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!
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.
Outfits worn on my trip:
Have you been to Benidorm before? If you had vowed not to visit, have I now changed your mind?