Benidorm - So Much More than a TV Show Stereotype
Benidorm The TV Show
The TV Series Benidorm now in its fifth season is a British comedy drama that is set in an all-inclusive hotel in Benidorm called the Solana.
The show was slow to take off but gained in popularity and now in its fifth season the length of each episode has been extended from the original thirty minutes to one hour.
The show exploits working class stereotypes of a group of holidaymakers staying in the all-inclusive hotel on their holiday.
These holidaymakers seldom leave the hotel preferring to stay in the hotel where all their food and drinks are free.
Benidorm is a very funny series which many people enjoy watching including me.
However, if your idea of Benidorm is based only the type of experiences that you see these characters enjoying in this show then you will have a very narrow and unrealistic idea of what Benidorm is really like.
The video below is an episode of Benidorm from the first series to give you a feel for the type of things I mean.
An Episode of the Comedy - Benidorm
Before I came to live in Spain I must admit that I had a very negative perception of what Benidorm was like, based only on stereotypes such as those in the show and misinformation.
For me the name Benidorm conjured up images of drunken Hen and Stag nights, crowds of lager lout lads and lasses doing things they would never be seen doing back in the UK, lots and lots of rowdy drunken and vulgar behaviour and bad language.
All of the above bad behaviour I am ashamed to admit I associated with my fellow Brits on holiday and not with the Spanish.
Because of this false and negative perception that I had, I had no desire to visit this resort at all.
A Visit to Benidorm Changed My Mind
However, since visiting Benidorm I have completely changed my mind about this beautiful coastal resort.
Of course, some of those things do go on but no more so than in any other seaside resort and so Benidorm does not deserve its negative image.
What I found when I actually visited Benidorm was a wonderful resort with a lot to offer visitors of any age group.
Enjoying the January Sunshine
Benidorm is a Spanish resort on the Costa Blanca and has mountains surrounding it on three sides.
The mountains are a barrier that are responsible for the wonderful mini climate that Benidorm enjoys, a mini climate that is ideal for any beach resort.
In the photograph to the side you can see the mountains curving around Benidorm and providing a hedge that protects Benidorm.
Benidorm with the protection that the mountains give it has roughly 335 days of sunshine, sometimes even more, out of the 365 days in the year.
Even in the wintertime when it does get cold once the sun goes down it is usual for the daytime temperatures to be in the early seventies.
I have seen holidaymakers on the beach on Christmas Day some even swimming in the sea.
Benidorm has three main beaches known as Playas the Playa de Poniente, the Playa de Llevante and the Playa del Mal Pas.
Each of these beaches holds the prestige’s Blue Flag Award that is the highest rating awarded inEurope.
Benidorm’s beaches are among the finest inEurope and enjoyed by thousands of holidaymakers each day.
Playa de Llevante
Playa del Mal Pas
Looking down from the area near the Placa Del Castell you will see the smallest of Benidorm's three beaches the Playa del Mal Pas.
This beach is much smaller than the other two beaches and being like a small cove it is shielded from the breeze unless it comes in off the sea.
This beach has had its blue flag since 1987. If you want a little peace and quite then this is the beach for you. The beach is close to the port and it is situated in front of the old town.
Plaça del Castell
Playa del Mal Pas
Playa de Poniente
This is a large beach but it tends to be less populated than the Llevante. This beach is popular with the Spanish, and with people who actually live and work in Benidorm.
It is quite common to see local Spanish family groups enjoying picnics on this beach alongside the holidaymakers, and at least one local church uses this beach for its Baptisms.
These photographs were taken in the early evening in July, it was still very warm and people were still enjoying swimming in the sea.
Playa de Poniente
Many British tourists never get much further than the part of Benidorm referred to locally as BritTown.
It is here where the majority of package tour hotels are situated and along the route down to the beach from these hotels, you will find all manner of British owned bars, cafes and shops that make Benidorm feel like a home away from home.
Route down to the beach
If you do not speak Spanish and don’t like to try the local dishes then Brit town is ideal for you.
Places like the Yorkshire Pride do excellent meals very cheaply and you can watch British telly on large plasma screen TVs while you are eating your meal.
It is possible to have a great holiday without being able to speak one word of Spanish and to go out and enjoy all manner of clubs and nightspots where the language spoken is English.
Benidorm caters perfectly for people who want the sunshine that Spain offers but also want the security of familiar food and places around them.
In Brit town, you will hear more people speaking in English than you will in Spanish. On the LlevanteBeach, at the Brit town end, you will find yourself surrounded by many British holidaymakers enjoying themselves.
Come to Benidorm
I hope that you have enjoyed seeing just a small portion of what Benidorm has to offer come and see for yourself you won’t be disappointed.
If you have come to Benidorm and want to try out your Spanish or to try the local dishes then you will not be disappointed.
The old town part of Benidorm which is the part of town situated behind the Plaça del Castel the promontory that juts out between the Poniente and Llevante beaches has a much more Spanish feel than Brit town.
In the OldTown, you are in touch with Spain and its traditions, for example on the day that the children take their first communion they parade through the old town dressed in all their finery.
Spain is a predominantly Catholic country and nearly all its great fiestas have some connection to the church.
Benidorm has many fiesta days which are not put on as a tourist attraction, though they are, but they are a part of Spanish everyday life.
One of the fiestas you might get to see is the Fallas Fiesta.
If you are one of those people who gets bored staying in one place then Benidorm makes an ideal base for you.
Benidorm is only 25 minutes from the Alicante airport, it is surrounded by beautiful seaside resorts only a short drive away, such as Calpe, Villajoyosa, Albir, Altea, Moraira, Denia and Alicante all of which have their own charms.
Even if you do not have your own transport you can get to these places by using public transport which is cheap, reliable, and fast.
All of the above can be reached by the brand new Tram system that goes from Alicante to Denia.
One of The New Trams
There is also a very good public bus service that will take you cheaply to just about anywhere you would like to go in the area.
Many tourists use taxis but in reality many places can be reached much more cheaply by public transport and your can get the information that you need from either the bus or tram stations or from the tourist information centres.
There are also many towns and villages inland that are interesting tourist favourites, for example just a short drive away is Guadalest.
Guadalest is a very picturesque mountain village that draws visitors from all over the world.
Economic Climate makes Benidorm a Good Deal
For the holiday maker there has never been a better time to visit Benidorm, the recession has hit Spain and the Euro has weakened against most major currencies so the dollar or pound etc., will now buy you more.
Because money is in short supply, competition is fierce which is not good if you are the business owner but if you are a tourist then you will be amazed at the prices of food and drink in the local bars and restaurants.
Everyone is vying for your trade and so they have cut their prices to the bone in order to get an edge in the market place.
If your taste in food is for traditional English then The Yorkshire Pride does a great Sunday lunch for 6.95 euros, which is under $9 USA or £5.60.
Most of the meals at the Yorkshire Pride are around this price and they come normally with a choice of vegetables.
The standard meal portion is enough to feed two people and unlike many pub type meals these meals tasted like they have just been cooked to order and the standard is excellent.
I have enjoyed many a meal in this place including one year a Christmas dinner on Christmas day. The meal was a ridiculously low price at around the 15-euro mark when everyone else was charging around 50 euros. Even Christmas day you could still choose a meal from the ordinary menu at the normal price.
If you want to try out local style food then you cannot beat Benidorm’s old town that has many traditional style tapas bars and the quality is top notch.
The atmosphere in most of these bars is very Spanish and they serve a wide range of traditional Spanish tapas.
Nightlife and Entertainment
What ever your taste there is something here in Benidorm for you, there are Show bars, sports bars, Karaoke bars. Irish bars, Gay bars, most of which serve food and drink through-out the day.
The Benidorm Palace is very popular with tourists and the shows feature well known artists. Benidorm is teeming with places just designed for your enjoyment and entertainment.
If you want a theme park then you have come to the right resort Benidorm has a fist full of Theme Parks.
- Terra Mitica has lots of exciting rides
- Aqualandia is a fun packed water park
- Mundoma gets rave reviews for its dolphin show
- Terra Natura has its exotic animals
I have not gone into detail as each of these has its own website and they lay out their own stall much better than I could.
If you want to save yourself a lot of money then get your tickets online, by buying online you will get a much better deal than buying tickets at the gate.
Also if you buy online you get to see all the current offers and some times you can buy a joint ticket for more than one of the parks.