Benidorm might not be everybody’s cup of tea but if you’re looking for all the attractions of a large scale resort then go there as there are none better. Five million visitors can’t be wrong. It’s a common myth that Benidorm is nothing but a load of British pubs attracting thousands of rowdy lager louts. Not true. Benidorm attracts visitors from all over Europe and is an extremely family orientated resort with something for everyone. In fact the most common language you’ll hear as you wander the streets is Spanish as the resort caters well for its own people.
Tourism dates back to the early 1960s when Benidorm was no more than a small fishing port centred on a domed church next to Plaza del Castillo. Today Plaza del Castillo is called Placa del Castell thanks to the growth of the Valencian language but the same old church remains on its rocky peninsula surrounded by an unbelievable number of hotels, apartment blocks, bars and restaurants that a visitor could be forgiven for believing they were in Las Vegas rather than on the coast of Spain. The tallest building is the Gran Hotel Bali at 186 metres.
When to Visit Benidorm
Protected by the Sierra Helada mountains the Benidorm climate is mild and sunny all year round. Winter daytime temperatures seldom fall below 10ºC and can in fact be high enough for sunbathing. At the height of summer in July and August average temperatures are around 30ºC but these can reach 40ºC in the middle of the afternoon. It also tends to be quite humid in the summer months.
There is not much rainfall but what there is generally falls during the winter months. Fortunately even when it does rain you know that the sun is never far way. In the summer you would be very unlucky to experience more than a few drops of rain.
The weather in Benidorm means that you can really enjoy the outdoor life both in summer and winter whether it is strolling along the promenade on Levante Beach, exploring the streets of the old town, visiting one of the Benidorm Theme Parks, sunbathing or even playing golf on one of the Costa Blanca golf courses.
Festivals in Benidorm
A very popular week outside the main tourist season is during the Benidorm Fiestas in November when residents and holidaymakers get together for an enormous party which attracts many visitors year after year.
Getting to Benidorm
The vast majority of holidaymakers heading for Benidorm land at Alicante Airport which lies just 60km away from the resort. On arrival you’ll find no shortage of taxis waiting outside the airport terminal but these are rarely the best value option when it comes to transferring to Benidorm or other resorts along the Costa Blanca. Here are your alternatives:
Alicante Airport Bus
There is an airport bus from the airport to Benidorm which leaves Alicante airport every hour on the hour from 8am until 5pm and then every two hours until 11pm. The bus departs from outside the arrivals terminal and you pay as you get on the bus at the airport. Just look for the “Benidorm Bus” sign as you walk out of arrivals.
For the return journey this same airport bus departs from Avda. Europa in Benidorm on the hour every hour from 7am until 4pm and then every two hours until 10pm. You should pay for this service in the office in Benidorm. It’s not a bad idea to buy your return ticket as you arrive in Benidorm as the bus gets very busy.To be sure of the latest timetables and prices check the Alsa website.
This is far from an ideal option as the bus is generally packed and is extremely inconvenient if carrying more than hand luggage or if you’re travelling with children. The arrival point in Benidorm is also likely to be a long way from where you’re staying.
Shuttle Transfers to Benidorm
Without a doubt the most convenient option is to pre-book a shuttle transfer from Alicante Airport to Benidorm. Prices are very reasonable and you’ll be taken to the door of your accommodation. Shared shuttle transfers are the cheapest option but private transfers can also be arranged.
Alicante Airport Taxis
There are taxis at Alicante airport which can carry up to four people. There is a fixed rate to Benidorm, however, some drivers will start their meter early which is likely to increase the price. So you must confirm the price with the driver before departing and make sure that he’s not going to add on an airport supplement and a baggage supplement for each case you’re carrying.
Alicante Airport Car Hire
Many arrivals in Alicante choose to rent a car to provide not only return transfers to Benidorm but also give you the ability to get out and about during your stay.
Trains to Benidorm
Please note that there are no trains operating directly from the airport. If you don’t mind heading into the city of Alicante you can get the L-1 TRAM service which runs up and down the coast as far as Dénia. Having made your way into Alicante the journey to Benidorm then takes around 70 minutes. Clearly not the most convenient option!
Alicante airport is the closest to Benidorm, however, with the number of cheap flights serving Spain these days it might be worth your while checking out Valencia and Murcia in case there are better deals available.
|Airport||Distance to Benidorm||Transfer Time|
|Murcia||140km||1 hour 30 mins|
|Valencia||158km||1 hour 30 mins|
Where to Stay in Benidorm
With around 5 million annual visitors there’s a vast selection of places to stay in Benidorm. In fact Benidorm is 3rd to London and Paris in terms of number of beds on offer in the whole of Europe. Whilst many tourists book package holidays to one of the many hotels in the resort there are plenty people who prefer to take the self-catering option. No matter which type of accommodation you decide to go for you should bear in mind that the Playa Levante area is where most of the bars and restaurants are while the Playa Poniente area is where many Spaniards and families tend to stay.
Hotels in Benidorm
Finding out where your hotel in Benidorm is located is fairly straightforward by simply finding the old church of San Jaime. This is an ideal spot from which to describe the geography of the resort as it is the heart of the old town which splitsBenidorm into two parts:
- Playa Levante: To the north is Playa Levante, a 2km long beach of golden sand with restricted traffic access along the promenade and the livelier of the resort’s two main beaches.
- Playa Poniente: To the south is Playa Poniente which is 3km in length, also has golden sand but is narrower with far fewer hotels and a road separating them from the beach.
Recommended 4-Star Hotels
Don Pancho Hotel
This elegant hotel is located 100 metres from the Levante beach. It has 7 luxurious suites and both these and the double rooms have fully equipped bathrooms with hair dryer and balconies with views of the pool and the sea. The leisure facilities include a pool, a gym and floodlit tennis courts. The pool is covered and heated in winter.
Benidorm Plaza Hotel
This hotel is located in a perfect spot just 300 metres from the Levante beach and less still from the Old Town. All of the rooms are decorated in a modern style and have balconies. There is a heated pool open during the winter months and a fitness centre. The food is good with an extensive choice and always one typical Spanish dish available.
Palm Beach Hotel
Located in a quiet residential area this hotel is perfect for those wishing a peaceful relaxing holiday away from the centre of town. It is about 1.5 kilometres from town and 750 metres from the beach but the hotel offers a free shuttle bus to both places. It has a tropical atmosphere due to the trees and plants in the gardens and the exotic drinks on sale. All of the rooms have balconies facing the pool and the sea.
This hotel is part of a hotel and apartment complex located 50 metres from the beach, bars, restaurants and shops. The hotel itself has 125 brightly decorated rooms some of which are junior suites. There is both an indoor and outdoor pool, sauna and jacuzzi and 2 sun terraces one of which is set away from the pool.
This hotel is located in a quiet street near the centre of Benidorm and only a short distance from the Levante beach. All of the rooms are spacious and comfortable and have a balcony and satellite TV. There is an indoor pool and an outdoor one with a water slide, table tennis, a pool table and many more facilities. The hotel is very clean in all areas and the staff are helpful and efficient.
Recommended 3 Star Hotels
Villa de Benidorm
This “Magic” hotel is located in the centre of Benidorm resort about 250 metres from the beach and is surrounded by shops, bars and restaurants. The staff are extremely friendly and helpful and the food is excellent with plenty of choice and a good variety every day. This hotel has an outdoor and an indoor pool and a fitness centre.
Villa del Mar
This small, friendly hotel can be found right on the beachfront and only 200 metres from the Old Town. All rooms have tea and coffee making facilities, satellite TV and beautiful sea views. There is a full programme of day and evening entertainment which will keep you and your children fully occupied if you so wish.
Hotel Magic Fenecia
This “Magic” hotel is located in the Old Town of Benidorm and is 500 metres from the Poniente beach. It is not in the “nightlife” area but this can easily be reached by bus or taxi and there are plenty of bars and restaurants nearby. There is a fitness centre, 2 bowling lanes and a small roof top pool.
Self-Catering Benidorm Apartments
There are many apartments with shared swimming pools for rent in Benidorm which offer an economical holiday option. If you’re looking for something a little more upmarket you’ll find that there aren’t many villas for rent in downtown Benidorm although there are some lovely places within a few kilometers if you don’t mind driving in and out of the resort.
What to Do in Benidorm
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.
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. 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.
Along the beach there are regular play areas for children with elaborate climbing frames and at the far end of Playa Levante there’s a wacky range of sea activities including the banana ride, rafting and the ever popular cable ski. Most of these are open from May to October from 10am until early evening. Tourists can also book boat trips from here which head along the coast to Calpe or out to Benidorm Island.
Benidorm Theme Parks
Benidorm is well known for its fantastic theme parks which lie just on the outskirts of the resort and are easily accessible by means of hire car, by public bus or on buses provided by the theme parks themselves.
Terra Mitica Benidorm
Terra Mitica is a Spanish Disneyland which has been given a Mediterranean theme with each sector of the park dedicated to a different civilization including the Romans, Egyptians, Greeks and Iberians. Within the extensive grounds of Terra Mitica you’ll find an exciting selection of rollercoasters and waterslides.
Getting There: To get there by car take the CV70 road out of Benidorm following signs for La Nucia (it’s very well signposted). It’s located just a few kilometres over the main A7 motorway on the mountainside overlooking Benidorm. Look closely and you’ll see the words “Terra Mitica” on the hillside reminiscent of the famous “Hollywood” sign overlooking Los Angeles. Follow the Terra Mitica parking signs and pass through a toll booth where you pay a fixed price for all day parking then proceed to the main parking area. If you’re arriving by bus none of this matters. Just take bus 21 or 22 from Benidorm for door to door service.
Opening Times: Terra Mitica is open from 10am until midnight during the summer months (June-August) and 10am to 8pm in April, May and September. From October to December it only opens at weekends. It is closed from January to March. To check the latest entrance fees and to confirm opening hours go to their website at Terramiticapark.com.
Entrance Tickets: You can buy Terra Mitica Tickets Online and print them out before travelling.
Terra Natura Benidorm
Located almost right next to Terra Mitica, Terra Natura is another large scale theme park where animals roam in their natural habitat although Benidorm isn’t quite the same as the plains of Africa!
Getting There: Take bus 21 or 22 to get there otherwise drive out of Benidorm on the CV70 road heading for La Nucia. It’s well signposted shortly after going under the main A7 motorway.
Opening Times: It is open from 10am to 8pm in summer and 10am to 5pm in winter. Check their website at Terranatura.com to confirm the latest prices and opening hours.
Entrance Tickets: You can order Terranatura Tickets Online and print them out before travelling.
Aqualandia and Mundomar
Aqualandia is a must for fans of water parks as it’s the biggest one in Europe. Next to it is Mundomar which is a huge marine theme park dedicated to sea animals. The dolphin show is the highlight of the day. Each park merits a full day and you can buy a combined entrance ticket which allows you to visit both of them on different days.
Getting There: To get there from the centre take bus 11 or 47. There are departures every hour. Buses 1 and 4 head there from the railway station every 30 minutes. Buses are packed during peak seasons so jump in a taxi which shouldn’t cost too much from anywhere near Playa Levante.
Entrance Tickets: You can buy tickets to these theme parks online and print out a voucher to present at the entrance.
Benidorm nightlife is extensive and varied to cater for all ages and all tastes. There are many British bars if that’s what you’re looking for. There are also Irish, Dutch, German and Scandinavian bars. Most of all there are Spanish bars and restaurants representing every region of Spain.
An interesting street is c/Santo Domingo in the old quarter where there’s a whole line of Basque bars and an Asturian cider house. Right in the middle is the Broadway British pub. This typifies Benidorm, whilst the Brits enjoy a pie and a pint not more than a few steps away the Basques are enjoying tapas and red wine. A mixing of cultures in a large, friendly resort where everyone can have a great time.
There are loads of bars and clubs presenting entertainment which ranges from Captain Britain’s kid’s show to Sexy Sophie’s floor show. Some of the best venues which attract top comedians and great singers include Steptoes, Morgan Tavern, Talk of the Coast, Stardust, The Town and Wheeltappers.
There are also great magic acts, hypnotists and drag shows (Bar Le Rue) which are fine for both adults and children. To check out appropriate entertainment for kids take a look at the latest tourist publicity brochures around your hotel reception to find out who’s on where and when.
Regulars to Benidorm claim that you can’t say you’ve been there until you’ve seen the legendary ‘Sticky Vicky’. She’s a sixty odd year old woman who, among other things (!), fires ping pong balls at the crowd and they don’t come from her mouth! Check out local adverts to see where she’s performing. Panchos (c/Gerona is one of her regular spots). The Rich Bitch show bar is another venue earning rave reviews.
Family Friendly Entertainment
Many of the bars are well aware of the importance of looking after the children and provide some great entertainment that the kids love. Pancho’s Pub (Calle Gerona 34) is a great place for younger children in the early evening when entertainment is provided for them. The Cellar Bar (next to the Dalmatas Hotel) is another top spot where Louie the Clown is brilliant with the kids. After the clown show there’s usually more child friendly entertainment such as a dog show or magic show which is great for all the family.
Other child friendly activities in town include the Medieval Evening where the children enjoy the horse shows whilst the parents tuck into dinner and wine. There is also a funfair and mini-golf which is great for young children along Avenida Mediterraneo and there’s a ten pin bowling alley next door.
Many bars show afternoon films which coincide with happy hour so just keep your eye open for what’s on on the billboards outside bars. The karaoke at Churchill’s is another popular event for all ages.
The biggest concentration of British bars is referred to locally as ‘The Square’. Just head for the junction of Avda. Mallorca and c/Gerona and you can’t miss it. This attracts the worst of Brits abroad in peak season. The most popular hotels here are the Orange and the Venus which put you right on the doorstep of where all the action lies. There are enough bars and clubs spread around c/Gerona, c/Lepanto and Avenida de Mallorca that you might not get much further than this relatively small part of town in a fortnight. But please do as Benidorm has plenty more on offer!
There is a short stretch of Avenida de Mallorca which attracts nearly all British visitors at some point during their stay. Within this stretch are the following bars: Café de Benidorm, Bahamas, Beachcomber, Hippodrome, Lennon’s and Champions. Chaplins and Sinatras on the same street are equally popular.
Restaurants in Benidorm
There are hundreds of restaurants scattered around Benidorm serving a vast range of national and international dishes. A few personal favourite venues include:
Tiffany’s (Avda. del Mediterráneo, 51)
If you’re looking for somewhere special to dine then Tiffany’s deserves consideration. It is a long standing Benidorm restaurant which offers Mediterranean cuisine with a French flavour.
This is the best Chinese restaurant in town where you can eat as much as you like at their buffet including half a bottle of wine for a very reasonable price. The wine isn’t the best but the food is excellent.
India Gate (c/Girona 2/14)
Prides itself on being the only Indian restaurant owned and run by Indians. Nice main courses and good special offers.
Yorkshire Pride One (c/Girona)
Great choice for British food which includes ‘the greedy man’s breakfast’, an amazing mixed grill and Sunday roast served every day.
Benidorm Tapas Bars
Believe it or not Benidorm is a Spanish town which attracts a huge number of Spanish visitors and has a large Spanish resident population of over 60,000 people. These locals and visitors head for the old town when looking for a night out.
The best known tapas bar is La Cava Aragonesa (Plaza de la Constitución, 2) which is famous for having 44 metres worth of tapas. They also serve some Spanish classics in their restaurant such as roast suckling pig and roast lamb and have almost 200 wines on offer from all over Spain. Not surprisingly it’s always packed.
Just around the corner is ‘Tapas Alley’ where several small tapas bars are all crammed next to one another making an ideal spot for a true Spanish tapas bar crawl.
Benidorm is now able to attract some of the UK’s top disc jockeys as it has grown to be second only to Ibiza as the Mediterranean’s top clubbing destination. Penélope (Alcoi, 10) right on Levante beachfront is one of the trendiest places around whilst the Hippodrome and Bahamas in the Square are packed during the summer months. Serious clubbers should head to the Valencia road just on the outskirts of town to visit the the famous KM Dance Club which attracts some of Spain’s top DJs.
As the owner of this website I’ve travelled to pretty much everywhere in Spain so I’m familiar with what the brochures call “the Real Spain”. I had low expectations when going to Benidorm for a week to prepare this section of our website but was completely wrong. I really enjoyed the place and highly recommend holidays in Benidorm for single people and families as well as to retired people who make up the majority of the foreign population during the winter months when some long stay bargains are on offer.Gerry Kerkhof