Butterfly Park and Stupa of Enlightenment

Bonus: Retamar Rustic Park and Lourdes Cave

February 22, 2024
Last updated on February 25, 2024

Benalmadena’s Butterfly Park and Stupa of Enlightenment are two landmarks of the town. They are located very close to each other, a bit after the main area of Benalmadena Pueblo. Near them, there are also the Rustic Park of Retamar and Lourdes Cave, these two being less known sites of the area. Are they all worth visiting? Well, I’ll show a bit of each here, so you can decide on your own! The good thing is that, as the 4 places are close to each other, once you visit one, the other three are very easy to get to.

Butterfly Park (Mariposario de Benalmádena)

Benalmadena’s Butterfly Park exists since 2011. Its facade has a unique Thai style, complete with side dragon statues and wind chimes. The interior, though, is even more unique than the outside!

Butterfly Park (mariposario de benalmadena)

Full disclosure: I’m completely in love with the Butterfly Park. It has a very peaceful atmosphere, and houses more than a thousand butterflies (and moths!) inside their large salon, which has a small cascade, a lake with carps, turtles, small marsupials and several birds flying around a mini- tropical forest. There is constantly calm music playing and blending with the sound of water running.

The butterflies may be the main attraction, but the beautiful vegetation that surrounds the whole salon is also mesmerizing. Butterflies’ ideal environment is warm and moist, with plenty of flowers. Therefore, the plants that compose the space are lush, tropical and green, with big and small flowers. There are orchids, palms, ferns and bromelias everywhere.

Did you notice the image with branches filled with moths “parked” neatly one after the other? These are all alive, nocturnal moths sleeping during the daytime! While it is easy to spot these moths, it is hard to see the butterflies in the pictures; in the Park it is very easy, as they are very active, flying all around. In the video below I think you’ll have a better idea of the butterflies in the area.

Live action in the Buttefly Park! By MamaMalaga

As shown in the video, in the Mariposario there are several places where the butterflies feed, and they tend to visit these spots often. Near the feeders, there are magnifying glasses that visitors can use to better appreciate the beautiful wings and patterns of the insects while they eat. The main room is connected to a butterfly nursery, with several cocoons of the next generation of butterflies of the Park, also visible for visitors.

Butterfly Park (mariposario de benalmadena)
One of the many information displays
Butterfly Park (mariposario de benalmadena)
Coffee shop and a bit of the gift shop

The Butterfly Park offers a great amount of interesting information in beautiful displays in and out of the main butterfly room. There is also a gift shop and even a coffee shop to complete the Park – very convenient, considering that the surrounding area and the other remarkable places don’t have a place to eat. 😉

Hours: the park is open 365 days a year, from 10:00 am to 6:30 pm. It is advisable to check their page, as this information can change over time.

Tickets: you can buy tickets directly at the ticket office in the Park or buy online, with a discount. I got my ticket online, and it was valid for 3 months – meaning, you don’t need to know the exact date and time you intend to be there when you buy. The ticket is valid for one entrance only.

Price: The ticket costs €12,00 for an adult at the office, and €10,50 online. There are discounts for children, seniors and people with special needs.

How to get there: check the last title of this post for instructions.

Stupa of Enlightenment (Estupa de la iluminación)

Stupa de Benalmadena
Stupa of Benalmadena

A Stupa is a Buddhist monument to peace, prosperity and harmony, as well as a place to meditate, learn and reflect. The Stupa of Benalmadena, visible from many parts of the city, due to its size, high altitude location and golden tip, is the largest Stupa in the western hemisphere. Because of its large dimensions, the Stupa incorporates a meditation hall in its interior, where there are guided meditation sessions every Sunday at 06:00 pm.

Stupa de Benalmadena
The interior of the Stupa

Inside the Stupa, above the meditation hall, there are layers of sacred objects, among which are half a ton of Buddhist prayers printed on cotton paper, the complete teachings of Buddha Shakyamuni – Kanjur and 6000 Buddha-reliefs made of clay. A small diorama of the Stupa (shown on the right), in the meditation hall, represents the objects, which are sealed forever.

Stupa de Benalmadena
Diorama of the Stupa

The Stupa grounds are a fantastic viewpoint, from which it is possible to see all the way to Fuengirola:

Stupa de Benalmadena - view
View from the Stupa of Benalmadena

Hours: the Stupa is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10:00 am to 02:00 pm and from 04:00 pm to 06:30 pm. It is advisable to check their page, as this information can change over time. They also have special opening hours during holidays.
Tickets: admittance to the Stupa is free of charge.
How to get there: check the last title of this post for instructions.

Going around the Stupa, two intriguing, nearby places are visible:

Retamar Rustic Park
Lourdes Cave

We will explore this area in the next two titles…

Retamar Rustic Park (Parque Rustico Retamar)

Rustic Park Retamar
Retamar Rustic Park

This somewhat eerie park of rustic, dry nature, right by the perfectly manicured Stupa and close to the lush tropical Butterfly Park may seem out of place at first sight. But it is perfect: the buildings, that resemble abandoned constructions, are actually the scenario where yearly, the Passion and Death of Jesus Christ (known as El Paso, in Spanish) is staged in Benalmadena, as part of the Holy Week celebrations. The buildings are there for this purpose, and the rugged environment completes the ambiance of hardship and suffering of the play being staged.

Retamar Rustic Park
Image by the entrance of the Rustic Park Retamar

Below: the view of the Stupa from the Retamar Rustic Park and a close-up to the place where the Last Supper is staged.

Retamar Rustic Park
Stupa of Benalmadena, seen from the Retamar Rustic Park
Retamar Rustic Park
The Last Supper stage
Above: part of 2024’s Holy Week program in Benalmadena. Image from Ayuntamiento de Benalmadena

Related post:
Holy week and Easter in the Costa del Sol

Hours: as far as I can tell, the Retamar Rustic Park is constantly open; I saw no gates around the park. There is no fee to enter, either.

How to get there: check the last title of this post for instructions.

Lourdes Cave (Gruta de Lourdes)

Lourdes Cave is part of the Retamar Rustic Park. Separated from the main Park by gates, there is a space with an altar, some benches and spaces by the rock guarding Christian images. It is a peaceful area where to rest and recharge. The views from here are also impressive.

Lourdes Cave
Lourdes Cave’s gate
Lourdes Cave
Lourdes Cave and Stupa.
Lourdes Cave
Resting point, with the caves on the back

Below: one of the images guarded in Lourdes Cave, and one of the views from the area.

Lourdes Cave
Sacred image in Lourdes Cave
Lourdes Cave
Benalmadena and Fuengirola through the rocks

Hours: There is no information about closing times, eventhough, considering there is a gate, it is possible that the access to Lourdes Cave is closed at night. There is no fee to access this area.

How to get there: check below for instructions.

How to get there

The easiest way, in my opinion, is by bus. Take bus 103 (from Benalmadena), 112 (from Mijas, Benalmadena, Torremolinos or Malaga) or 121 (from Mijas, Benalmadena or Torremolinos) and leave at the stop called Estupa Tibetana. From the bus stop, you’ll be already seeing the Butterfly Park and the Stupa; the Rustic Park Retamar and Lourdes Cave are visible from the Stupa grounds.

Above: a view showing the bus stop ‘Estupa Tibetana’, on the left; the Butterfly Park in front, and the Stupa on the right.

If you prefer to go by car, you can park by the Stupa, which has a parking area, visible in the image below. I saved these four places on a list on Google Maps, that you can access by clicking here or in the image below. In the image, the star marks the bus stop Estupa Tibetana. 😉


Butterfly Park and the Stupa of Benalmadena are among the most well-known places in Benalmadena, featuring in every publication about top places to visit. The Rustic Park and its Lourdes Cave are mostly known only by locals, but I bet they have intrigued many a Stupa visitor!! How did you like the area? I hope now you know a bit more and can make better decisions about what you want to see while in town. And if you are spending Holy Week in Benalmadena, you know where to go. 😉 Have a great time!

Next: Holy Week in Benalmadena 2024