Wish you were here? Of course you do!
Sometimes the perfect holiday is all about getting off the beaten track and discovering an idyllic location known only to locals and a well-briefed smattering of travel magazine editors.
Sometimes it’s just about having fun. And if fun is on your agenda, then there are few resorts to compare with our old favourite, Benidorm.
Hard to believe today, but Benidorm was once a traditional fishing village, with a modest tourist industry centred around just a few hotels built there in the 1920s. After the decline of fishing in the 1950s, the village looked to tourism to provide an economic boost … and was perfectly positioned to benefit from the rise of the international package holiday in the 1960s. Since then Benidorm has remained our pick of the pops for great value escapes and most of us have fond memories of fun-filled trips to the jewel of the Costa Blanca.
Inevitably, travel snobs will joke about cheap and cheerful package trips, but even for the well-heeled and thoroughly well-travelled, Benidorm retains incredible pulling power … and Benidorm tops many a ‘guilty pleasure’ list.
Situated on the eastern coast of Spain, part of the Valencia region’s famed Costa Blanca, Benidorm boasts two wide sandy beaches, Levante Beach and Poniente Beach, each backed by arcs of palm-lined promenades, bustling bars and rows of Manhattan-style skyscrapers. So distinctive is this tourist landscape that there is a very real prospect of it being recognised shortly as a UNESCO World Heritage Site!
More than four million visitors converge on Benidorm each year, revelling in its glorious climate. While the sunshine-filled months of June through to September remain high season, Benidorm attracts visitors year-round as mild weather prevails. Step on a plane in Belfast and you could be enjoying Benidorm’s legendary sunshine in just three hours …. need we say more?
Benidorm is totally and absolutely geared up to tourism. Whether you are casting aside your inhibitions and cares for a hen- or stag-party, planning a high-end sunshine-spa-and-shopping-splash or booking a golfing escape, it’s all here. Accessible, well organised and, invariably, competitively priced. For those who aren’t natural linguists, there is something reassuring about the prevalence of spoken English.
Want history and culture? Gastronomy your thing? Into music and the arts? Sports-mad and love action escapes? Benidorm can tick all those boxes … and many more besides.
Rather unusually, Benidorm manages to cater for all age groups. For those with tinies in tow, many hotels offer family-friendly pools with kiddie clubs and baby-sitting services. In terms of attractions, they (and you!) will love a trip on the little tourist train which goes around Levante beach area … check out the Terra Natura animal park and get up close and personal with some furry and feathered friends … or visit Festilandia, the small amusement park right in the heart of Benidorm on Avenue Mediterraneo, specifically designed for kids under 12.
Older kids and teenagers will never be short of things to do, for the resort has way more than its fair share of waterparks, theme parks, bowling, mini golf … it’s exhausting just thinking about it!
For those with energy to spare there are great opportunities for sport, with terrific facilities for tennis and easy access to great golfing. Cycling, whether at sedate pace around the resort, or hurtling through the hillside, is also popular. Best – and cheapest – of all, this is a great place to walk, whether you stroll along the sands, promenade or Old Town or hike into the hills which surround Benidorm.
Party-goers (of all ages) will find entertainment in almost every bar, tavern and restaurant and, if you’re ready to club, prepare to dance the night away. Drinks are famously cheap here, with competition between venues as hot as the local weather, but canny visitors pace themselves!
If you’re looking for something a little more sedate, try an afternoon shopping amongst the boutiques and artisan shops of the wonderfully picturesque Old Town, check out the bustling markets … or just kick back and enjoy people-watching amongst the Café Society! If you rustle up a little energy you might opt for a cooking course or try a salsa dancing class … it’s never too late to learn!
This chameleon-like resort truly has something for everyone and there lies the secret of its enduring success.
Value and variety make for a tempting combination, but when you plan a holiday to a major resort it is vital to get your proverbial ‘ducks in a row’. If you are up for the resort’s night life and book a hotel that’s very much in the centre of things, that’s great …. but the same destination won’t seem so hot if you want a family break close to child-friendly entertainment and with plenty to please the grandparents. A chat with your friendly Oasis Travel consultant will help you to find your ‘best Benidorm’.
Our fabulous photos are courtesy of Turisme Comunitat Valenciana and Visit Benidorm