Pleasant surprises lie in store for every kind of holidaymaker in Benalmadena on the Costa del Sol. Holidays in this Spanish gem, like most breaks taken on the country's sundrenched Mediterranean coastline, are synonymous with sun loungers, sangria and chips. But there's much more on offer in Benalmadena - all you have to do is look for it.
Its sands, which can get busy during the day, are considered to be some of the cleanest in this part of Spain. But for a break from the beach, why not take a picnic to Paloma Park with its peacocks and picturesque lakes or visit the Sea Life Centre, which has enough wow factor to keep the kids talking about it for days. You can also hire a car from nearby Malaga Airport (AGP) and set out to explore more of this lovely coastline.
You won't need to go far to find something yummy to eat on holidays in Benalmadena, though. The resort has hundreds of eateries, which cater for every taste imaginable. The curry scene in Benalmadena, for example, is thriving due to the resort's popularity with British tourists.
Most people flock to the marina, where many million-pound yachts are moored, at the start of a night out. For those keen to carry on into the early hours, meanwhile, Benalmadena has a fair few nightclubs (although the nearby resorts of Fuengirola and Torremolinos are livelier still).
Benalmadena holidays can be enjoyed from luxury hotels and apartments as well as a good range of budget accommodation. For a bit of peace and quiet, however, groups may prefer one of the many private villas on the outskirts of the resort.
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Benalmadena enjoys some 300 glorious days of sunshine a year. The peak of summer can be very hot - expect a daytime average of about 27C. But winters are cooler, with temperatures falling to about 18C during the day and just 7C at night.
Semana Santa; April: Holy Week is celebrated with great enthusiasm in Benalmadena. Expect to see several religious processions and occasional live performances outside some of the larger churches. Many shops and businesses will close for some of the week, but most restaurants will remain open.
San Juan Festival; June: In nearby Arroyo de la Miel, the locals stage a huge annual fiesta to mark the start of summer. The event culminates with fires on the beach and a spectacular fireworks display.
Music Festival; July: A series of performances are held across Benalmadena and Arroyo de la Miel, with the main events staged in the Parque de la Paloma auditorium.
Fiesta de Virgen del Carmen; July: The sailing community of Benalmadena honours Carmen, the patron saint of sailors, at this lively event. A statue of the Virgen del Carmen is blessed and paraded by boat around the bay, into which 'Worshippers' leap before drinking the night away under a mass of fireworks.
Fiesta de Virgen de la Cruz; August: Singing, dancing and late-night feasting follows a parade through the streets of the Pueblo to honour the 'Virgin of the Cross'.
Best of Benalmadena holidays for...
Nightlife: Head for Plaza Sol y Mar where many clubs are open until the sun rises.
Kids & teens: Tivoli World is a must for thrill seekers. It's the biggest amusement park on the Costa del Sol.
Babies & toddlers: The best beach for the little ones is Playa Santa Ana. It's a soft, safe and sandy stretch of beach.