In the beginning God created Benalmadena! Well not quite, but Benalmadena and the surrounding area has had a long and checkered past.
In the 7th century BC, the Phoenicians arrived followed by the Romans in the early part of the 8th century AD. But the name Benalmadena came from the Moors who arrived later in the 8th century. The original name wa Ben-Al-Madina, which in Arabic translated as “children of the mines”. At that time there were many iron ore and ochre mines in the area.
The 14th century saw the population diminish due to the many coastal attacks by the infamous Barbary pirates. In 1485 the Moorish Benalmadena castle was destroyed by the Christian armies. The castle stood on the site now occupied by by the Santa Domingo church in Benalmadena Pueblo. The church was originally constructed in the 17th century.
Benalmadena became an important defence from seaboune raids in the 15th century, and was known as Vigia de la Costa, or “lookout for the coast”. The towns coat of arms still portrays this today. Three look out towers were built, (torres), and the remains can still be seen. One is situated in Benalmadena Costa, near the marina, and is called Torre Bermeja. The other two are at Torrequebrada and Torremuelle respectively.
Probably the worst disaster the area had seen happened in 1680 when an earthquake occured. No houses were left standing and the fishing boats were destroyed by the following tsunami.
In the late 18th century, the population started to recover when an Italian named Felix Solesio opened paper mills in the area of Arroyo de la Miel in 1784. The ruins of one of these can be seen today in Plaza Tribuna, which is adjacent to Plaza Espana in Arroyo. This lasted for around thirty years until Felix Solesio became bankrupt. The next phase was the cultivation of Muscatel grapes which lasted until the late 1800s, when the Phylloxera epidemic struck and ruined all the vines.
We then come to the early 1960s when the package holiday tourists started to arrive on the Costa del Sol by the planeload from northern Europe. The La Roca was the first hotel built in the town but was quickly followed by many more. In 1972 work started on the construction of the marina, and Tivoli World theme park opened in 1973. The marina opened in 1982 followed by Paloma Park in the late 1980s.