Benidorm may not offer the most authentic of Spanish cultural experiences or the most peaceful or beautiful of holiday settings, but it does have plenty of character (just not especially Hispanic!), fantastic year-round weather – not many places can guarantee almost 3,000 hours of sunshine a year – and it can be a hell of a lot of fun; given you put any snooty preconceived ideas about the brilliantly bold and sometimes bawdy beach resort aside and just get stuck in.
People of all ages flock to Benidorm in Spain during the summer making the popular seaside resort a bustling, busy place to be, and with so much to do it’s unlikely you’ll be bored. From scuba diving to golf, horse riding to family-friendly water parks, flamenco to food markets, Benidorm is anything but short on entertainment.
A bevvy of beaches
Benidorm is not short of fabulous beaches either, many of which offer fine golden sand, clean sparkling blue waters and an array of appealing places to eat and drink. Various beach and water based activities will keep the whole family happy, in fact, Benidorm is a prime spot for enjoying a wide selection of water sports.
Playa del Levante and the longer Playa del Poniente join beneath Plaza del Castillo to great effect – where the land juts into the bay it looks like the prow of a ship. Levante beach signals the start of a lively promenade, which boasts plenty of facilities and is a popular place throughout the year. Towards the north end, two small coves are a prime spot for diving and a more private and peaceful swimming spot.
Situated south of the port, the stunning Poniente beach is the longest beach in Benidorm and at 3km long is usually quieter than Levante beach. Ideal for families, this beach has plenty of good facilities including a playground, beach library, shaded areas and various games and activities to enjoy. By night, a romantic sunset stroll and sundowner on Poniente beach is bound to be a holiday highlight, and once you’ve worked up a an appetite, there’s a good range of restaurants, bars and clubs to choose from.
You will definitely be catered for in Benidorm if your idea of a perfect start to the day is a slap up full English breakfast with buckets of builder’s tea, equally, if you fancy sampling a local breakfast, you can. El Meson, despite being on Calle Gerona, which is known by locals as ‘British street’, is clinging defiantly to its Spanish roots and serves delicious traditional dishes at great prices.
Proving that Benidrom really isn’t just about greasy spoons and cheap and cheerful chip shops, Rias Baixas is stylish and the place to go for excellent seafood. Plus, although there are plenty of pubs still catering for a good old proper booze up, Benidorm is now home to some swanky gin bars and Balinese chill-out lounges, yes, really.
Hit the sack
Quite like the idea of staying in Europe’s tallest hotel? Then check in at Gran Hotel Bali, a mammoth complex comprising 776 rooms and two restaurants that can cater for up to 1,000 diners. This 4-star hotel stands at 186m high and is conveniently located near La Cala beach, La Malpas beach and Las Rejas Golf Club. It has a big outdoor pool and no doubt pretty good views, although the top floor might not be your best choice if you suffer from vertigo…
More modest both in terms of scale and star quality but a good choice nonetheless, especially if you’re on a budget, La Santa Faz is handily close to Levante and Poniente beaches. Each room is air-conditioned and has a private balcony, there’s a bar and free Wi-fi but no pool and bicycles for hire. La Santa Faz is located in Benidorm’s old town, 50 meters from Elche Park.