Benidorm was built compact thanks to the foresight of the town's mayor, who in the 1960s saw a vision of a resort which grew upwards. Now it is slowly spreading westwards. Today Benidorm is famous for tall hotels and holiday apartment blocks, some of which are over 25 floors high. In recent years Benidorm has also seen a huge increase in the quality of accommodation, and the city now attracts not just package holiday visitors but tourists who demand 5-star hotel and spa complexes. Due to the July–August crowd of young people, many apartments will insist on a refundable deposit for certain times of the year.
Tree-lined wide avenues give a feeling of space, and there are over a thousand places to eat and drink and watch the town in full swing. The streets offer a very vibrant atmosphere day and night with something to offer visitors of any age group. There are over 41,000 hotel beds and modern tourist apartments. The biggest assets are the 4 km of Blue Flag safe sandy beaches which draw people from all over Spain in the summer months and from all over Europe 365 days of the year. Benidorm is an ideal sun destination both in summer and winter due to the mild climate where day time temperatures rarely fall below 18°C.
- 1 Tourist Info Benidorm Centro, Plaza Canalejas, 1 (Centro Municipal el Torrejó), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F 09:00-21:00, Sa 10:00-17:00, Su 10:00-14:00.
- 2 Tourist Info Benidorm Europa, Av de Europa, s/n, ☎ . M-F 10:30-17:30, Sa 10:00-17:00, Su 10:00-14:00.
Alicante Airport is serviced daily by over 30 low-cost and scheduled airlines from most major European cities. The majority of incoming flights are from the UK which offer the best value seat prices due to high competition in this sector.
There are a number of online shuttle services from the airport to Benidorm for €10 or less each way. Private transfers operate from the terminal building with a journey time of 30–45 minutes to Benidorm.
Tram Alicante (el Trenet) operates a light rail train connecting all major settlements along the coast between Dénia and Alicante, with the exception of Xàbia. L1 (line 1) connects Benidorm with Alicante (1 hr 9 min) and Villajoyosa, while the hourly L9 connects the city with Dénia and other points between. You will need your ticket's barcode to get out of the station. For travelers with smartphones, there is a helpful official app (iPhone and Android) with a route planner and timetables. Guide dogs and small pets in carriers are permitted.
- 1 Estación de Benidorm (main tram station), Carrer de L'Estació (2 km W of town centre), ☎ .
- 2 Estación de Disco Benidorm (Disco tram statioin), Partida de Tolls, s/n, ☎ .
- 3 Estació de Autobusos Benidorm (Estación de Autobuses de Benidorm / Benidorm Bus Station), Carrer Francisco Llorca Antón, 6 (far W of town). A number of companies operate international routes to many European countries such as Bulgaria, Romania, Italy and France. Within the region, Alsa operates a route connecting all major coastal settlements between Valencia and Alicante.
Benidorm is close to the autopista A7 and well connected to the rest of Spain via the national motorway network, with both Madrid and Barcelona less than a five-hour drive away. Parking in Benidorm can be difficult as most streets have cars parked day and night on both sides of the road (some are pay spaces). A few hotels will have their own parking areas.
Discovering central Benidorm is easy on foot as that area is very compact especially the Levante Playa area which is chosen by most visitors as the area to stay. It is easy to walk a few miles and still remain in town. Walking time from one end of the resort to the other is over an hour's walk.
There are a few companies opposite the Wednesday/Sunday market which hire or sell motability scooters for the disabled and sometimes just plain lazy who want to get around town.
Llorente Bus is an excellent local bus service which runs until midnight, and also runs buses to the neighbouring towns of Altea, Finestrat, and Villajoyosa. Buses run between 06:00-24:00, and there are night buses between midnight and 06:00; schedules and route maps are available online. Individual fares are €1.50/€1.65 (day/night), payable directly to the bus driver.
Visitors who plan to use the bus a lot may want to consider purchasing a Tourist Card, valid for 24 hours (€11), 3 days (€20), or 7 days (€38), and which cannot be topped up. For those staying for a longer period the Eco Card is valid for 30 days and can be topped up (€54, +€2 for the plastic card). Both card types are for individual use only and cannot be shared with others; they can be purchased directly on the bus.
As a purpose-built beach resort, everything is geared toward fun and enjoyment; there is therefore not much to see for those looking for culture. The surrounding towns and villages, which are less than 20 minutes drive by car or 30 minutes by bus are well worth exploring for anyone looking for 'real Spain'. In Benidorm the old town does still retain some of the quaint past, from when the town was a small village. Head for the old town church, where you will find the most interesting part of the town.
- 1 Punta Calfani (Balcón del Mediterráneo). The rocky outcrop separates the Benidorm coast into beaches, Platja de Peniente and Platja de Levante, each of them 2.5 km long. Once the site of a defensive structure against pirates, today it is a favourite scenic viewpoint.
- 2 Església de Sant Jaume i Santa Anna (Iglesia de San Jaime y Santa Ana / Church of St James and St Ana), Plaça de Sant Jaume, 1 (old town), ☎ . Built between 1740 and 1780, the church houses the effigy of Mare de Déu del Sofratge (Virgen del Sufragio – 'Virgin of the Suffrage'), the patron saint of Benidorm.
- 3 Parc de l'Aigüera (Parque de la Aigüera / Aigüera Park). This elongated park was established in 1990. The 4 Plaça de Bous (Plaza de Toros) is in the northern part.
- 5 Intempo. At 192m, the tallest building in Benidorm, and the tallest in Spain outside of Madrid, was designed by the Alicante Pérez-Guerras architecture firm. Construction has been riddled with problems, and the building is still incomplete and unoccupied, as the developer is in bankruptcy.
As a large resort, Benidorm offers a huge number of different activities for holidaymakers, both in town and in the nearby area.
Blanket trips are free tours to nearby resorts, towns and markets. Unlike timeshare sales, there is no hard sell and if you do not want to buy anything, that is fine. The downside is that by time you have sat through two demos and had something to eat, you arrive at a place at 12:30 or later as the shops are shutting and leave two hours later as they are opening again, or you get there when a market is mostly over.
In total there are 4 km of safe, sandy beach in Benidorm, including two spectacular Blue Flag beaches.
- 1 Platja de Llevant (Playa de Levante / Levante Beach). A 2 km-long Blue Flag Beach.
- 2 Platja de Ponent (Playa de Poniente / Poniente Beach). A more sedate Blue Flag beach preferred by locals and families. In 2009 a €13 million promenade was opened, which included a boardwalk at beach level and easier access for wheelchair users.
- 3 Platja del Mal Pas (Playa de Mal Pas / Mal Pas Beach).
- 4 Cala de l'Almadrava (Cala La Almodrava).
- 5 Cala del Ti Ximo (Cala Tío Ximo).
- 6 Cala de Finestrat (Playa de Finestrat / Finestrat Beach). A Blue Flag beach in nearby Finestrat.
Amusement parks and performances
- 7 Aqualandia, Carrer Serra Gelada, s/n (Rincón de Loix), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Family water park.
- 8 Benidorm Palace, Av Dr Severo Ochoa, 13, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Shows: Tu Th-Sa dinner+show 20:30, show+drink 21:30, show 22:00-00:30; ticket office: M 10:00-20:00, T-Sa 10:00-22:00. A Las Vegas-style cabaret and dinner show with seating for more than 2,000 people. €32 (show), €52-62 (show+menu).
- 9 Mundomar Benidorm, Carrer Serra Gelada, s/n. Animal and sealife park. €31 (adults), €25 (seniors/children), €19 (disabled).
- 10 Terra Mítica, Partida del Moralet, s/n, ☎ . Hrs vary by season, see website for details. Among the largest and most-visited theme parks in all of Spain, it can be crowded in the holiday season. €39 (adults), €28 (seniors/children 4-12), €20 (disabled).
- 11 Terra Natura, Foia del Verdader, 1, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: email@example.com. Open daily; hrs vary by season, see website for details. Wildlife and water park. €30 (adults), €24 (seniors/children 4-12).
For those who enjoy walking there are many interesting places to walk if you take a local bus to the outlying villages such as Finestrast, Villa Joyosa and Albir, or Calp.
Another good walk is from the beach at La Cala. Use the number 2 bus from Benidorm, which goes to the out of town shopping malls. Here you can take an uphill walk to an old watchtower, which was once used as a look-out post for pirates and smugglers. There is a picnic site at the top. A good footpath, with benches every now and then to sit and rest. You can continue walking along the coast, through an olive grove for a few miles to Villajoyosa and return to Benidorm by tram.
- 12 Parc Natural de la Serra Gelada (Parque Natural de la Sierra Helada) (N of Benidorm). The mountain park offers a couple of historic sites and two excellent hiking trails. The Ruta Roja (trail information in Spanish) is an easy walk to the lighthouse at Albir, accessible by the number 10 bus. The walk is about 3 km in length and you do not have to be super fit. You also pass ochre mines on the way.
The Ruta Amarilla (trail information in Spanish) is a more strenuous but superb cliff-top walk.
- 6 Torre de les Caletes (Torre Punta del Cavall). A ruined 16th-century defensive tower.
- 7 Tossal de la Cala (Platja de Poniente). An Iberian settlement dating from the 3rd to 1st centuries BCE, later occupied by the Romans. The site can be accessed from the southern end of Poniente Beach.
- 8 La Creu Benidorm (Mirador de la Cruz / Benidorm Cross), Carrer Taywan. Placed by a Catholic mission in 1961 as part of an effort to redeem the city from its sinful reputation. In the succeeding years it has become less of an evangelical and more of a tourist icon. Some great views of the area can be had from this point, and several hiking trails begin here.
There are boat trips to the Isla de Benidorm wildlife sanctuary and to Calp. You can also take a trip to Tabarca, a small but inhabited island off Alicante.
An abundance of cheap leather and shoes are on offer all year. Also look out for artisans markets which take place throughout the year during fiesta times and in July and August. At these you can buy local cheeses and produce plus jewelry, pottery and paintings. Most visitors from outside of Spain also take advantage of the cheap alcohol and cigarettes. Note that tobacco prices are set by the government in Spain so buy at any of the tobacco shops – there's no need to shop around. There are a number of bazaars around which sell products from €1 and up, and have a wide selection of essentials, knickknacks, food and other things at that price.
- 1 Mercat Municipal (Mercado Municipal), Carrer del Mercat, 1, ☎ . M-Sa 09:00-20:00. The municipal market is a good place for local produce, fish, and meat. There is also a Mercadona supermarket in the building.
- 2 Rastro El Cisne (Fleamarket), Ctra N332 (NW of town, take bus 10). Sa and Su. A large market for second-hand items and antiques.
- 3 Mercadillo Pueblo, Avda de l'Admirall Bernat de Sarrià. Su and W mornings. A semi-weekly street market for various goods, with a few vendors of local produce. Also has a few food and drink stands. Parking can be a problem so it's best to arrive early.
- 4 Mercadet de Foietes (Mercadillo de Foietes), Avda Ciudad Deportiva. W mornings. A weekly street market for all sorts of goods. Here too it's best to arrive before 10:00 if you want to find a space to park your car.
There are over a thousand places to eat. The best area for restaurants and tapas bars is in the old town, where you will find of course Spanish cuisine and also English, French, Algerian and Dutch food. It is best to search the old town if you want some real quality local food such as jamón and excellent local wines from the Jalón valley.
In the Levante area the food is typical tourist fare with many English café-bars offering home-style food to English visitors. There are also many Chinese restaurants from a fairly large Chinese community who also have shops with items from China. Breakfast is a favourite of many with an large fried breakfast starting at €2.
- 1 Ristorante Topo Gigio, Av Mediterráneo, 9, ☎ . Daily 12:00-24:00. A popular Italian restaurant and pizzeria with a large outdoor terrace.
- 2 La Tapería, C/ Santo Domingo, 6 (old town), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 12:00-24:00. Serves pinchos and raciones, meat, and fish. Set menu €16.
- 3 Restaurante La Falua, C/ Santander, 22, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Daily 13:30-17:00 20:30-24:00. Mediterranean cuisine. Tasting menu €28-50.
There are 800 bars selling alcohol and as such the competition is huge, with happy hours, two-for-one, etc. – whatever your tipple you will find it in Benidorm. Many small bars offer bottled beer at €1 and themed bars are in abundance. You will find British pubs, Dutch bars and Irish bars plus the many Spanish cafetería-bars which offer local Spanish favourites. Football is shown on large TV screens at many of them. A number of bars have live acts and other entertainment including karaoke.
Benidorm offers over 240 Hotels and holiday apartment complexes with 1- to 5-star ratings. Everyone will find a room to fit their budget. It should be remembered that hotels have daily maid service and apartments have a less frequent maid service (once or twice a week). Competition is massive therefore prices are some of the lowest in Spain especially out of season. Shop around for good deals. Be aware that you may have to pay a €50-100 deposit before check-in.
The most popular places to stay are the lively Levante, which is ideal for families and groups. The old town is preferred by couples and more mature visitors offering a less frantic holiday. The Poniente is ideal for beach holidays and peace and quiet. Also La Cala Finestrat on the outskirts of Benidorm is preferred by those who want a relaxed holiday away from the late nights and discos.
- 1 Camping Almafá, Partida Cabut, 25 (L'Alfàs del Pi), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 16:00, check-out: 12:00. Has spaces for campervans and caravans, and bungalows for rent. Has showers, laundry, indoor and outdoor pools, fitness centre, and restaurant. Pets accepted on request for extra charge.
- 2 Camping El Racó, Av Dr Severo Ochoa, 35, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Can accommodate campervans and caravans, and also has bungalows available for rent. Facilities include showers, laundry facilities, indoor and outdoor pool, and supermarket and café. Free Wi-Fi and free parking.
- 3 Camping Villamar, Ctra del Albir, km .3, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Has spaces for tents, campervans, and caravans, and rents out large tents and cabins. Has showers, laundry, supermarket, cafeteria, and outdoor pool.
- 4 Camping Villasol, Av de l'Almirall Bernat de Sarria, 13, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Can accommodate tents, campervans, and caravans, and has large tents, bungalows, and villas available for rent. Facilities include showers and laundry, indoor and outdoor pool, and restaurant.
- 5 Hotel Montesol, Av de los Almendros, 19, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 15:00-23:30, check-out: 12:00. Has an onsite restaurant and free Wi-Fi. Doubles €51+, including breakfast.
- 6 Flash Hotel, Av Derramador 2 (Levante Beach), ☎ . Check-in: 14:00-24:00, check-out: 06:00-12:00. Has panoramic view, outdoor pool, fitness centre, nonsmoking rooms, and shuttle service (extra charge). Free Wi-Fi, parking €11/day. Doubles €80, including breakfast.
- 7 Hotel Madeira Centro, Carrer de Esperanto, 1, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Check-in: 14:00-20:00, check-out: 12:00. Has outdoor and indoor pools, fitness centre, onsite restaurant, and free Wi-Fi. Parking €18/day. Doubles €81-90, including breakfast.
- 8 Hotel Rosamar, Av Derramador, 6, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 14:00-24:00, check-out: 04:00-12:00. Facilities include an outdoor pool, fitness centre, nonsmoking rooms, and onsite restaurant. Free Wi-Fi, parking €11/day. Doubles €80, including breakfast.
- Servigroup Hotels, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Operates a number of hotels in the centre of Benidorm, in the Levante and Poniente Beach areas.
- 9 Gran Hotel Bali, Carrer Luis Prendes, 4, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 14:00-24:00, check-out: 07:00-12:00. At a height of 186m this is the tallest hotel in Europe. Facilities include a pool, fitness centre and spa, nonsmoking rooms, and onsite bar. Free Wi-Fi, parking €12/day. Doubles €106+, including breakfast.
One feature over the last few years on travel forums is pick-pocketing and even some cases of mugging in Benidorm. When someone asked about "Muggers Alley", two different locations were given. Be careful in crowds, notably the Sunday-Wednesday market which has general things which you can buy as cheap elsewhere and the Sunday bootsale market which has older things and collectibles. Valuables should not be left in (empty) cars or apartments. Lock all doors and windows when leaving your apartment. Most rooms will come with a safe.
Despite these warnings visitors should remember that at peak times Benidorm hosts up to 200,000 people, therefore the true crime numbers are actually quite small. Sadly crimes are talked about around the many bars and tend to be exaggerated somewhat. In reality Benidorm is as safe as any other busy tourist resort where the majority of petty crime takes place late at night and usually involves alcohol fueled crimes. The police have a very visible presence, in cars.
There are a number of internet cafés, some coin-fed. Free Wi-Fi is available at many pubs and restaurants.
If you hire a car you will be able to discover that the entire region is a hive of small villages and picturesque mountains. The following nearby towns are especially worth a visit:
- Altea is a quiet up-market town with much more Spanish culture and a stunning well-preserved old town, as well as a weekly outdoor market.
- Guadalest is a village worth visiting, as many of the houses here are over 400 years old and there are spectacular mountain views.
- Wine lovers should head toward Calp (a 30-minute drive) and take the signs for Jalón, where you will find the wine-growing region and almond groves.
- A recommended driving route to see the 'real Spain' is to head toward Finestrat, just 9 km from Benidorm, and drive from there into the mountains where you will find a different world.
- The Algar waterfalls near Polop are a lovely place to escape the hustle and bustle of busy Benidorm.
- For a great day out, the city of Valencia is a must, which you can reach by express coach in 90 minutes from Benidorm.