Beautiful Benalmadena Spain
Benalmadena: For the last three or four years we have been spending a few weeks of the summer touring around England, visiting family. Being in Europe gives us the opportunity to add a side trip or two to a neighbouring European country every time we go over. In 2018, we decided to check out Benalmadena on trip with some of the cousins and their friends. I've always dreamed of visiting Spain and was stoked about finally getting the chance.
This year we were supposed to return to Spain, but have shelved those plans for the time being. I've been getting more and more excited about checking out some Canadian destinations this summer. But back to this Spanish trip that we took two years ago that I never ended up blogging about...until now.
Getting there: The short 3 hour flight from Manchester Airport to Malaga – Costa del Sol Airport with Ryannair was easy. Their website was easy to navigate and I found their terms and conditions transparent. Our trip to Malaga was the second time Tim and I have flown Ryannair and both flights were excellent. Ryannair is a low cost carrier with deconstructed fees, so we paid very little as we just travelled with backpacks.
After arriving in Malaga and clearing Spanish Customs, we were standing outside with Tim’s cousins in the hot, humid night. We got a taxi quickly and the driver sped away from the airport on dark curving streets towards Benalmadena blasting Love Me Again by John Newman.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION: Located in the Province of Malaga, Benalmadena is a super fun Southern town on Spain’s Costa del Sol. Translation: Sun Coast. So accurate and so much YESSSSSS! Benalmadena is located on the Alboran Sea and very close to the Strait of Gibraltar and Morocco. You can definitely see the Northern African influence when you look at the shape of some the buildings in the area.
The seaside Andalusian town boasts Mediterranean climes averaging 17C in the winter and 30C in the summer. The Benalmadena Marina rates amongst the best in the world. We visited in July and to say it was hot would be a massive understatement. I’ve travelled to many hot places and this heat was unlike anything I have ever experienced. Dipping into the shimmering Alboran Sea and floating gently on the waves felt like a warm, dreamy bath, so not refreshing at all but still amazing.
The digs: Cousins Maureen and Ian picked the two bedroom top floor two bedroom, two bath condo with a huge funrnished living/sitting/ dining area which included a little kitchenette that would go completely unused with the exception of the fridge, We had the most incredible full facing marina views from the huge patio. The marina views are bright during the day and sexy at dusk, illuminated lanterns and lights from the businesses that line the marina's edge. We were fortunate to be travelling with Mo and Ian who are Benalmadena regulars.
Pro Tip: When I went to go plug my phone into the socket to charge, I noticed that the electrical plugs in Spain were not the same as the ones in England and most certainly not like the ones in Canada. The mistake was a costly one, but at least we now have a kit of electrical socket adaptors that we * think * will cover us for any country we visit. I've since learned that the electrical sockets in Europe are the same with the exception of England. I still double check before we go anywhere that I'm unfamiliar with.
What did we do and how did we get around?: Walk. We walked just about everywhere. Around the marina and then what felt like the length of the entire boardwalk from Benalmadena, past Torremolinos. We stopped to buy towels to lie on the beach. We stopped to buy fresh coconut water to hydrate, we stopped at restaurants to rest our legs and to have tapas. We walked in and out of shops and tried out our very grim sounding Castilian Spanish which sounds a bit different from the Andalusian dialect, which is of course different from Latin American Spanish.
There was also a place called the 24 hour village. The place sounded sketchy so I passed, but I did hear that it was just as exciting/salacious as the name suggested.
Our group walked and enjoyed non-stop laughter on a walk to Torremolinos and then after walking up some seemingly never-ending stairs past view points, up and up to the old city. We took pictures and found a quaint little restaurant with tables and chairs set up on the cobblestone in the Entreplazas and enjoyed more tapas and laughter. It was truly one of the most beautiful of afternoons spent with many of the cousins and new friends. We then took a taxi back to our apartment overlooking the Marina. It was absolute bliss.
Pro Tip: Along parts of the walkway that links Benalmadena to Torremolinos are people who sell counterfiet designer and luxury goods. If you stop for even a second to take a closer look at anything or so much as let your gaze wander over, you will definitely have an eagle-eyed seller come up to you and try to secure a sale. I found some more persistent than others but never did I feel unsafe in any way.
Some of the members of our travel group booked lodgings that included a rooftop patio complete with a gigantic pool and panoramic views of the marina, the beaches, the walkway around the marina and the sea beyond. There were also chairs, loungers and a barbeque. It was legitimately too much. It was also very hot. Fortunately, the pool was cool and a refreshing way to bring the body temperature down.
We also rented time on a big, beautiful sailboat. The captain and his mates took five of us through the marina and out onto the beautiful, open sea. We bounced about on the waves and had an incredible time. That was pretty much all we could mash into our long weekend, taking into consideration that we also had to eat meals and sleep each day (If you hang out at the 24 hour village, maybe not so much!)
The cornerstone of any great trip is the food: Any of the chiringuitos, which are seafood restaurants right on the beach. I am not a shellfish eater, but if you are, you will have no shortage delicious fresh-caught fish on the menu prepared right on the spot. I had no problem finding things that I do love to eat.
Playa Miguel Beach Club Restaurant. A very modern looking, spot with crisp white umbrellas on the patio and covering the beach chairs that stood out against the incredible blue of the sea. The place was packed and the food and drinks were good. Heads up: if you venture to the beach, be sure to bring your own towel unless you don’t mind shelling out 10€ for a rental.
Many a late night laugh was had at Baby Murphy’s Irish Pub. They had a terrace outside that linked to other restaurants and we had so much fun sitting under stars, singing karaoke and dancing.
We ate a few light meals per day because I tend to feel gross gorging on food in the heat. Spain is the home of the tapas (small plates) and I understand why. We enjoyed sharing small plates, sampling a few dishes while keeping hydrated and of course sampling traditional Spanish red wine sangrias (NB: This trip was taken when I drank alcohol). Everyone and every place seems to offer their own twist on this classic Spanish drink, and it was fun to try different ones and decide which ones we thought were the best. I will add that nobody won our ‘best sangria in Spain’ competition, because they were all amazing, but I certainly look forward to round two of this competition when we return to this beautiful country. The next time I head back, I will be on the hunt for the perfect non-alcoholic sangria. There's gotta be some good ones there!
May 2020 remarks: I loved it. That's it. Spain has since become one of my favourite places on Earth. We had planned to visit again in July, but I've come to terms with the fact that it's not happening. That hasn't stopped me from researching all of the beautiful places in Spain that I will visit once I resume travelling by air. For more Spain inspiration check out my Ibiza and Formentera posts because island hopping in Spain is truly some next level shit.