Why we love Benahavis
According the Holiday Programme (BBC TV) Benahavis is ‘as close to paradise as you can get’, which is seems to be the general consensus amongst those who have visited this charming mountain village perched above the Guadalmina River.
The village is laid out in a typical Moorish style with narrow cobbled streets tightly packed with pretty white houses, small shops and an incredible array of restaurants. It is the high concentration of restaurants in such as a small area that has given rise to the name ‘the dining room of the Costa del Sol’. Benahavis also has a reputation for attracting celebrities, including the late Princess Diana and more recently it is rumoured Vladimir Putin and Michelle Obama, due to its close proximity to a number of exclusive luxury resorts and hotels.
What’s it like?
Benahavis is a place of natural beauty, situated just south of La Serrania de Ronda mountain range, surrounded by cork and pine forests and crossed by 3 rivers; the Guadalmina, Guadaiza, and Guadalmansa. There’s also plenty of history including Monte Mayor Castle. It is also the richest area in Andalucia per capita, mainly due to the presence of the highly exclusive golf and residential development of La Zagaleta located within the local vicinity. The addition of hundreds of new properties on the outskirts of the town has virtually doubled the original population, increase the number of non-locals to the area.
Eating and drinking
Many of the visitors to Benahavis are attracted by the opportunity to sample the much vaunted cuisine. Not only does it offer the highest concentration of restaurants in the area – 20 within one small village – they also offer wonderful views across the surrounding countryside. Meat is the order of the day in many restaurants, there is also a selection of tapas bars for a snack or light lunch.
If you are looking for a romantic meal or relaxed drink Benahavis will do fine, but if you want lively nightlife venues, glitz and glamour, then you should head to nearby Puerto Banus or Marbella, just 10 and 20mins by car respectively. Alternatively, Estepona offers an attractive alternative with its good mix of restaurants, bars and the lively marina.
As you would expect in a small village, Benahavis has the ubiquitous weekly market and there are some small shops. However the main attraction is the studio of international reputed artist David Marshall, where you can pick up original pieces of his work.
Sports and outdoor activities
Those who appreciate the outdoors and enjoy sports will find that Benahavis offers a lot of opportunities; there are several walking trails and climbing in the gorge. There is also a municipal gym, football pitch, swimming pool, tennis and padel courts, and of course numerous excellent golf courses. And if this isn’t enough, you can head to the coast for water sports, swimming and sailing.
Golf courses in Calahonda
Benahavis offers golfers plenty of options, with a choice of picturesque, challenging or more gentle courses, ideal for all types of players from beginners, experienced and professionals.
- Marbella Club Golf Resort – 18 holes, very technical course, great views, designed by Dave Thomas
- El Higueral Club de Golf – 9 holes, picturesque with great views and lakes
- La Zagaleta Club de Campo – 18 holes, exclusive private members club, course designed by Bradford Benz
- Los Barrancos de La Zagaleta – Opened in 2005
- Los Arqueros Golf & Country Club – 18 holes, designed by Severiano Ballasteros
- Monte Mayor Golf Club – 18 holes, designed by Jose Gancedo with wooden valley and water falls
- La Quinta Melia Golf & Spa resort – 27 holes, home to European Tour Championships
- Los Flamingos Golf – 18 holes, Villa Padierna’s 1st course designed by Antonio Garcia Garrido, sea views stretching to North Africa
- Alferini Golf Club – 18 holes, Villa Padierna’s 2nd course set in a conservation area
- Tramores Golf Club – 18- holes, Villa Padierna’s 3rd course, designed by Michael Campbell
Even though Benahavis is a mountain side village, it’s deceptively close to the coast, only 15 minutes from San Pedro’s family friendly clean beaches, and Puerto Banús is just a few more minutes along the coast.
- Playa de Levante: Family friendly and relaxed atmosphere with plenty of sunbeds, shallow water and plenty of restaurants and beach bars to cool off.
- Linda Vista: ‘Beautiful view’ in San Pedro is ideal for water sports including snorkelling, windsurfing and Jet skis are available for hire. Plenty of sunbeds and a several beach bars.
- Cortijo Blanco beach: Not the best beach in San Pedro, essentially it is a 600m gravelly beach located adjacent to the holiday development of the same name.
- San Pedro Alcantara beach: This the widest beach in San Pedro (1400m) and it has a lovely promenade.
- Guadalmina beach: A long sandy beach located adjacent to the upmarket Guadalmina urbanisation.
- The Ocean Club: Attractions include the once public lido, now a huge private swimming pool, the cocktail bar and gourmet snacks. It’s also a popular venue for DJs, fashion shows and exhibitions.
- La Sala by the Sea Beach Club: Previously Buddha Beach, now one the Costa del Sol most popular celebrity hotspots. Thai snacks can be served on the beach.
- Plaza Beach: Located adjacent to the Plaza Suites Hotel in Puerto Banus; it’s young, load and has lots of sofas, it also serves tasty food.
- Astral Beach: Located on the Victory statue side of Puerto Banus. Chilled out music and relaxed yet with a lively atmosphere. Great for a long summer drink.
- Mistral Beach: Located about 20 minutes from Puerto Banus marina next to the Guadalpin Banus Hotel, its lively and extremely popular spot for water sports.
If you’re interested in the Costa del Sol’s Moorish history and the conflict between the Arab invaders and the Spanish Monarchs, you can visit the nearby Montemayor Castle. It was built in its strategic elevated coastal position before Benahavis existed as a village, providing a vantage point overlooking the Mediterranean and across to North Africa. There is also an underground passage that connects to the coast, once used to transport soldiers to and from the castle.
Facts & Figures
Here is some useful information about Benahavis to help you make up your mind as to whether this is the place that you would like to relocate or to invest in property.
Spain has one of the world’s most proficient public health services, offering treatment via local doctors’ surgeries, many of which are multilingual and state hospitals such as the Costa del Sol Hospital in Elviria. There is also a wide choice of private health care options available, whereby you can pay around 50€ for a consultation with a private doctor. The is a wide choice of excellent private hospitals spanning the Costa del Sol, the closest to Benahavis is Hospiten located just 10 minutes’ drive towards Estepona. Expats paying income tax and EU pensioners are entitled to free medical treatment under the reciprocal schemes from their home country.
Benahavis is a very family friendly area with excellent provision for children. There are a couple of schools in the village; a nursery catering for children up to 4 years old and also a primary school. Buses are provided by the local government to take children to Spanish schools in San Pedro and Cancellada (Estepona). There is also the option of choosing one of several nearby private and international schools.
Benahavis is located slightly inland yet it is easily accessible via the main coast road and motorway on spanning the Costa del Sol.
20km from Marbella
13km from Puerto Banús
22km from Estepona
55km from Ronda
40km from Gibraltar
47km from Málaga