6:30 pm in June). Some months the library in the Pueblo hosts it, in the Plaza de la Cruz, some other months it happens in the library in Arroyo. To know where it is happening now, check the CuentaCuentos page. 😉

The library also hosts workshops from time to time, usually related to writing or to storytelling and – cherry on the cake – the adults’ reading clubs. There are 8! One of them in English, called Read on!, that meets every first Tuesday of the month since 2008(!); one in French, another one in Finnish. The other 5 are in Spanish, one to read comics (ages 15 on) and one of them dedicated to personal development and psychology, called Aprende a leerte (something like ‘learn how to read yourself’). For more information, contact the library.

Both libraries in Benalmadena are great. You can order a book from one library to pick in the other; they even have a service where you can ask them to buy a book you are interested in – it may happen or not, of course; I guess they will do it if they see it would be a good addition to the library, but it is good to know of this possibility.

📍 Address and directions:

⏳ Opening hours:
Monday to Friday: 9:00 am to 9:00 pm
Saturdays: 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.
> Note that the library is under renovation as of this writing, so it is temporarily closed.

🔎For more info, check the page of the Biblioteca Pública Municipal Arroyo de la Miel in Benalmadena’s public libraries website.

Casa de la Cultura Pablo Ruíz Picasso

Central and open most days, the always-worth-a-visit Casa de la Cultura (Culture House) hosts a wide variety of expositions and lecture events. Basically, you never know what you gonna find when you enter the Casa de la Cultura, and most of the times, it is quite interesting. It’s a box of good surprises in the middle of the town.

I wrote a post about one of their exhibitions, a very interesting one about Benalmadena’s Roman past. A good read if you want to know more about either the history of Benalmadena or about the Casa de la Cultura itself. 😉

Culture in Benalmadena - Casa de la Cultura de Benalmadena
Casa de la Cultura of Benalmadena

Inside the Culture House, you’ll find a small hallway with lots of posters with interesting information about events going on in the city; right ahead of it there is a large room where the expositions take place, as shown below – the Roman villas on the left and the playdough nativity scene of Christmas 2023:

The building is interesting even when there is nothing going on! They have colorful glasses on the roof which shed colorful patterns on the white interior:

On the second floor there are several rooms that occasionally host workshops and lectures. And outside of the museum you’ll find plaza Austria, right by the Avenida de la Constitución, which is sometimes the starting point of parades in the town – such as the kid’s parade in December 2023:

Culture in Benalmadena - Casa de la Cultura de Benalmadena

📍 Address and directions:

⏳ Opening hours:
Winter time: from Monday to Friday: 9:00 am to 1:00 pm and from 4:00 pm to 10:00 pm.
Summer time: from Monday to Friday: 9:00 am to 1:00 pm.

🔎For more info, check the Casa de la Cultura page in the Town Hall website.

Related post:
Casa de la Cultura de Benalmadena – Roman villas, Olive Oil & Mare Nostrum

Centro de la Historia de Benalmadena

Benalmadena was part of the Roman Empire, and the Romans built two Villas in areas of the town: one in Torrequebrada and the other one, called Benalroma, located where today sits the Centro de la Historia de Benalmadena (Benalmadena’s History Center). This small museum, built when (and where!) the remains of Benalroma where found, is dedicated to the history of the Romans in Spain and particularly, to the story of this Villa.

This small museum explains how a Roman Villa was organized back then, with a large interactive diorama. The Villas had three parts: one dedicated to production – in the case of Benalmadena’s villas, this means olive oil and fish products – another for workers and animals housing and the third one for the owner and his family, complete with terms and baths.

And the view! Wow!

The museum also hosts workshops for kids and is of great help for local schools and students, as the Roman period is a relevant part of the history content of education in Spain. 😉 I find it really cool that I could take Kiddo to see a Roman Villa when he was studying it in school. They had a workshop there (poster below) and the boy did a cute lantern with clay, while wearing a roman-like tunic provided by the History Center themselves, followed by a tour of the remains of Benalroma!

Above: on the left, the poster, showing clay lanterns made in the Roman style (they would put olive oil and a candle wick through the holes; it is an olive oil lamp!); on the right, the room in the museum prepared for the workshop.

The museum hosts a permanent exhibition about Benalroma and the Romans in Benalmadena. Sometimes, they also do workshops, like the one above.

📍 Address and directions:

⏳ Opening hours:
Winter time: from Monday to Friday: 9:00 am to 1:00 pm and from 4:00 pm to 10:00 pm.
Summer time: from Monday to Friday: 9:00 am to 1:00 pm.

🔎For more info, check the Centro de la Historia de Benalmadena page in the Town Hall website.

Castillo El Bil-Bil

The Castillo El Bil-Bil is one of the postcards of Benalmadena. Despite its name, the Bil-Bil Castle is not, and never was, a castle. The building was commissioned as a residence in the 1930s by the Hermann family, that never lived in the place, deciding to put it up for sale upon the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936. It was then used as a residence until the 1980s, when it was acquired by Benalmádena’s local council for use as a Cultural and Informational Center. 

Inside, Bil-Bil nowadays is a tourist information center where you can get discount tickets to several activities in Benalmadena; it also often displays painting exhibitions and hosts lectures.

Outside, in the surroundings of the Castle, several shows happen during the year, mostly related to Flamenco and Spanish culture. There are also several wooden booths selling diverse items along the ground’s exterior walls, and the statue of Ibn al-Baytar, a botanist and pharmacologist born in Benalmadena in XII century, while Andalusia was under Muslim rule. Rumor has it that he was responsible for introducing the lemon tree in Spain!

The Bil-Bil Castle is built in Arabic style, its exterior featuring red plastering and exquisite Nazari decoration in the shape of tiling and bas-reliefs. The castle is flanked by fountains, another legacy of the Muslim tradition, and from both inside and outside, the visitor can enjoy magnificent views of Benalmadena’s beaches.

📍 Address and directions:

⏳ Opening hours:
Winter time: from Monday to Friday: 9:00 am to 1:00 pm and from 4:00 pm to 10:00 pm.
Summer time: from Monday to Friday: 9:00 am to 1:00 pm.

🔎For more info, check the Castillo El Bil-Bil page in the Town Hall website.

Centro de Exposiciones de Benalmadena

The Centro de Exposiciones (Exhibitions Center) was created to be a high-level center that would include Benalmadena and the Costa del Sol into the main national and international art circuits. Since its inauguration, its programming includes holding 4 to 5 exhibitions per year. It also carries out complementary activities to each of the exhibitions: guided tours, workshops designed especially for each age group, screenings of documentaries and films, round tables, conferences, etc.

📍 Address and directions:

⏳ Opening hours:
July and August:
Wednesday to Saturday: from 9:30 am to 1:30 pm and from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.
Sundays and holidays: from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm

Other months:
Wednesday to Saturday: from 9:30 am to 1:30 pm and from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.
Sundays and holidays: from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm

🔎For more info, check the Centro de Exposiciones page in the Town Hall website.

Extra: Agenda Cultural

Benalmadena’s Town Hall has a cultural planner, informing about the main cultural events set to happen in the near future. It is worth checking from time to time, as interesting expositions or events may be coming soon. It doesn’t help much when planning for the long term – say two months or more ahead – but is a very good place to find options for the current week or month. Another good source of information is the Facebook page of the Culture and Education Delegation of the Town Hall, that gives updates about the events going on or to come in each of the cultural venues of Benalmadena. 😉

Conclusion

Culture in Benalmadena is readily available, even if we often just get to know what is up in the last minute… Knowing where to look for events makes it a lot easier to find – and enjoy – the best high-quality cultural activities Benalmadena offers. If you like paintings and sculptures expositions or want to know more about the history of the area, hear or get to know its culture and traditions, take part in workshops and presentations or just travel through reading, Benalmadena offers a great deal of opportunities.

Keep this post close to you so you know where to look for information when you are around; and the next time a statue appears floating by you in the sea, you know where it is coming from!

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