8 reasons why people go to Benidorm

Benidorm is one of the most visited holiday resorts in Spain, but somewhere along the line it became unhip to say out loud that you’re going there. Benidorm is for oldies, it’s full of (drunken) Brits, the food and the accommodation are entirely low-cost and the beach is always too crowded. That’s the idea that people have. And then I went there myself, a chance to either confirm or debunk the prejudices… The truth? Some of the stereotypes are there for a reason, but it’s time to talk about the beauty and diversity of the holiday resort, too. Here’s 8 reasons why I will never giggle again when people tell me they’re going to Benidorm.

1. It’s a pioneer resort!

Benidorm was one of the first low cost resorts in Europe, if not thé first. Thanks to the introduction of affordable package tourism deals, families that otherwise couldn’t afford to travel could suddenly have a proper holiday in the sun. First the Spanish themselves came exploring the resort and after the Alicante airport opened in 1967 the international tourism really boomed. In fact, the success model of Benidorm was used as an example for many other holiday resorts in Europe to come. Now that’s something to be proud of, I reckon. Sure there are lots and lots of other resorts in the world today, but at least Benidorm was the first. It will always be unique for that reason.

2. The quirky architecture grows on you

beniline
The skyline (with the Gran Hotel Bali on the left)

The skyline of Benidorm is one of a kind. When tourism exploded in the 60s and 70s, new hotels, bars and apartments were randomly scattered around in the city. Apparently at one point there were over 100 buildings being built all at the same time… The result of that is that Benidorm is now dominated by a whole lot of skyscrapers, one even quirkier, higher and more imposing than the next, hence the nickname ‘Beni-york’ or ‘Little Manhattan’. There’s rounds, ovals, pentagons and hexagons, but most of them are mainly long and narrow so that everyone can enjoy as much of the sun and ocean views as possible. Clever! Marking the skyline are some of the tallest buildings in Europe, like the 200 meter high Residencial in Tempo (tallest resident building in Europe) and the Gran Hotel Bali (tallest hotel in Europe). Watching this inconsistent jumble of skyscrapers is unsettling and intriguing at the same time and after a while it just stops being weird. There’s a certain beauty to the chaos and some of the architecture is so retro that it’s becoming fashionable again.

Benisky2
A hodgepodge of skyscrapers…
Benisky5
Another part of the skyline with the Residencial in Tempo claiming all the attention

 

3. The sun never lets you down

Well, never say never, but it’s a fact that Benidorm is enclosed by a range of mountains, which keeps the city sheltered from most rain and clouds. This way, Benidorm has its own little microclimate with an average temperature of 19°C and 330 days of sunshine throughout the year, making it the driest beachside in all of Europe. Another ‘fun sun fact ‘ is that there’s two main beaches that are both in the shape of a crescent moon. There’s the Playa Levante (sunrise beach) that invites the early morning sun and there’s the Playa Poniente (sunset beach) that is bathing in sunshine right until sunset. So if you want, you can laze by the beach from sunrise to sunset every single day. The entire Benidorm beachside is 6 km long and very wide so no matter the crowd, there will always be a free spot…

Benisunrise
Sunrise over Playa Levante
Benilevante
Playa Levante in bright daylight
Beniponiente
Playa del Mal Pas, with playa Poniente in the back.

 

4. The Spanish food is as delicious as anywhere else in Spain

You’re in Spain! How can the food disappoint in Spain? Just like any other Spanish city, Benidorm has heaps of lovely pintxos bars (tapas the Basque way) and great seafood and paella restaurant as well for any kind of budget. Try La Taperia in the Calle Santo Domingo – there’s lots of others in this area as well) and El Barranco right at the Poniente beachside.

BeniPaella
Tasty paella at El Barranco
Benitapas
Pinxtos at La Taperia

 

5. You can party if you want, whenever you want

Benidorm has an awesome party scene. You can go out at 22 pm and keep partying till the morning. When the restaurants and entertainment halls close, the bars open. When the bars close, the nightclubs open and when the nightclubs close, there’s always the notorious ‘British corner’ in the city centre, with the kind of nightlife that never sleeps. There’s even a brand new casino being built as we speak. But if you don’t want anything to do with that, you can easily avoid the party scenes and have a stylish evening of dance and magic at the Benidorm Palace or have a quiet walk around, not noticing anything about the drunken sing-alongs, the stripteases and the late night bull riding that are going on. That’s the beauty of Benidorm: whatever you decide, you can have. The ‘Ku’ lounge bar on the boulevard of the Levante Beach is pretty hip right now and Solotúla is known for it’s gin & tonics.

benipartys
The Ku Lounge bar
Beniparty
Trying the gin & tonics at Solotúla

 

6. There’s a chic side to Benidorm that no one brags about

Next to 35 four star hotels, Benidorm has 3 five star hotels that will blow you away with their meticulous design, their luxury rooms and ditto pools. How come so little know about this? Because the city doesn’t brag about it. That’s why celebrities like Penelope Cruz, Bruce Willis, Bruce Springsteen and Javier Bardem spend their holidays here: this is the place to enjoy luxury, discreetly. The two hotels that stand out the most to me are Barcelo Asia Gardens with its tropical gardens and Thai theme and Villa Venecia, the only five star hotel right next to the ocean. Apart from that, hotels are starting to invest in rooftop lounge bars with smooth live music and great views over the city. Try the ‘Level 7’ champagne bar of the Agar hotel!

Benister
One of the pools of Barcelo Asia Gardens
Benister3
Barcelo Asia Gardens
Benister2
A room at Barcelo Asia Gardens, one of the most expensive in Benidorm. If not thé most expensive…
Benivenecia1
Room with a view at Villa Venecia
Benibar1
Fancy crowds at the Agar hotel rooftop bar.

 

 7. It’s the ideal family destination

I’ve been to many places, but don’t think I’ve ever been to a beach resort that has so many leisure activities so close to each other as in Benidorm. There’s something for every age and taste, like the two 18 hole golf courses of the Mélia Villaitana hotel or the high concentration of theme parks: the Aqualandia water park, the Mundo Mar park with marine life and exotic birds, Terra Natura and Aqua Natura with all kinds of animal and water fun for kids and my favorite: the Terra Mítica theme Park that takes you back to ancient times with rides that even I (and I’m 32) found awesome. Still can’t sit still? Try jet-skiing or go for a boat ride and some snorkeling along the way. And that’s just a few of the options.

Benijet2

Benigolf

Benipret
Awesome view from the Magnus Colossus Wooden Roller Coaster at Terra Mítica, right before going down…
Benifun
A water ride at Terra Mítica
Benisnork
Boat ride just offshore

 

8. It’s a paradise for street photographers

Benipeop

Benidorm

Want to know more? http://en.visitbenidorm.es

Getting there? Try www.jetairfly.com

 

  • Great post and lovely photo’s. Thank you very much! Changed my view of Benidorm too now!

  • Like the article, but still not going…….

    • Haha 😀 Well at least I made you think about it for a short while…

      • trouble is there are so many places to go…….

        • True… That’s why one day when you’ve seen it all, you’ll finally end up in Benidorm and love it 🙂

  • I’ve never heard of it to be honest, but then I’m a long way away. It looks nice enough, a little like parts of Queensland. thanks for sharing.

  • 19′ and 330 days of sun. I’m sold.

  • I too am not convinced and have less than no intention of ever going but thanks for trying.

  • Hmmm don’t know if I’m entirely convinced but will bear those points in mind.

    • Thanks for that 🙂 You miss out on a lot of great things if you don’t keep an open mind.

  • I’ve always thought Benidorm was a bit naff, but maybe I shouldn’t be so quick to judge a place I’ve never even visited…

  • Pingback: Now I know why people go to Benidorm | Fraction...()

  • Well don’t knock it until you try it I love Benidorm and I go there as least 3 times a year it is flat and the beaches are the best in Europe Good old Benidorm!!!

  • Ann

    Benidorm has something for everybody…no matter what age…the people who ‘knock it’ are the ones who have either never been there or have chosen the wrong hotel in the wrong location…Get it right and you’ll go back year after year.

  • My second visit to benidorm I was on my way back to my hotel where I was approached by a black prostitute obviously I told her to get gone shortly after I was robbed by 2 men none of which spoke Spanish or English I think the black girl and the 2 guy’s was working together be careful don’t walk the streets alone

  • Anonymous

    I’ve lived here for 5 years and your little article has made me realise how much I’ve taken this town for granted! I remember when I first came here and thinking that this place is massive, but then realising it only takes an hour or two to walk from one side to the other. I also never knew there were 5 star hotels. You’re right, they definitely keep that quiet!

  • Great article!! I have lived here for 35 years and every time i am away more than a week, i can not wait to come back… Love it!!!

  • George Aitken

    I love Benidorm. Can’t wait to get back for visit number three.Prefer the old town but if you want a laugh, visit the strip.

  • we love Benidorm been coming here for about 15 yrs now sometimes 5 times a year,it’s so diverse there’s something for everyone to like & do,can’t wait to get back for November Fiestas which is fantastic,this time going with 4 friends that have never been but bet they will want to go back a.s.a.p

  • Well, I read the article up to the end because you said “it’s time to talk about the beauty and diversity of the holiday resort” but I’m still waiting to hear about it. I think you only confirmed all the stereotypes, but said in a nice way. The only way to excape from the concrete and the crowd is to go to a five star hotel, but who can afford it??
    I respect your point of you and appreciate your nice try to debunk the prejudice but I’m still not convinced. It’s not your fault, it’s the place itself! (P.D. I’ve been living in Villajoyosa for 3 years, it’s much more quite and unique).

    • Hey, thanks for your comment. I think the diversity is pretty obvious in my article, there’s heaps of things to see and do if you don’t feel like hanging around on the beach all the time. It might not be the kind of diversity that everyone is looking for and that’s fine, we all look for different things in our holiday.
      The beauty lies exactly in that diversity but also in the overall experience. Just like with persons, sometimes you find someone beautiful not for the typical ‘beauty ideals’ that they have but because of who they are and how they come across. It’s the whole package that counts, what you give and what you get in return! In that way, there’s just something about Benidorm that makes it attractive. But perhaps you’re right and I haven’t highlighted the ‘obvious’ beauty of Benidorm enough. Thanks for pointing that out, I’ll make sure to add something extra in my text!

  • My love affair started over ten years ago when my wife and myself decided to make our first visit, as the bus approached Benidorm my heart sank as l saw all of the skyscrapers but by halfway through the first week we had fallen in love with it. We had heard it was like Blackpool with sun, loads of boosy brits causing trouble but nothing could be further from the truth. Benidorm is a sophisticated city that has something for everyone and in our case we love the old town so much that we stay there twice a year. The time we came for the November festivals was an absolute enchanting time as we sat in the balcony overlooking the Ave Martinez and suddenly all of the street lights went out, ten mins later the music started as a parade of people mostly Spanish people dressed in black and carrying a lit candle slowly walked past our balcony affording us a sensational experience captured on video as one of the moments in out life.Since the day we arrived at Benidorm my life has changed and it inspired me to become a writer of Kindle books and l am due to release shortly my 5 book series called The Benidorm Gays that is based upon the old town, now l am not sure that going to any other resort would have had this effect upon us, all l can say is if the opportunity was to arrive l would move their for good as l am sure that Benidorm would add years to my life.

    • Hi Peter, thanks a lot for sharing your story, let me know when your e-book series is released, I love reading travel books!

  • Anonymous

    benidorm is the best place eva we went 2 yrs ago 4 the first time with my daughter and her friend my daughter was,nt very happy we were going there cos she thought it was full of old people and boring she absolulty loved it and since then has been twice with her friends and is going back again this yr she does,nt wanna go anywhere else and my husband and i will be there a week after she gets bk,theres something 4 everyone whateva ur age its brilliant,i keep saying 2 my husband i want 2 buy a apartment there and retire maybe one day lol

  • Mike dune

    I’ve been going to Benidorm for over 30 years and frequently go 3 times a year.If you want a busy nightlife it’s there,if you want to bar crawl it’s there,if you want to chill on the beach all day you can,if you want to explore quirky old streets,visit the old town,if you like traditional Spanish food visit tapas alley.shopping,relaxation,adventures,it’s all in Benidorm.I recently took two families over with me and they were both shocked at how fantastic the place was.Ive travelled to America,Australia and across numerous European countries but Benidorm surpasses them all.

  • JackieB

    We visited Benidorm a few years ago, been back loads of time since and havenow bought a place over there!! people are generally great, it was nice to hear mention of the great spanish food as i think that can be easily missed by loads – my tip –always keep an ear out and if yiou hear akot of spanish at any restaurant then try it!!

  • Janet Glasby

    I always thought Benidorm was for oldies , then my daughter went came back and siad we would love it . So i booked for a week in the August haha never looked back since we go 3 times a year just got back on the 28th June love it every time 🙂 .

  • Karen Fowler

    I have lived in Benidorm for 11yrs and love it , my grown up Sons have been to all the top party destinations and Benidorm is their favourite .

  • janette gifford

    Good article.I’ve lived near Benidorm for nearly 30 yrs and agree with most of what youv’e written.You forgot to mention the beautiful surrounding countryside,the mountains,lakes and waterfalls just 20 mins drive away.It’s not all concrete.

  • I’m a Waitrose and M&s kind of gal and even I love it. Why go to Vegas when you can get that vibe if you want it plus fantastic beaches, lovely food if you go to the right places and something else no one seems to have mentioned, it’s outstandingly cheap when you are there. It has sophisticated bars, sing along bars for all ages, and downright raucous stuff for those who want it as well, don’t get me wrong I love the Greek islands too and quiet beauty but if I want a ridiculously cheap few days with sun and a great laugh, it really does take some beating. The prom at Altea is lovely too if you want a sophisticated harbour kind of lunch

    • Tine

      Thanks Vicky for sharing, I agree! Nice food, affordable, good weather, all ages and great laughs!