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Costa Blanca Town/City




BenidormThe town of Benidorm is located in the Spanish region of Alicante on the Costa Blanca. In 1953 it was a tiny fishing village unheard of in the UK. That's when local mayor Senor Pedro Zaragoza got on his Vespa scooter and drove 8 hours to Madrid to see the dictator General Franco. His mission: to persuade Franco to lift the ban on bikinis. Franco agreed and the mayor went home to start building one of the most successful tourist resorts the world has ever seen. Now Benidorm is capable of lodging 5 million visitors a year. It's big, built-up and brash attracting young British visitors in droves. Benidorm is literally bursting with life. For energetic types who can beach bash all day and party all night, there's no better place.

Situated 60 kilometres north of Alicante's El Altet airport, Benidorm is easily accessible, particularly to the British market. Flying time from London is two hours and fifteen minutes. The distinctive skyscrapers are this town's trademarks and they dominate the skyline for miles around. Yet you can drive just 20 minutes inland and find yourself in some of the most beautiful mountainous countryside that Spain has to offer. But the vast majority of visitors never leave the resort, simply because it has so much to offer. Alongside the hundreds of hotels, which dominate the town centre, there are thousands of bars, cafes, restaurants, souvenir shops, tattoo parlours, you name it.

Benidorm shops

There's a fantastic variety of entertainment, which comes in every form imaginable - and it's round the clock in high season. Whether you want top class international cabaret acts or bar room karaoke, you'll find it here. Down at the beach there are water sports, glass bottomed boats, banana rides, activity rafts and ferry trips. And on the outskirts of the town there are some major attractions for good value family days out. There's Spain's biggest theme park, Terra Mitica, a huge water park and a wildlife and sea world centre. Visitors flock to Benidorm all year round. But its in July and August that the town really seems to be bursting at the seams with tourists hell-bent on 24-hour fun! In August, when many Spaniards take the whole month off, the Spanish swell the visitor numbers to their annual peak. But it's the Brits who dominate here, with British pubs, British fish and chips and British bodies sizzling on the beaches.

The historical centre is located around the Canfali vantage point, which is the most emblematic image of Benidorm with a white stone balcony and a vantage point. The neoclassical church dedicated to St James the Apostle is also located in this area. The Levante beach can be reached from the Plaza del Castillo either by walking down through the narrow white streets, or through the town's commercial district. The Aiguera Park, designed by Ricardo Bofill, is Benidorm's largest park and divides the town in two. Benidorm's attraction lies in the variety of its leisure amenities, with a wide range of activities for foreign and national tourists, children, teenagers and pensioners. The most popular time to visit is between May and October when the climate is sunny and warm for the vast majority of the time. The temperature can push 40C in August with the sea at a very comfortable 25C. It's too hot for some and Benidorm enjoys a steady stream of visitors throughout the winter months which are ideal for those who like things a little cooler and a little slower.

Things to do:

With more than three miles of wonderful sandy coastline to enjoy, you may never get round to exploring the myriad of delights away from the beach. But there's so much more to Benidorm and its surroundings than beaches and bars. So give your peeling skin a break and check out some of the local places of interest. Here we give you some great ideas for family days out and interesting excursions.

Benidorm: Terra MiticaIf you're on a family holiday then a day out at Spain's biggest theme park, Terra Mitica, on the outskirts of Benidorm is an absolute must. The Paramount pleasure park recreates the lost civilisations of the Mediterranean - ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, Iberia and the Islands. There are heart stopping thrill rides, water chutes, great indoor shows and some innovative street entertainment. Aqualandia, a huge water park five minutes drive from Benidorm's town centre, is another major attraction for adults and kids alike. There's an exciting array of water chutes, daredevil "death" slides, diving displays, pools and play areas - all set in beautifully tended gardens with a magnificent mountain backdrop. Next door to Aqualandia you'll find Mundomar - a marine life and exotic animal park with its marvelous menagerie of colourful creatures including parrots, penguins, seals and dolphins.

Take a boat ride from the port to Benidorm Island, a 30-minute trip which includes the chance to see the local sea, life through a glass-bottomed boat. There are also half-day excursions by boat to the Costa Blanca resort of Calpe to the north. For a day's excursion inland, try a visit to the extraordinary mountain fortress at Guadalest, now one of the top tourist attractions in the whole of Spain. Regular coach tours are organised from Benidorm to this former Moorish stronghold, built in 715. The views are breathtaking and it's a great place for souvenir shopping. Travel north up the coast 11 kilometres from Benidorm to explore the town of Altea with its delightful medieval cobbled streets, excellent restaurants and distinctive blue domed church in the plaza of the old town. Tuesday's a good day to visit when the Costa Blanca's  biggest outdoor market is held here.

Take the Lemon Express from Benidorm and head north in this lovely old style train which wends its way through the olive, lemon and olive groves to the small town of Gata. This is the home of handcrafted wicker goods - you've never seen so many wicker hats, baskets and chairs on display in one street before! And you can visit Gata's guitar factory where handmade guitars are lovingly fashioned from rosewood and mahogany. For the more adventurous types, there are jeep safaris into the mountains and horseback excursions.

Benidorm at night:

Benidorm sunsetBenidorm has acquired a reputation as one of the Mediterranean's top nightspots and rightly so. From the moment the sun goes down there's non stop entertainment in every conceivable form and it keeps going till sun up! There are more discos, cabarets, clubs and pubs packed into one area here than in any other resort in Spain. If you come to Benidorm in high season then brace yourself for one long party!

Benidorm showOne of the top night-time attractions is the Benidorm Palace. Situated on the northern edge of the town, it offers a lavish international cabaret show with top variety acts from around the world. You'll also see some first class flamenco dancing here. A ticket for dinner, drinks and the show is incredibly good value considering the quality of the entertainment. Smaller shows are staged nightly at clubs and pubs throughout Benidorm. Many don't charge an entrance fee so an evening's entertainment cam be enjoyed for the price of a few drinks. The majority of the show bars are on the Levante beach side of Benidorm. There's something for all tastes, from raves to ballroom dancing and 70s revival nights.

The number of centres offering live music and entertainment are too numerous to mention but we'll offer you a sample of the most popular night time haunts. One of the biggest and most popular nightclubs is KM Disco Garden. It can accommodate 5,000 clubbers keeping their whistles wet with no less than 12 bars! The disco is famous for its clever lighting and stunning laser shows. Club lovers also flock to Top of the Pops in Avenida Almeria and Gigolo's disco pub, in the same street, is another favourite. There's no entrance fee at Gigolo's and you just pay normal bar prices (whereas you pay over the odds at the top clubs).

The free entrance and normal prices for drinks makes Rockerfella's Fun Club in Calle Gerona a popular night out (although the raunchy shows here could also have something to do with it!) Lennons in Calle Mallorca offers off-beat theme nights and fun parties and stays busy throughout the year. In the same street you'll find also find the Hippodrome nightclub, one of Benidorm's top clubs, along with the popular Bahamas Fun Pub. At Café Benidorm, also in Calle Mallorca, you'll find disco music, comedians, competitions and everything you need for a top night out. For a night out at the gambling tables, take a short trip down the coast to Casino Costa Blanca in Villajoyosa, south of Benidorm. The 12,100 square foot casino is open from 8pm to 4am and features 38 slot machines and 23 gaming tables.

Beaches and water sport:

Benidorm's beaches and range of leisure amenities explain why has it has become Costa Blanca's main tourist area. Benidorm has some of the best beaches in the world. The fine sand, cleaned daily, the quality of the services and the transparency of the water are the main reasons given by Benidorm's many visitors. There is a small cove between the Playa de Poniente and the old town centre, known as the Playa del Mal Pas, which can be reached from the port or from stairs that descend from the castle.Benidorm beachBenidorm proudly boasts two of the biggest, cleanest and most popular beaches in Spain. The two huge sweeping crescents stretch for a total of 6 kilometres and are known as "Levante" and "Poniente", Spanish for sunrise and sunset. With consistently high quality Blue Flag bathing water, lifeguard patrols, a wealth of water sports and beachfront cafes, the beaches of Benidorm can rival the best in the world. For the young (or at least young at heart!) Levante beach is the place to be on those long and not so lazy summer days. It's where the teenagers gather to see and be seen, the families flock for all-day entertainment for the kids and older people sit for hours and watch in fascination as Benidorm's beach life goes by.

The beaches are sandy and slope gently into the water providing endless hours of fun in the shallows for small children. Further out to sea are the adventure rafts with slides, swinging bridges and diving boards. Lifeguards are on hand throughout the summer season and the beaches are pristine each morning thanks to a mammoth daily sweep-up by the local council. For a slightly less hectic day out on the beach, head for Poniente, it tends to be less crowded and is perfect for a lazy day of swimming and sunbathing. Benidorm fireworks

For the benefit of families with very young children, the local council has recently erected huge colourful picture board signs along the beaches to be used as easy to spot meeting points. Perfect for children who stray then can't remember which sunshade among the thousands is mum's! The council has also made big efforts to provide ramps and other facilities to make the beaches more accessible to disabled people.

Water sports abound during the peak months and include water sking, jet sking, paragliding, scuba diving and boat trips around the bay and along the coast. To book boat rides, including an interesting trip to Benidorm Island with the chance to see the local marine life through a glass-bottomed boat, go to the jetty in the port at Poniente beach. At the port you'll also find the Costa Sub Aqua Club who can arrange a fascinating underwater exploration of the local reefs, wrecks, islands and other dive sites. The rich variety of Mediterranean marine life in these waters includes barracuda, octopus, bream, moray eels, sunfish, colourful corals and lobsters.


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