Of Benidorm’s beaches Playa Levante is far more popular than Playa Poniente with north Europeans as that’s where the majority of bars and restaurants are found. Playa Poniente tends to attract elderly Spanish crowds and families looking for a quiet time and isn’t the beach of choice for the majority of foreign visitors. A striking feature of the first stretch of Playa Levante as you begin the 2km walk from the old town to Rincón de Loix at the furthest point of the beach is the number of stylish bars and cafés. Certainly nothing like the tacky places you might be expecting.
There are some fine Spanish restaurants with splendid sea views such as Restaurante Rias Baixas, a fine Galician restauarant serving up typical seafood dishes from northwestern Spain as well as local meat specialities from that area. You’ll also find bargain drinks bars next to McDonalds plenty of two for the price of one bargains. Take your pick as you stroll along this stretch as there’s no shortage of bars to choose from including La Cerveceria and the Guinness Bar.
The walk along the front is very pleasant thanks to the promenade which is almost traffic free along the whole distance of Playa Levante. It’s noticeable the number of people in wheelchairs who are attracted by Benidorm’s long, flat promenade in selecting their holiday destination.
The bars which make up this first stretch of Levante beach soon filter out and are mainly replaced by small hotels, apartments, cafés and gift shops. The few bars you come across tend to have Dutch or Scandinavian owners but most establishments are Spanish owned.
The beach itself is fabulous with beautiful, golden sand and crystal clear waters. Every night around 10pm Benidorm council’s beach cleaners start work. They collect every piece of litter and every cigarette butt, rake the sand then large sand ploughing machines go over every metre of the the beach so it is in absolutely pristine condition the next morning.
There cannot be a cleaner beach in Europe and their efforts have earned both Playa Levante and Playa Poniente the EU blue flag award which only goes to beaches which are spotlessly clean, safe, well managed and which have seawater quality of the highest standard.
There are sunbeds for rent throughout the length of the beach and various novelties such as the fantastic sand sculptures which seem to get larger and more intrinsic every summer. The one of Jesus celebrating the Last Supper is amazing. Spare a few coins for these true artists.
Another interesting spot is the Biblioplaya, a library actually on the sand which tends to mainly attract retired people to the shade where they can have a read or play a game of chess. There are regular play areas for children with elaborate climbing frames.
As we approach the far end of Levante more foreign pubs start to appear. La Amsteleria is a great Dutch joint (pardon the pun) where you have a beer pump at your table and serve your self. The meter on the pump tells the waiter how much you’ve drunk when you ask for the bill.
Bar Sol is a friendly British one with a great terrace serving up some fine pub grub type food or if you’re watching your figure try one of their huge salads. If you’re actively looking for some trashy Brit pubs just go back a row or two from the beach around here and you’ll find lager at a Euro a pint and adverts for East Enders and Corrie!
Just opposite the McDonalds (yes, another one) there’s a wacky range of beach sea activities available including the banana ride, rafting and the ever popular cable ski. Most of these are open from about May to October from approx. 10/11am till 7pm.
For something more laid back you can book a boat trip along the coast to Calpe or out to Benidorm Island.