Europe Travel

Travel || My Alternative Guide to Benidorm, Spain

Benidorm has such a bad reputation that I would have lumped it in with places like Magaluf and Ibiza as places that I never particularly wanted to visit. The Benidorm TV series is to blame for a lot of the bad pre-conceptions. And I’m here today to say, hand over heart, that I was absolutely wrong. Yes, there is that tacky, extremely drunk lads on holiday, messy hen-do side to the city, but in reality it’s isolated to a small area and it’s easy to have an amazing time in the Spanish sun and steer clear of that all. 

In full disclosure, I did see a lot of icky “lad” behaviour and countless “Ladies on Tour” shirts, but some of the worst behaviour that I saw during the entire duration of my time in Spain was on the plane ride over to Alicante. The main “English” going out street is the Neon street and Playa de Levante, so avoid those two areas and you’re pretty set!

My Alternative Guide to Benidorm


Food in Benidorm was so exciting that it absolutely merits its own post. There are some real fine dining options in town, not to mention a plethora of incredible tapas options and more tasty sangria to go around than ever needed. 

On our last night in Benidorm, we ended the trip with a visit to the rooftop cocktail bar on the top of the Hotel Madeira Centro, and I would definitely recommend it! 


When you go to a place like Benidorm, you are usually going for a bit of sun and to escape the gloom of places like the North of England. My insider tip would be to go to Poniente beach and skip Playa de Levante. Poniente is the “local” beach and whilst it can still get busy, it’s a bit further away from the normal lad-party tourist crowds. 

We took part in a host of alternative activities; from jeep tours to jet skiing to riding electric bikes and I can’t wait to share the details of all of those adventures with you in a separate post. 

Make sure you head over to the Old Town in Benidorm. The Old Town is super picturesque and you can’t skip visiting the balcon de Mediterraneo, which is an insanely beautiful blue-tiled plaza that doubles as a viewing point into the Mediterranean Sea, and was also voted as one of the top 10 most beautiful viewing spots in all of Spain. 

Head out to the national park of Sierra Helada and see the Cross of Benidorm. The landscape in Sierra Helada is stunningly beautiful; a combination of arid mountainous surrounds and beautiful blue sea. The history of the Cross of Benidorm is fascinating. During the Franco era, wearing a bikini was banned in Spain so the then mayor of Benidorm went and lobbied General Franco to allow the bikini to be worn in Benidorm to help keep the tourism industry alive. The Catholic Church then threatened to ostracise and excommunicate the area for allowing such an indecent article of clothing, so local monks erected the cross to prove that there was still a spiritual heart in Benidorm, even if the bikini could be seen on the beach. (A big thank you to our wonderful VisitBenidorm guide, Sergio, for that story.) 

We stayed in an adults-only, all inclusive hotel called Sandos Monaco. The hotel itself was lovely and very spacious. It’s about a 2 minute walk to the beach and the hotel also has a pool and a spa. 

If you’re looking to spend a bit more money and you don’t mind being away from the beach and city, we got to hear all about Vivood, a luxury glamping hotel, in Guadalest. It has definitely made it on to my bucket list! Guadalest was one of the most picturesque little villages that I’ve ever visited. I’ll be blogging more about it later, but if you have the chance to visit, you must! 

Getting there: 

The nearest airport is in Alicante. Most hotels offer some sort of airport transfer with your booking, and it’s probably more reasonably priced (and more convenient) than trying to rent a car or book a taxi.

My hotel balcony view.

Outfits worn on my trip: 

Here’s a big thank you to all the girls who made the trip so lovely; the phenomenal vloggers Charlotte and Brogan, the beautiful Jordan and the hilarious Dannielle

And thank you to IceLolly and VisitBenidorm. I was there as their guest but all my opinions are solely my own. They showed us such a phenomenal time that I couldn’t recommend them more highly! 

Have you been to Benidorm before? If you had vowed not to visit, have I now changed your mind? 

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  • I don’t really do beach holidays abroad since I actually live by the seaside:) I guess I’d be interested in the Old town:)

    • Haha even though we aren’t that far from the seafront, English beaches are not usually the relaxing, sunny, ideal that they are abroad. I jut love them because I need more sun in my life usually! (Though this week England has been blessed with some insanely good weather this week! Long may it continue!) x

  • You’re right, it’s not somewhere I’ve ever wanted to visit before, but then as a child we visited Ibiza lots of times as a friend had a villa there, and I’ve never even noticed the party side of the island, we always used to have idyllic sunny beautifully Spanish seaside holidays! Plus, the activities, food and company of all the girls you went with just sounds fantastic! You luck things having a short break away in the sun!! Alice xxx

    • I think Ibiza is even mor rod a part Town than Benidorm so if you can avoid it there, you can see how easily you can avoid it here! It’s really beautiful and I totally recommend it next time you’re in that part of the world. I was blessed with the best company for this trip! X

  • Great post, Amanda! John’s mom has a place near Alicante and we haven’t been out there yet, but this post is making me want to check plane tickets now!

    • Alicante is so close! It was about a 45 minute drive, and our VisitBenidorm guide lived in Alicante and commuted in every day so I’d imagine that it looks really similar around John’s mom’s place. Book tickets, for sure! I heard that it’s less busy in July and August because it’s almost too hot for UK tourists! X

  • Kourtney Reece

    I’m like you. My main turn off for places like Ibiza and Marbella is because of its reputation as a party town with a lot of drunk people running around and that doesn’t strike an interest in me. But after seeing your post I kind of want to visit and experience it for myself because everyone has different opinions about things. And it’s Spain who wouldn’t love Spain.

    • Totally! It was way more Spanish than I expected. I honestly thought it was just going to be packed with drunken British guys acting awfully. And they are definitely there but it was easier to avoid than I thought. In fact, I’d go back in a heartbeat now! x

  • Laura Torninoja

    This trip looked fantastic – it looked like you had so much fun! I love that blue tiled viewing platform, and the colour of that sea is just insanely beautiful. This is making me want to go for a beach holiday now – I need more annual leave! x

    Laura // Middle of Adventure

  • Yay so glad you had a good time! I loved all the snaps. I found the same with the Canary Islands, my assumptions were totally wrong. I actually really want to go to Ibiza this year as I’ve heard it’s lovely too off the strip!

    • I’ve been really close minded against Ibiza, but after my Benidorm experience, I’d be totally willing to book an Ibiza holiday now! x

  • I still think my reservations would be too set. Though your photos are awesome, and I have heard others echo your views that it is just certain areas! I think maybe there’s just other places I’d rather hit first!

    • That’s totally fair! Other girls on the trip said that it reminded them a lot of Santorini without the sticker shock so it’s a good affordable alternative to other Mediterranean travel, though. (The infamous area is about 3 streets. The English “neon” streets- I did walk down there at night just to see what it was like and to see the contrast and that area was indeed awful, but the city has done well to keep it isolated.) x

  • I had no idea of the Benidorm stereotypes… blame the expat thing lol so thought it looked stunning from the outset! Looks like you ladies had the most amazing time!

    • I’m glad that I knew about them only to be blown away by it! Though I did walk down the infamous English neon street a) so that I could say that I’ve seen it and to b) see the contrast! X

  • I adored following along with all of your fun on Instagram! You have converted me 🙂

  • Like I said on Instagram, you’ve absolutely changed my mind. A friend and I have bookmarked Icelolly Holidays and are planning on taking a trip!

    • As long as you skip Playa de Levante and the neon “English” streets you should manage to miss it all. Poniente beach was so much quieter if you need to get some beachy vibes in. I have a food guide coming up soon with some restaurant guidance 😉 xx

  • It looks incredibly beautiful, and it’s great to hear that the party side is easily avoided. It was great to follow along with your Insta stories too! xx

    • I’m totally embarrassed to admit that I didn’t think there was anything here besides the party scene before I went/ I was so glad to be wrong! X

      • I definitely wouldn’t have thought there was as all you ever hear about is the party side of things, the same with Ibiza. But then I guess people live there all year round so there must be more to it! xx

        • It definitely made me think that maybe I should go to Ibiza and find its “alternative” side too! Though I don’t think anything would convince me to go to Magaluf! X