Mijas in the Costa del Sol is the perfect destination for a villa holiday. It’s got everything you could possibly want or need, and has something to offer everyone. However, sometimes it’s beneficial to spread your wings a little further: sometimes it’s good to hire or car and get out and about. The Costa del Sol has some fabulous places to visit, and it would be a great pity not to take advantage of this and see some of the other lovely destinations. It there’s one place you should surely visit, it has to be the lovely sea-side port of Benalmadena.
If you like boats and anything to do with sailing, then you really should Benalmadena, and the area around its beautiful marina. It has been voted best Marina in the world for its beauty and striking architecture, and once you’ve seen it you can fully appreciate why. There are berths for approximately 1,000 boats of all sizes from the smallest fishing boats to luxury yachts. There’s also a Sea Life Centre here, so it’s great for the children too. Take your time and soak in the beauty of the town and stroll down the promenade, stopping at one of the many terracitas (pavement cafes) for tapas and the local speciality fried fish – pescaíto frito and espetos. But Benalmadena has much more to offer than just the marina. Benalmadena has something to offer everyone, from trendy shops and nightlife, to leisure and sport complexes for adventure lovers, and gentle walks for those who prefer to relax.
Castillo del Bil Bil
The Arabian influence on the history of Benalmadena is still obvious in places like Castillo del Bil Bil. You’d struggle to miss the Castillo del Bil Bil because of its vivid red colouring and its perfectly maintained Nasrid decoration. It was built by a Spanish merchant for his Moorish bride who was pining for her homeland. It is a beautiful Moorish house, complete with indoor courtyard, fine plasterwork and a wonderful garden filled with fountains and running water The Castillo is now used as a cultural centre and frequently holds exhibitions, concerts, conferences, and other events.
The Park de La Paloma
The park Parque de La Paloma (Pigeon Park) is the main green area in Benalmadena. Paloma Park covers 200,000 square metres and is located about 200 metres from the main coastal road. There is a rectangular lake with a high jet of water and many paved walkways. The park serves as a meeting point for hundreds of visitors.
The Mariposario (Butterflies Hall) is a special place full off beauty and thousands of brightly coloured butterflies form all over the world. It is the biggest butterfly park in Europe, with 1500 butterflies on display. On display are more than 150 species. The lifespan of the butterflies is only 2 to 3 weeks, so they are constantly bred to fill the park. The park is kept at 80 percent humidity and a temperature of between 24-29ºC, the same as the original habitats of the butterflies. The butterflies come from America, Africa, and Australasia. Some of the countries they come from are the Philippines, Malaysia, Costa Rica, Belize and Kenya. The butterflies are bred and are not captured in the wild. There are also moths and in the entrance hall the differences between butterflies and moths is explained. The entrance hall is situated in a beautiful Thai inspired building.