Benalmadena for kids!

The most complete guide of Benalmadena for kids and families

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Parquelandia
Image by Parquelandia

‘Benalmadena for kids’ may well have been the slogan of this town for the past few decades. Judging by the amount of child-oriented infrastructure and business, I suspect the town has made children their priority on purpose. You see, it makes sense. The first city to attract tourists in the Costa del Sol was Torremolinos, that has a strong LGBT profile; so, back then, when small Benalmadena decided it also wanted to be visited, it focused on one of the groups that Torremolinos was not directly targeting: children and their parents.

Kind of big, huh?

With that in mind, check below the amazing infrastructure that Benalmadena has to offer. There are free attractions, such as the beaches and the Park de La Paloma, as well as two zoos, a cable car, several activities in the sea, a skatepark, funfairs – you name it. I bet adults will go back being kids in a few of these activities too. As a bonus, I brought Kiddo, full time kid with 8 (almost 9) years of experience, to help curate this post 😀

Parque de La Paloma

  • Benalmadena for kids - La Paloma - Snack points in the park
  • Benalmadena for kids - La Paloma - The map
  • Benalmadena for kids - La Paloma - Shadowy walkways
  • Benalmadena for kids - La Paloma - The flag!
  • Benalmadena for kids - La Paloma - Lots of palmtrees
  • Benalmadena for kids - La Paloma - Cozy gazebo surrounded by green
  • Benalmadena for kids - La Paloma - A bunny!
  • Benalmadena for kids - La Paloma - Playground
  • Benalmadena for kids - La Paloma - La Paloma is well signalized
  • Benalmadena for kids - La Paloma - The library. Excellent, by the way.
  • Benalmadena for kids - La Paloma - The cactus garden
  • Benalmadena for kids - La Paloma - More exotic cactus
  • Benalmadena for kids - La Paloma
  • Benalmadena for kids - La Paloma - bathrooms
  • Benalmadena for kids - La Paloma - bathrooms for dogs!
  • Benalmadena for kids - La Paloma
  • Benalmadena for kids - La Paloma - Love is in the air
  • Benalmadena for kids - La Paloma - Benches
  • Benalmadena for kids - La Paloma - The pond
  • Benalmadena for kids - La Paloma - The pond and flowers
  • Benalmadena for kids - La Paloma - Duck
  • Benalmadena for kids - La Paloma - Is it a dream?
  • Benalmadena for kids - La Paloma
  • Benalmadena for kids - La Paloma - One of the entrances

La Paloma Park is a jewel in Benalmadena. It is large, green and packed with attractions. There is a cactus garden on the upper part of the park, that kids and adults enjoy; a large pond, with turtles and ducks, a few small animals running around – Kiddo loves when he finds a bunny – some caged animals (goats; a bit sad that they are caged. By the way, do not feed them; they are fed properly by the park team), plenty of places for picnics, a few small snack and refreshments stalls, a small playground and the main attraction for kids: a big playground, that is actually two playgrounds connected by a rope bridge. Adorable.

It is a must see in Benalmadena, and for free. Enjoy a lazy evening, people-watch and let the kids run in this adorable park, that has been recently renovated and is looking even better than what you see on google maps. The park has bathrooms and also two designated bathroom spots for dogs 😊. There are plenty of green poles signs in the park and maps in the entrances, so you can find what you want easily. As Benalmadena itself, the park is hilly, so it goes unfolding as you walk. It’s very beautiful and one of the first places I take guests of any age. They all fall in love.

Benalmadena’s library

While in La Paloma, check the library, next to the cactus and succulents’ area. They have an amazing section with books for kids (mostly in Spanish), and a big selection of books for adults in several languages besides Spanish. Travelers can read in the library; residents can associate for free and borrow books.

Skate Park Innova

Very close to the library, you find Benalmadena’s skate park. Cool for both kids and teenagers, as long as they bring their own skates or rollers. For free and great to make local friends. 😉

Skatepark
Benalmadena’s skate park Innova. Picture by Patrick Le Metayer on Google Maps.

Selwo Marina

  • Benalmadena for kids: map showing La Paloma and Selwo
  • Benalmadena for kids - Selwo Marina - Penguins
  • Benalmadena for kids - Selwo Marina - Flamingos
  • Benalmadena for kids - Selwo Marina - Dolphins
  • Benalmadena for kids - Selwo Marina - Macaw
  • Benalmadena for kids - Selwo Marina - Saki monkeys

Despite its name, Selwo Marina is neither in Benalmadena’s Puerto Marina nor limited to sea life. It is located right by La Paloma Park and has, among others, flamingos, macaws, toucans, monkeys, armadillos and plants from the Amazon forest besides the two main attractions: the penguins island and a large dolphin complex.  

Selwo Marina and La Paloma go very well together and can be visited on the same day; if you are also interested in going to the Cable Car (described next) you can choose to get combo tickets from the same link above – the offer will appear when you check availability. It does get cheaper buying the combo, but then both attractions must be visited on the same day (which is completely doable).

There is another option, though, that includes tickets for Selwo Marina, the Cable Car and Selwo Aventura, in Estepona, all for the same day. I’d advise against it, because Estepona itself is one hour away from Benalmadena by car, so doing it all in one day would be too rushed.

Cable Car

The Cable Car ride starts from Arroyo de La Miel, close to the train station and very close to the Playground at Plaza Pueblosol. It’s on the stop number 8 if you are doing the hop-in hop-off bus – the same stop for the Friday Street Market.

Benalmadena for kids - cable car
Cable car in Benalmadena. Photo from Get your guide

The Cable Car ride lasts for about 15 minutes and climbs up to more than 700 meters above sea level up to the top of Mount Calamorro. The view is breathtaking. When you are up there, try to find your home or hotel; odds are you’ll be able. At the top, after you catch your breath, you can watch a lecture / show about hawks (if you want, you need to check the times before you climb up. I believe this presentation happens only twice a day) or go hiking.

If you are like me, you can also go to the restaurant they have on the top 😊 and then marvel at the view more and more before you go back down. It is one of the best attractions in Benalmadena. It is amazing. You can get tickets for the cable car from the link below; they are also sold at the entrance, but tickets are more expensive there and sometimes run out.

Kiddo’s input: the ride is too smooth. I expected it to be more like a rollercoaster.

Playgrounds

Benalmadena delivers when it comes to playgrounds. There are plenty of small playgrounds near residential areas; if you are staying in a vacation home, odds are you’ll find one near you.

Parque gamonal, one of the playgrounds around town

There are a few big ones as well, that we’ll see below. In my opinion, the best ones are those surrounded by trees, so kids can play guarded from heat and sun. Even better if there is commerce around, so I can run some quick errands and keep an eye on Kiddo. Kiddo’s opinion is, surprisingly, similar. Just more colorful:

Plaza pueblosol

Benalmadena for kids - playground at Plaza Pueblosol
Playground in Plaza Pueblosol. Photo by Mama Málaga

Kiddo’s input: it’s good and I often meet friends there, but the metal slides get very hot under the sun.

Mama’s input: near the main train station of the city and lined by benches and convenient shops, such as a laundry, hairdresses and small snacks shops. Lacks trees, though; better for the evening or for cloudy days. Good in winter. Many events happen in this Plaza, so it is good that kids can go play together while parents are nearby enjoying a bit of what is going on. 

Pocoyo parque infantil

Kiddo’s input: it’s ok, but better for younger kids. I think 3-year-olds would enjoy it.

Mama’s input: close to a few restaurants and banks, but not so close that we can actually see the kids. It has plenty of trees and is very central. Perfect to entertain small children.

The playground in La Paloma Park

Benalmadena for kids - playground at La Paloma
Playground in La Paloma. Photo by Mama Málaga

Kiddo’s input: best in town, and I also like the slushies from the stall nearby. But I prefer the playground in Parque de La Batería (Torremolinos).

Mama’s input: my favourite. But I have nothing to do while Kiddo plays, other than look at my phone. Very good place to set playdates, because then I can talk to the other mother. Kiddo prefers the one in Torremolinos because there they have small trampolines! It is fun indeed.

Beaches

We can’t forget to mention this main attraction of Benalmadena for kids. Benalmadena has two main stretches of sand beaches, and they are both good for kids. The sea is calm on these shores; there are enough waves to play, but they are not high – no surfers around, which increases safety for children. Between the two large sand stretches, there are rocky beaches and small sand beaches as well.

The first stretch is the one that includes the following beaches: Playa Malapesquera, Playa de Sant’Ana, Playa Bil-Bil and Playa de Arroyo de La Miel. All these beaches are connected by sand and by the promenade that runs along Benalmadena’s shore up to the marina.

Benalmadena for kids - Beach in July
Bil Bil Beach, with Costa Water Park on the back. Photo by Mama Malaga.

Costa Water Park

From mid-June to mid-September, my favorite area for kids is the region around Bil Bil, because it has the inflatable playground in the sea, provided by Costa Water Park. It is a fun and memorable experience. You can buy tickets directly there, on the beach. 

Benalmadena for kids - inflatable waterpark
One more playground 😉 Picture from Costa Water Park.

The second stretch of sand beaches is where Playa Carvajal is. This lovely beach is partially in Benalmádena and partially in Fuengirola. Carvajal is the closest beach to a train station in Benalmadena (though that station is already in Fuengirola), and therefore very easy to access if you are staying in Arroyo de La Miel. Confusing? A bit, I see; don’t think much about borders when in the Costa del Sol; the cities are all incredible and the beaches are too. Besides, Torremolinos, Benalmadena, Fuengirola and Mijas are pretty much connected, as if they were one large urban area.

A bit of Playa Carvajal, from Google Maps

Both sand beach stretches have chiringuitos – small restaurants on the sand, usually offering seafood, but not limited to that – and are lined by a gorgeous promenade.  The two promenades in Benalmadena don’t connect, though, as the area of Benalmadena with rocky beaches lies in between.

Benalmadena for kids - boquerones at the beach
A restaurant / chiringuito by the beach. Photo by Mama Málaga

Since we are talking about beaches, let’s see a few cool family entertainment options around the Benalmadena’s Puerto Marina area, very close to Malapesquera beach:

Ferris wheel on the Marina

One of the newest attractions in Benalmadena, the Ferris wheel in the Marina (called Mirador Princess) opened at the end of 2022 and is already a landmark, beautiful day and night. It sits right by the ocean, and from there you see parts of Torremolinos, Benalmadena, the mountains and the Mediterranean. What’s not to love? The price. Last I heard it was 10 euros for adults and 6 for kids, bought directly there.

Parquelandia

Parquelandia is something between a playground and an amusement park. Loved by kids and parents, it has inflatables, trampolines, carts and other attractions. There are two parquelandias in Puerto Marina, one on the open and the other inside the Puerto Marina shopping. There is no fee to enter, but each attraction is paid separately.

Benalmadena for kids - parquelandia
Parquelandia. Picture from Parquelandia.com

Check Parquelandia’s website for their open hours, which are a bit complex; in general lines, they work every day from April to September, but only on weekends from October to April; from 1 to 7 PM during winter and from 5 PM or 7 PM till 11 PM or 1 AM during the summer (kids in Spain stay up until late!)

Dolphin watching boat tour

If after going to Selwo Marina you want more dolphins, enjoy the unique experience of seeing the Costa del Sol from a boat while looking for them in their natural habitat! Take your swimsuit and towels with you, because if sea and weather conditions are good, you can jump on the water – the boat crew even has pool noodles 😉 The boat is large and sells beverages and snacks. The trip lasts for about 2 hours and is offered on different times of the day. Get your tickets ahead below:

Parasailing

Are you brave enough? If you are looking to spice your vacations with adventure, you can go parasailling with the whole family above 4 years old!!! It gets as high as 250 meters – not as much as the Cable Car, but hey, on this one you are connected to a speed boat and through a much lighter cable. Parachutes hold a maximum of 200 kg, and they allow people to parachute together as long as their combined weight does not exceed the limit. Please let me know if you did it! Can I have a picture? You can book a time here.

Sea Life Aquarium

Entrance to Sea Life Aquarium in Benalmadena

Selwo Marina is not in the Marina, but the Sea life is, and it is an aquarium! People comment that it is a bit small, though. Despite that, many visitors are in love with the place, as people can walk in a tunnel surrounded by the aquarium. You can get centimeters close to a shark! Sea life has sharks, otters, turtles, and colorful tropical fish. They offer two passes: one for one entrance only (link below, on the left), and another that allows you to come and go many times in the same day (link below, on the right). A good pick for either sunny or rainy days 😉

Escape room and laser tag

Do you have teenagers? If so, this one is for them. Prison Island is a facility in the Marina that offers both escape room and laser tag. They recommend a minimum age of 13, though they do accept younger kids, as long as there is an adult with them. Definitely Fun!

Mini Golf

The Blue Kiwi Mini Golf is fun for the whole family. They have a pub and then, for those who choose to play, a 12 holes mini course whose entrance can be purchased at the pub. They offer three different sizes of clubs, so kids can enjoy too; I believe its better from 6 years old up. The only donwside is that their opening times are a bit misterious – they are different on Facebook and on google maps. I went there at 8 PM on July and they were open; at 10 PM they were full.

Kiddo’s input: I had fun. And a rainbow slushie!

Swimming pools

Many hotels and residential areas have swimming pools in Benalmadena. If you are coming with kids between April and October, it’s worthy choosing and accommodation that offers it and that will have the pools accessible on the dates you’ll be in town, as some residential areas limit the use of the pool only for the summer months. Keep an eye on it.

Some residential pools go as far as having pool noodles available for the kids 😊 but if yours don’t, it’s easy to find pool noodles in the shops by the beaches – as well as floaties, towels, shovels, buckets, inflatables and everything else to make a splash-perfect day!

Butterfly Park

The Butterfly Park – Mariposario de Benalmadena – offers the opportunity to see several butterflies in their own environment, plus tropical plants and other small tropical animals. There is an educational area, where kids and parents can learn more about the transformation process that leads to a butterfly, and then an area where more than a thousand of them fly around. They can even land on you!

The Butterfly Park is great even on rainy days, as it is a closed building. 😉 Get your tickets here.

Extra! The Feria

If you come to visit Benalmadena during the days of the Feria de Benalmadena, around the last week of June, Benalmadena offers even more. This year (2023) there was a funfair in the Recinto ferial (right beside La Paloma park); an inflatable water park and some parties for teenagers, with DJs but no alcohol. And a lot of entertainment for adults as well.

What Benalmadena does not have

You’ve seen Benalmadena has plenty of entertainment for kids; so much so, I bet you’ll have to come more than once to see it all. And we barely talked about the nearby cities, which also offer great attractions; nevertheless, now let’s talk about two things Benalmadena does not have:

Tivoli World. It’s a pitty, but the huge Tivoli park located near the Cable Car in Benalmadena is closed. It stopped operation during the covid years, and has never reopened. The company that operated the facility says it is not financially viable; the city council and formers employees have been trying to find a way to keep the park operating, and the population of Benalmadena roots for the reopening. We still have hope.

A water park. Benalmadena does not has – nor needs! – one, as you can find two water parks, one in each of the neighbouring towns: Aqualand in Torremolinos and AquaMijas in Mijas. There is a lot of fun around Benalmadena too! 😉

Next: A night of Flamenco and Food Trucks

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