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Benidorm Mini Guide
Benidorm in Spain is a holiday resort which sprang up after World War II around a Mediterranean fishing hamlet about 100 km (62 miles) south of the port of Valencia
. Known as the Manhattan of Spain because of its towering skyline, Benidorm is one of the country’s most visited tourist destinations and its population swells greatly during the peak summer months.
Once a synonym for tacky, a concerted campaign by the town's tourist organisation has made it more upmarket - evidence of which can be seen in the number of top class restaurants springing up around town.
Situated on the Costa Blanca on the east coast of Spain, it offers a combination of dramatic landscape, warm weather and fine beaches. Much of what guarantees the return of tourists to Benidorm time and time again is the special micro climate which gives it sunshine and fine temperatures all year around. Another draw is that its beaches have been given the blue flag to recognize their cleanliness and the standard to which they are maintained.
The main beaches in Benidorm have been split into two halves, known as the Poniente and the Levante, by a rocky overhang and the skyscrapers in the background give it a similarity to Hong Kong. Both of those beaches are very large and the water is luke warm which makes it the ideal place to lull yourself into a relaxed state.
There are plenty of restaurants, bars, pubs and clubs in Benidorm, many of which cater to the main nationalities of visitors – Flemish, Dutch and English – and the other tourists who like to take a package holiday without feeling too far from home. So many of them visit that every summer the population of Benidorm, which is around 65,000 people, is bumped up to half a million, and during the holiday season it is unlikely that you will hear anyone speaking Spanish.
There are a whole host of accommodation options for these holiday makers including the four star Gran Hotel de Bali which used to be the tallest skyscraper in the whole of Spain until 2005. A plan which was implemented in the 1950s to save the green spaces in Benidorm has had the desired effect and the spaciousness of the city can be seen by scaling the nearby Sierras.
Benidorm is very much a family destination and it can offer theme parks, day trips, shows and even wildlife to entertain youngsters. Whether you want to ride a rollercoaster, spin down a water spout or jump and shout at the sight of dolphins doing tricks in an aquarium, Benidorm has it all.
Many of these attractions offer special deals and discounts to families so a fun day out for all need not break the bank. Quite a few of these water and amusement parks are outside of Benidorm in an area called Rincon de Loix, so car hire is advisable when you visit to ensure you have the freedom to enjoy your holiday.
There are a number of shows in the town, some suitable for children who haven’t gone to bed yet and others, such as exotic cabarets and dances which will be enjoyed by couples who have finally got some time to themselves. You can choose to watch a gala production or just go to the disco to let your hair down at many different venues.
It is also possible to visit the island off Benidorm in a sub aquatic catamaran where you are sure to see wildlife as the island is a conservation haven for hens, peacocks and other birds. Song and dance are popular and have been celebrated every year at the Benidorm International Song Festival which has unearthed many Spanish stars such as Julio Iglesias. If you are itching to keep your swing in shape then you are in luck as Benidorm is a golf player’s paradise. The Costa Blanca has 15 full size golf courses, some of which were designed by the legendary Spanish player Seve Ballesteros and rank among the world’s best.
Once you have worked up an appetite, there are numerous eateries in which to try sumptuous paellas which are all the better for the fresh seafood still being caught locally, even though this is no longer a small Spanish fishing village. But if you’re not feeling adventurous there are loads of bars which will offer bacon and eggs British style and any kind of home cooking, no matter where you have come from.
- For a different taste of Benidorm try visiting it in the winter months. The sea doesn't cool down until late December and the weather rarely drops below 60f all winter long with many days over 70f. The town is much quieter then and you can take your time at the sights which remain open.
- Another good reason for visiting Benidorm in the winter is to enjoy the city's two main festivals. First there's the festival of the Virgin del Sufragio and Saint James the Apostle which begins on the second Sunday of November and which includes fireworks, parades and historical re-enactments. Then, shortly after, there's the Festival of the Artichoke, again with lots of festivities plus the chance to enjoy the vegetable in all its forms.