Benidorm has such a bad reputation that I would have lumped it in with places like Magaluf and Ibiza as places that I never particularly wanted to visit.
But then again, I never say never and normally then need to experience something twice to make sure I didnt like it really and the first time was just a bad day…..
And as its only a short Tram ride away from the little base in El Campello, I had run out of excuses not to go…..
The Benidorm TV series is to blame for a lot of the bad pre-conceptions (Ok,Ok I know our Facebook fans will have seen Michele’s shots of the hotel and Neptunes)
And I’m here today to say, hand over heart, that I was absolutely wrong. Yes, there is that tacky, extremely drunk lads on holiday, messy hen-do side to the town, but in reality it’s isolated to a small area and it’s easy to have an amazing time in the Spanish sun and steer clear of that all.
In full disclosure, I did see a lot of “lad” behaviour and countless “Ladies on Tour” and yes you can get a “pint” and “full english” in one, too many of cafe’s for my liking, but all in all its not that bad.
The main “English” going out street is the Neon street just behind Playa de Levante, so avoid this area and you’re pretty set to enjoy a spainish seaside town !
Benidorm has two long sandy beaches,
Levante, which means “sunrise” to the east
The atmosphere as we walked along the Levante Beach “promenade,” a polished-stone walkway between the shops and the beach itself, could only be described as “holiday happy.” People go to Benidorm to enjoy the beach, and that’s excatly what they were doing
Poniente, which means “sunset” to the west. The beaches, like most in spain are cleaned carefully every single evening, so the water is beautiful and clear.
Definately on a December day the slightly quieter end, with alot of locals about, I guess in the mid summer this would not be the case, but then again we do have the luxury of visiting this places out of season.
Located at the eastern end of Poniente beach and the bottom of the “Paseo de la Carretera” is a beachfront park area known to the English as ‘Dove Park, which in Spanish is called Parque de Elche.
This unique park has scores of white doves that nest in the palms at night along with red squirrels. There is lots of fun stuff to see and do at Dove Park with live musicians and dancers, along with a chess club playing late into the night, exercise machines and picnic areas
Sitting between the two main beaches is the old, original town of Benidorm.
Make sure you head over to the Old Town in Benidorm. The Old Town is super picturesque and you can’t skip visiting the balcon de Mediterraneo, which is an insanely beautiful blue-tiled plaza that doubles as a viewing point into the Mediterranean Sea, and was also voted as one of the top 10 most beautiful viewing spots in all of Spain.
The old part of town has the characteristic narrow streets of many towns in the Costa Blanca. One street is referred to as “Tapas Alley” because of its abundance of cafes and bars
The busier main roads tend more to the typical tee-shirt stores, ice cream stands, and touirst tat shops.
My initial impression that little of Spain remains in Benidorm is definitely false.
I heard a lot of English as I wandered in the old town section and on the promenade along Levante Beach, The worst instance was the slightly older northean gent who couldn’t even translate Quaso and jambon Bocadillo and was amazed that we could read the spainsh sign ! – God help us all !
But I heard a resonable amount of Spanish. Of course, it’s impossible for me to know whether they were locals or tourists from other parts of Spain, but it was reasurring to know that the spainsih still inhabit this place.
So would I head back to ‘the dorm’ – Well I’m sure I can find nicer places along the costas but if you were to say to me on a cold uk winters day ‘fancy a weekend in benidorm’ I would probaly says ‘Si , Por favor‘…..