Extending across rolling Andalucian countryside between mountains and sea, Benahavis is the lesser-known, sophisticated neighbour of Marbella; a captivating destination for golfers, foodies, luxury travellers and nature-lovers alike.

One of the richest municipalities in Spain, Benahavis is home to some of Spain’s most luxurious real estate, within 40 minutes’ drive (or a helicoper hop) of Malaga airport. Visitors ‘in the know’ choose Benahavis for its serene beauty, panoramic views and great culinary scene; Benahavis beckons those seeking a different kind of luxury

Let’s delve into what Benahavis has to offer and discover the best things to do in Benahavis.

Views over La Zagaleta, Benahavis


Where is Benahavis?

Benahavis is located in the province of Malaga, between neighbouring  Marbella, San Pedro de Alcantara and Estepona. While to the north, it borders with the scenic town of Ronda looking out at the snow-capped peaks of Sierra de las Nieves. Striking mountain backdrops and dramatic canyon views come as standard here.

Benahavis itself is made up of several distinct areas; The administrative centre is located in Benahavis Pueblo (white village), but its probably best-known for the security-gated private estates of La Zagaleta and El Madronal, as well as several other luxury developments.

Our guests can choose to stay in the beautiful surroundings of Los Flamingos, Montemayor and the iconic Marbella Club Golf Resort, where facilities like restaurants, horse riding and golf have made these just as enticing to travellers as property investors.

The location of Benahavis gives easy access to all that Marbella has to offer, while providing a tranquil base away from the hustle and bustle. With Puerto Banus on your doorstep, you get the added advantage of some of the best restaurants, beaches, golf courses and private yacht charter services around, without being in the thick of it.

Benahavis is 65km from Malaga Airport while Gibraltar airport is 70km away. Marbella Old Town is 10km away while Malaga Historic Centre is about an hour’s drive. But how far is Benahavis from the beach? The closest beach is located ten minutes away at San Pedro de Alcantara.

What is Benahavis known for?

With 320 days of sunshine per year, there’s not much you can’t do in Benahavis, but what is it most known or?

Once famously nicknamed the ‘gastronomic capital of the Costa del Sol’, Benahavis is still a proud cultivator of local culinary talent through its local chef school.

From traditional Spanish tapas to avant-garde gastronomic creations, the freshest ingredients and innovative flavours converge. Benahavis is brimming with gourmet corners that only the local’s seem to know about. Why not tantalise your taste buds, and explore in depth our hand-picked guide to the very best restaurants in Benahavis?

It’s excellent air quality and diverse hiking routes make it attractive to walkers, hikers and cyclists looking to enjoy the area’s abundance of natural beauty and wildlife. There is something for every age and ability. Beginners will love the Sendero Acequia del Guadalmina, a 4.6km short path and very easy that finishes once you reach the Guadalmina river.

Unsurprisingly, canyoning is extremely popular here and outdoor pursuits are not in short supply. Why not be inspired by our outdoor activity guide?

Golf-lovers need not feel left out either, with courses like Atalaya, Los Arqueros, and the triple at Villa Padierna, there’s plenty to go at (see more, below)

Outdoor enthusiasts can explore the numerous mountain ranges, rivers, and woods, by canoeing down the Guadalmina River, horse riding or hiking; or take a helicopter tour to take in the region’s stunning vistas from above. Check out our Marbella Golf Guide to find out more about playing golf in Benahavis.

The best restaurants in Benahavis

We couldn’t create a guide to Benahavis without mentioning the sublime culinary scene that this location is known for. If you are wondering where to eat in Benahavis, here are some of the LVC team’s favourites:

  • Benahavis has a rich gastronomical history and this traditional family-owned restaurant plays a starring role. Loved by locals and visitors alike, Los Abanicos serves up delicious authentic dishes with a romantic atmosphere enhanced only by the impeccable service.
  • Bodegon La Galeria: A firm favourite with the LVC team, this family-owned restaurant (which just recently relocated) is also a wine shop and if you value a terrific wine pairing, this is the place for you. Its cosy interior and charming terrace creates a welcoming ambiance.
  • Asador Tehuelche Grill Argentino: A memorable culinary adventure awaits meat-lovers here at Asador Tehuelche Grill Argentino. Located on the Benahavis road, you’ll find this steakhouse is the perfect mix of rustic and traditional.
  • Coto: Situated on the Ronda road by El Madronal, Coto is a complete re-build of the old favourite El Coto roadside Venta, and relative newcomer to the Benahavis dining scene. Breathtaking views are just one of the things that sets this restaurant apart from the rest. Enjoy Mediterranean dishes with a contemporary twist by South African chef Clive RogersExpect to take your aperitif in the company of the odd Billionaire, as it’s the closest restaurant to La Zagaleta

In nearby San Pedro:

  • El Ancla: Located in a secluded poolside setting, this family oriented, beach front venue promises both a mouthwatering menu and a romantic yet refined atmosphere. The succulent sole cooked in salt is a must-try.
  • Barbillon: This beautiful beach club offers guests a myriad of experiences with its beach club, pool and restaurant. The striking interior is only outdone by the delectable cuisine and relaxed beachy vibe.
  • Nido: Situated closer to Estepona, Nido has a privileged beachfront location and palatial pool area. If it’s a chilled vibe and superb service you require, you won’t be disappointed

© Bodegon La Galeria Benahavis

Where to go out in Benahavis

So, where are the best spots for a pre or post dinner drink?

  • Coto: Sitting atop the popular Coto restaurant you’ll find a chic cocktail bar that is perfect for pre or post dinner drinks. The bar is elegant and trendy and the cocktail menu rivals the culinary offering.
  • Bodega LuJo: Delicious Spanish tapas and captivating cocktails are served with a smile at Bodega Lujo. The enchanting atmosphere is the icing on the cake.
  • El Chico: The smallest bar in Benahavis serving up a range of Spanish wines, El Chico is somewhat of a landmark in this part of town. You might have to wait for a table here but the live music and hot and cold tapas will keep you entertained.

Why not check out our Marbella nightlife guide for more ideas?

© Coto, El Madronal, Benahavis

Golf in Benahavis

Some of the best golf courses include the Marbella Golf Club resort in the hills of Benahavis. Designed by the renowned Dave Thomas, it prides itself on exceedingly even the highest expectations, with a total length of 6,247m.

La Quinta Golf Resort attracts many leading golfers; the five-star venue promises a fresh Mediterranean Sea breeze with stunning views of the coastline. The 27-hole parkland was designed by former Ryder Cup player and three-time World Champion, Manuel Pinero.

The nearby Villa Padierna Golf Club is another five-star resort offering a picturesque sanctuary and fantastic golf. Play one of three courses; Los Flamingos, Tramores and Alferini.

© Marbella Golf Club

Day trips from Benahavis

Benahavis is perfect for spending a day visiting captivating Ronda, or the provincial capital, Malaga, with its historic centre, upmarket shops and galleries aplenty.

Ronda is easy to drive to under your own steam, just up the main A397, so its perfect if you wish to explore on your own timescale. We can also arrange a door-to-door guide to collect you, do the driving, then take you on a walking tour of the town, perhaps followed by a wine tasting and lunch in a family owned bodega.

You can expand your mind too closer to home too – Benahavis is home to beautiful art galleries and architecture.

Discover the works of local and international artists at Arte by Leyton Fine Art Gallery, as well as the village’s own charming architecture; the 10th century Montemayor castle overlooks the village, standing at 580m on top of a commanding pyramid hill.

Local stories tell of underground passages leading to the coast, once used by Moorish troops.

Benahavis has its own access to the AP7 Toll Road/Peaje, which makes it easy to visit Gibraltar, Malaga, or even Granada, Cadiz, Seville or Cordoba in a day. For a bespoke experience, consider private viewings and personalised tours, which our guest experience team would be happy to book for you, or we can even organise an overnight stay in one of the Andalucian cities, with a helicopter or jet transfer.

How to get to Benahavis

Benahavis is easily accessible from both Malaga and Gibraltar airport with a driving time of between 50 minutes and an hour. If you are flying to Malaga in a private jet, there is a separate terminal and some of our villas have helipads to facilitate a speedy commute. Our concierge team can also arrange a driver or hire car.

Taxis are available in Benahavis on-call (no need to pre-book) or there are also UBER and Bolt in operation via the APP. Please be aware that if you’re staying in a security-gated urbanisation such as La Zagaleta, El Madronal, or Marbella Club Golf, taxis will not be permitted to enter unless pre-registered with the gate.


When is the best time to visit Benahavis?

The most picturesque times to visit Benahavis are Spring and early Summer, when you can often see local deer and wildlife in the area, but the temperatures are still sublime in Autumn through to late October.

Benahavis hosts various annual festivals and celebrations, with the standout being the summer feria. Starting in mid-August, the Benahavis Fair brightens up the town for about five days. It all kicks off with a warm welcome from the local mayor and key figures, who gather for a festive dinner, a lively parade, and the inauguration of the fairground.

Additionally, the patron saint festivities, held in early October to honour the Virgin del Rosario, span several days and are a significant part of the town’s cultural calendar. October 7th always sees the colourful Romería del Virgen del Rosario – a colourful parade of locals in costumes with plenty of dancing, food and drink.

Thanks to the scenery (and many villas having added features like indoor pools and spas), most villas make a perfect winter retreat also.

Being Benahavis, at Christmas, the 3 Kings visit the village by helicopter to give out sweets to the local children, it’s a fun event to take the children.

Where to stay in Benahavis

Benahavis Pueblo has a couple of cute boutique hotels such as the Amanhavis or Casa Ella, but most accommodation tends to be based in luxury apartments and villas. To enjoy Benahavis to the full, a private villa feels like a home away from home. Finca La Buena and Villa Jacques couldn’t be more different, but are two of our favourite villas in this affluent postcode. If you need help searching for the ideal villa for your stay, get in touch with our expert team today.



Lindsay Gregory

Lindsay is the Founder and Curator of The Luxury Villa Collection. With over 22 years experience living and working in Spain, she's constantly in search of the most authentic and original travel experiences, coupled with the best villas, to help you enjoy Spain in style.

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