Arenas lies 44 km from Malaga and 13 km from the coast at Torre del Mar, at an altitude of 416 m. The village is located within the area of the Axarquia on the scenic Mudejar route and has a polulation of 1.400.
In Arenas you will find a few little bars and restaurants, as also a bank (Cajamar) and a few little shops, such as a Panaderia (bakery).
Arenas is situated below the ruins of the Castle Bentomiz which is a Moorish fortress built over a Roman site. The castle played a defensive role during Moorish occupation and was used as a refuge and to fight off a Christian attack in 1483. In 1487 Fernando the Catholic camped near to the village for which reason it became known as Arenas del Rey (Arenas of the King). The castle surrendered to Fernando leading to the fall of Velez-Malaga and the whole of the region on April 27th 1487, despite the efforts of El Zagal the Moorish king of Granada. The castle also played a role in Morisco uprisings during 1569. Castle Bentomiz still has towers, walls and underground chambers.
The usual route to reach the village is to take the A117 out of Velez-Malaga from where the village is just 10 kilometres away. This road winds up to the Bentomiz hill and has splendid panoramic views down to the sea. Halfway along this road at the Venta El Palomar the municipality of Arenas begins.
The Moorish origin of the village itself is evident in the narrow, winding streets. There is an ancient olive mill and a mural made by the prestigious ceramist Virgilio Gonzalez at the village entrance. The centre has typical narrow streets, squares and corners adorned with flowers and potted plants. There are three different areas to the town. The Barrio Alto is an interesting area where craftsmen, ceramists and blacksmiths live. The urban centre is where the better-off residents of the town live, and the area which houses the Town Hall and a square with the 12th century church-mosque of Santa Catalina. The third area is the Barrio Bajo where the more humble workers of the town live. From any point in the village one can see the hill of Bentomiz, with its ancient fortifications. The peak can be reached on mule or on foot, from where the coastline and the Rif mountains of North Africa can be seen.
The parish church of Santa Catalina was built in the 16th century of Mudejar construction on the previous site of a 12th century mosque. The minaret of the mosque remains in perfect condition.
The small village of Daimalos, where excellent quality wines are produced, is close to Arenas. Two 12th century remains are located here: a Moorish fountain and a minaret believed to be the oldest of the Merini period. The parish church, also built over an old mosque, has a single nave and a minaret converted into a bell tower by the Christians. Daimalos village centre is again typically Moorish with low houses on steep and narrow streets, all leading to the church square also built on an incline.
As with other areas of the Axarquia, walking as an activity attracts visitors to Arenas. There are two popular routes, one leading to the base of the Bentomiz hill south of the village and the other towards the Cerro Alto beside the Salares stream.