Calle Mercurio, June 2016. I’d only been living in the city of Malaga for a few months when I decided to kick off my explorations of southern Spain. With so many of the country’s major highlights lying in wait throughout Andalucia, I decided to begin my wanderings gently with the perhaps unspectacular and often maligned resorts of the Costa del Sol. With Torremolinos, Fuengirola, Benalmadena and Marbella all easily accessible on the train from Malaga’s central station, I simply picked one at random and set off! On arrival I took the escalator up to this long main street stuffed with cafes, shops and bars.
Windmill Roundabout, June 2016. I think I’d half expected to land in the middle of some hellish episode of Eastenders. But instead I discovered a spotless town packed with relaxed, English speaking locals, mucho greenery and flourishes of colorful street art. This charming roundabout stands at the gateway to the amusingly named Bill Bill Beach at the end of Avenue Federico Garcia Lorca. You can admire it from one of the atmospheric cafes across the road over an English breakfast, a basket of fish and chips or a tapas platter.
Paseo Maritimo, June 2016. A pleasant stone promenade pathway with shops, restaurants and bars; Paseo Maritimo leads you all the way down Benalmadena’s pretty beachfront until you reach the luxurious marina. If you find the temperatures as sweltering as they were on the day of my visit, simply nip into The Mariner’s Tavern for an iced drink.
Puerto Marina, June 2016. The town marina is really something! Having been crowned Best Marina in the World on multiple occasions, you can come here to check out some of the stupendous waterside apartments (and marvel at how much they cost with a look in the estate agents windows). With over a thousand moorings for all manner of boats, this is also the place for boat rental, sailing, kayaking and water skiing. There’s also a massive aquarium and plenty of overpriced cafes and eateries.
Parque de la Paloma, June 2016. Benalmadena’s man-made city park is a real treat and should not be missed, even for those only nipping into town on a half-day visit. Opened in the mid 1990s, it has scooped numerous awards in Spain and made TripAdvisor’s 2014 list of Europe’s best 25 parks. There’s a children’s play area, a sizeable lake and rabbits, chickens, roosters and turtles milling about. And there’s a really impressive cactus garden showcasing one of the richest, most succulent collections of cacti I’ve ever seen.