Welcome to the Benalmádena Cable Car!!!
We are about to travel uphill for just over one and a half miles, starting from the town centre of Arroyo de la Miel, at about 500 feet above sea level and ending up at 2,500 feet on the summit of Mount Calamorro. The climb takes approximately 15 minutes and we will be travelling at an average speed of about eleven and a half feet per second.
The origins of Arroyo de la Miel date back to 1784 when Félix Solesio bought the plot of land on which the Plaza de España square stands today in order to build a card stock factory. However, it went bankrupt in 1803 and the land was shared out amongst the workers. They built their houses and that’s how the square was created. Then the town began to grow and it became the place we know today. The name of Arroyo de la Miel, which in English translates as Honey Stream, is quaint. Apparently there were a number of streams here in the old days and there was a lot of beekeeping in the area. Hence the name.
We are in the municipality of Benalmádena, which stretches from the southern foothills of the Sierra de Mijas mountain range to the edge of the Mediterranean. One of its peculiarities is that it is made up of three different urban areas which have now practically united as one, as seen from a bird’s eye view. Firstly, by the sea, we have Benalmádena Costa. Then, and we are just travelling over it, we’ve got Arroyo de la Miel and then, if we look over to our left as the cable car moves forward, we will see Benalmádena Pueblo which is characterised by its whitewashed houses, so typical of Andalusian towns. The colour is due to the use of slaked lime to paint their walls, which helps reflect the sun’s rays and keep the temperature inside the houses pleasant during the summer.
We are also going to cross over one of our country’s most important motorways, the A7. It is known as the Mediterranean motorway because it runs all along the Mediterranean coast, from Algeciras to Barcelona.
Once across the motorway we will enter the Calamorro mountain area. Remember: As you go by Tower or Pylon number 11, just after the motorway, play Sound Recording Nº 6.
2. ASCENT TO MOUNT CALAMORRO
After crossing the motorway the scenery changes completely and we go right into the heart of the countryside. Now you will notice the panoramic view becoming much greater. If you look eastwards into the distance, in other words to the right in the direction the cable car is moving, you can distinguish Malaga with its port, Torremolinos and finally, immediately opposite, Benalmádena Costa. On a clear day you can make out the peaks of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. The highest peaks are Veleta, at 11,132 feet and Mulhacén at 11,400 feet. The latter is the highest on the Iberian Peninsula and the second highest in Spain after Mount Teide in the Canary Islands. Standing out to the left of Sierra Nevada we can also see the peak of La Maroma, at 6,785 feet. It is on the border between the provinces of Málaga y Granada, in the heart of Axarquía.
If you look out to the west, in other words to the left of the cable car, you will be able to see the western coastline, from Benalmádena as far as Fuengirola and Mijas Costa. On a clear day you can make out the Rock of Gibraltar and northern Morocco with its Atlas Mountain range which stretch for about 2,400 km.
As you can see, in spite of being on the sea, the province of Málaga is interestingly the most mountainous region in Spain. Don’t worry if you haven’t been able to see everything because you will have another chance to observe the views from a different perspective on our way back.
If you look down you can observe a typical Mediterranean scrubland landscape with protected indigenous species like palmettos, rosemary, thyme, gorse, marjoram or mountain tea plants, many of which are aromatic and used in cooking or as traditional home-made medicinal cures. These plants are interspersed amongst limestone rocks which have strange forms produced by water and wind erosion.
These hills are rich with a wide variety of fauna, especially the huge number of mountain goats which come here to search for water when there are no humans about. If you are lucky you might come across one. We can also find foxes and wild boars, which are growing in number.
We also have a large number of small insect-eating and seed-eating birds, as well as other larger species like the Golden Eagle, or night-time birds of prey like the Little Owl or Eagle Owls. There are reptiles too, like the snub-nosed viper, the ocellated lizard and a variety of wall lizards. It is becoming increasingly difficult to spot chameleons.
We will shortly be reaching the top of Mount Calamorro from where you will get an even wider perspective of the already described views and of other new ones. You can also enjoy the exhibitions of birds of prey in flight and walks along tracks with different panoramic view points. You will find a number of gastronomic stops at the top where you can take a break and recharge your batteries whilst enjoying the visit. As well as all that, during the summer months the Benalmádena Cable Car extends its running hours and includes other activities like equestrian shows and an open air planetarium. Enjoy your stay!!!
3. THE RETURN TRIP
Welcome aboard again. We hope you have really enjoyed your time in the heart of the countryside. As you have seen this is an area which is full of contrasts. The convergence of the sea and the mountains in such a small area gives the zone a very unique character. You now have the chance to see some wide panoramic views of the scenery we have around us.
Apart from the geography around us what most characterises this area is the variety of plant species. They have all adapted themselves to lengthy spells of drought and continuous exposure to the sun. In general their leaves are small, in an effort to reduce excessive transpiration and with it a loss of water. This is the opposite of what happens to vegetation in regions with plenty of rainfall, where the leaves are big and where the loss of water is not a problem. In a similar way the roots dig deep into the soil in search of the humidity underground.
One of the most interesting of plants is the palmetto, which is one of Europe’s indigenous species and one of the most characteristic of Mediterranean plants. They sometimes form vast, impenetrable palm clumps. On other occasions they can be seen more spread out in areas where there has been more soil erosion and where there is less vegetation, as in our case. They are not usually more than six and a half feet high and their insides are used in food, especially in salads.
Another interesting plant to be found here is the juniper. It is also an indigenous European species which has been very useful to man since years gone by, from the wood industry to the production of diuretic potions, as well as for distilling and the production of alcoholic drinks. It adapts very well to limey soils on sunny, open and dry terrain where there is scarce vegetation. But the juniper is best known for its cones which constitute one of gin’s main ingredients, giving it flavour and aroma.
You will have noticed how few trees there. This is because the holly oak and carob tree woods were cut down towards the end of the 19th century to produce the charcoal required at the time by Malaga’s industries. There are still some scattered examples of holly oaks, kermes oaks, gall-oaks and cork oaks, all of which belong to the Quercus species. Most of the trees we see today are the result of reforestation and in particular the Aleppo pines because it is the species which best tolerates the dry climate and terrain which is poor in nutrients.
Man has lived in these parts since prehistoric times because of the warm climate. There is evidence of this in a number of caves, the best-known of which is Cueva del Toro, the bull’s cave, which gets its name from the shape of one of the stones to be found inside. They have found stone-age cave paintings, cooking utensils and other tools inside this cave. It is currently closed to the public.
Romans and Phoenicians also frequently visited the region, settling here and developing fish-salting industries. Remember: As you go past tower or pylon number 15, play Sound recording Nº 8.
4. ARRIVAL AT ARROYO DE LA MIEL
As we move forward, if you look out to the right from the cable car you will be able to get an ample view of the western part of Costa del Sol, from Fuengirola with its marina as far as Mijas. Then, in the distance, if the day is clear enough, we might be able to spot the Rock of Gibraltar and the African Coast with the Atlas Mountain range.
In the foreground you can observe Benalmádena Pueblo where you can make out the Buddhist Temple in the distance. Can you see it?
Once we cross over the motorway again we will be entering the town centre of Arroyo de la Miel. Benalmádena has grown tremendously as a result of the massive development of the Costa del Sol’s tourism industry.
May we remind you that close by to the Cable Car station you can find the Selwo Marina Dolphinarium. It is the only dolphinarium and ice penguinarium to be found in Andalucia, and is home to other species you can enjoy seeing at close range.
We hope you have enjoyed your visit to the BENALMÁDENA CABLE CAR and hope you will come again.
SEE YOU SOON!!!
Bluehertz Audio guides has developed for Benalmadena Cable Car an audio guide service avaliable in Spanish, English, French, German and Rusian languages.
Benalmadena Cable Car: Explanada del Tívoli, s/n. 29630 Benalmádena (Málaga). Salida 222 Benalmádena-Arroyo de la Miel, Autovía de la Costa del Sol.
- Tel.: + 34 - 952 57 50 38 - www.telefericobenalmadena.com -
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