Things to See and Do in Benidorm
Benidorm has many attractions.Nestled between mountain ranges on three sides, and the Mediterranean Sea on the other, Benidorm was a sleepy fishing village up until the 1970s, when the first of the British Tour Packages abroad came into being, and tourists flocked in their thousands. Warmed year round by a micro-climate with lengths of golden sandy beaches, Benidorm soon became a favourite haunt of the European holidaymaker
Benidorm is effectively split into 2 parts - there is the old town and the new town. The majority of British holidaymakers choose the new town to holiday in, being as it is choc full of British bars. Benidorm has more bars per square metre than any other town in the whole of Spain.
Benidorm has two main beaches - the Levante (meaning sunrise) and the Poniente (sunset) and Mal Pas, a small secluded beach at the promontory between the old town and the new town. North of the Levante Beach there is also a nudist beach.
Blessed with 3,400 hours of sunshine throughout the year, and an annual temperature average of 18 C, Benidorm's resident population of 65,000 swells to 10 times that amount in summer as tourists flock to the coast.
Benidorm was built on tourism, and its infrastructure is fantastic. In addition to having excellent hotels and apartments, its beaches have all been awarded European Blue Flag cleanliness awards. Life guards are on duty for safety on the beaches, and Benidorm has gone out of its way to make the tourist feel welcome.
To this end, the beaches are all supplied with fresh water to wash off unwanted sand, wooden-board pathways to navigate your way back on to the promenade when you want leave the beach, and beach libraries for leisure reading.
A permanent structure has been built in the sea for water skiers, and loads of sea sports from paragliding to boating are available. Leisure boats spend the summer taking tourists out on cruises.
Terra Mitica is Europe's biggest and most exciting theme park. Different areas of the park have different themes
- Mediterranean Islands
each featuring different fun rides and water sports. You can buy a one day pass, but it is strongly recommended you buy a two day pass because it will take you that long to get round everything.
The park also has its own restaurants and fast food outlets.
There is something for all the family at Terra Mitica. Expect your child to get their height measured on entry, as many rides are not suitable for short people. This may be a bit disappointing for the in-betweenies, but rest assured there will be plenty of other activities that child can take part in.
Another fantastic theme park next door to Terra Mitica, this time featuring many animals normally only seen in a zoo. The clever design of the park allows you to get really close the animals without ever being in any danger from them.
Like Terra Mitica, Terra Natura is themed, this time by continent. Each continent features dress, animals and food native to that region.
In each sector there are shows and rides, as well as a water park area to cool off in the heat of the sun. The restaurants offer traditional food from the region.
Only at Terra Natura are you offered the opportunity to swim with baby sharks, or take a train ride round the extensive grounds.
A great day out for all the family.
This is another of Benidorm's many attractions, and one not to be missed. Translating as sea world, Mundomar has something for all the family. Featuring sea-lion and dolphin shows, dancing parrots, penguins, an underwater aquarium where the dolphins can be watched up close. Also featuring giant turtles and a children's play park.
Entry tickets last all day and there are plenty cafe bars/restaurants with the grounds to help see you through the day.
As the name suggests, Aqualandia is a water theme park with entertainment and fun for all the family. Featuring lots of different water slides, swimming pools and restaurants, it is a great day out for everyone. From the serious thrill-seeker, to those who just want a relaxing day out, Aqualandia has something for everyone.
They also provided many shaded areas, sunbeds, TV, free parking and daily sea-lion shows. They even offer the opportunity to swim with the sea-lions.
It seems to have had a name change in recent years and has now changed from Peacock Island to plain Benidorm Island
Situated 2 nautical miles off the coast from Benidorm and unpopulated, it is a popular stop-off point for the tourist boats where visitors can embark on a glass-bottomed submarine to see the abundance of sea life around the island.
The island is a haven for seabirds as well as lizards and falcons.
Legend has it that the giant Roldan, son of Princess Berta, kicked a chunk out of the nearby Puig Campana mountain and the resultant rock formed Benidorm Island. Some say it was done in temper, while others lean towards the romantic notion that Roldan kicked the gap in the rock to try to delay the setting sun, after being told that his beloved wife would die at sundown.
You may get the opportunity when visiting Benidorm for a day trip to Guadalest. If you get the chance, please go - you won't regret it. However it is very close to Benidorm and you could hire a car and head up there.
Nestled in the mountains, Guadalest is an old castle built on top of a natural rock that rises out of the mountain from the valley bedrock. Impressive to see, with fantastic views. Climb up to the top and visit one of the many little cafes with whitewashed walls and relax in the glorious sunshine, or wander round the little tourist shops for a gift to take home with you.
I believe for a small fee you can see around what is left of the castle.
Benidorm is not any different to any other tourist town. Someone is always waiting to rip you off. If you need to exchange money/travellers cheques, Sheila’s in the Indoor Market is a safe bet, as are Eurochange ( a chain of shops going by that name). As there are a load of other exchange shops dotted around, some good, some nothing less than thieving gits, it is my advice that you ask at the nearest British Bar if they are good or not. Don’t ask the Spanish – they probably own it.
I used to run a bar next to a really bad exchange place. I got to know the staff in it – they were really nice people, but they were under strict instructions to cheat the holidaymakers, and their every move was recorded. It was a sack-able offence for them to tell the truth.
The staff kept changing. Most didn’t have the stomach for the job.
Folk used to come in to me, after they had changed money, fuming at the ears because they felt cheated.
If only they’d come in to me first, I’d have enlightened them.
Sometimes there was as much as a 20p in the £ variation, and that’s a lot of money to a lot of folk. British tourists to Benidorm tend to be working-class. People who have saved all year for this one vacation.
Benidorm council are trying to attract a different type of visitor, the holidaymaker with money. Good luck to them for trying, but people with money are going to go to places much more private and upmarket than Benidorm with its proliferation of closely built high-rise blocks.
I was once shown round a really posh attic apartment in Benidorm. Being at the top of a 20 storey tower block, with massive space, expensive furniture and beautiful full-height glassed in views of the sea with its own private open air balcony, you could shut your eyes and imagine you’d actually died and gone to Heaven it was so un-Benidorm-like.
Having said that, any apartment in Benidorm kitted out with new furniture looks fantastic. If you don’t have sea views, you’ll have pool views, and everywhere in Benidorm are the most beautifully-shaped swimming pools surrounded by the most lush and vegetative gardens.
Apartment design is practical and spacious. As well as all bedrooms being either twin or double, there is usually a bed-settee in the larger than average lounges, which may or may not double up as dining rooms.
Many apartments have glassed in their terraces, effectively giving you yet another room to live in.
My only bug-bear with Benidorm apartments in general is the size of the kitchens.
I’m sure nearly all the apartments were built with tourists in mind, but they forgot that some people choose to live there all the year round, and a 2 ring cooker is not a lot of use for anyone. Many apartments have 2 rings (either gas or electric), some have 3, but precious few have the normal 4, and trust me it is hard to cook for a family using only 2 rings. Think about it, the potatoes in one pot, the veg in another, and....em...how do I cook the meat?
The Spanish are adept at one pot cooking. Perhaps that stemmed from times when the family couldn’t afford to use more than one heat source for cooking, I don’t know.
Paella for example. One ring.
Whilst you can hire a car at Alicante airport when you arrive in the Costa Blanca, Benidorm also has several car hire companies who will happily hire you a car should you need one. It is a good idea to rent a car just to drive out into the countryside to see a bit of Spain while you are here. Like in the US, the Spanish drive on the right hand side of the road.
Many of the smaller villages surrounding Benidorm are typical Spanish sleepy towns, with roadside cafe/bars/restaurants just waiting for your arrival.
In the countryside, look out for the local produce for which Spain is famous, it's fields of citrus groves, grapes, tomatoes and nisperos to name a few.
Market days in Benidorm are Wednesdays and Sundays. It's worth going along just to savour the atmosphere, but the stalls seem to sell the same tat as most of the touristy shops, but at higher prices. If you do go along to the market, grab yourself a bargain at some of the fruit and veg stalls that sell the most delicious home grown produce at a fantastic price.
If you drive, avoid the market area on these days as the traffic can be pretty horrendous.
If you fancy a gamble on the tables there is a casino just off the N332 between Benidorm and Villajoyosa. Also offered at the casino are gala dinners with live entertainment.
A top nightspot that at least once during your visit you should book to go to. They offer a full gala dinner with a spectacular show featuring dancing girls and top artistes. It is recommended you book in advance to avoid disappointment.
In Case of Emergency
Benidorm has many well equipped medical centres within reach of visitors, and their medical staff are excellent at dealing with any eventuality.
Benidorm's pharmacies can advise you on most of the less serious conditions.As well as being well-stocked in medications, there is one 24 hour pharmacy in Benidorm for all your paharmaceutical needs out of hours.
Spanish pharmacists are highly trained specialists, and when it comes to medications and conditions, they are more knowledgeable than most doctors, and at the present time many medications can be bought over the counter that you may have needed a docor's presciption for in your own country. For example, antibiotics, antihistamines and asthma inhalers can be bought, and usually at cheap prices.
If you want to read more about Benidorm's nightlife, I suggest you read The Attraction of Benidorm - Why People Return Again and Again.
If you fancy moving to Spain, I know of a bar business for sale in Benidorm. It's a single locale situated in the centre of Benidorm, smack bang between the Old and New Town - a few minute's walk takes you to either.
With a total of 48 covers including those on the open air terrace which is sunny and ideal for smokers (smoking is no longer permitted in bars in Spain), this would make a great starter bar for those wishing to try a new way of life.
The business is currently closed but fully licensed and so may be opened again at a moment's notice. The current owners would be happy to accept only €9,000 for the traspasso and the monthly rent is in the region of €500 per month.
For further details contact Duncan or Sue on 0034 678982028 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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