5 Must-Do Activities in Benidorm
It’s the skyline of course, visible when the wing of the aeroplane dips and we cross the coast to land at Alicante. Think of a ribbon of white sand backed by a Lego block world of apartments and hotels. Benidorm is where the package holiday boom began. The transformation from fishing village to beachside metropolis has not been without incident – ten years ago a reputation for lager-related exuberance caused Benidorm’s reputation to wobble a little. All is now restored and today Benidorm enjoys a reputation as a vibrant, family friendly resort with excellent nightlife and choice of restaurants.
Mid Week Markets
Every Wednesday and Sunday Benidorm market springs to life. It takes a good couple of hours to discover everything as you wander through the narrow shaded aisles between stalls. On Sundays it can be particularly crowded and, as in any other street market, can attract the attention of the light-fingered. Locals use money clips rather than wallets and you’d be advised to do the same.
Nature and Wildlife – Top Two
Peacock Island is a twenty minute boat ride from the beach and is an enjoyable trip. There are nature trails laid out across the island and a passenger carrying submarine for an up close and personal view of the sealife.
Terra Natura has been described a zoo for people who don’t like zoos. It’s a wildlife park where the intention is to bring the visitor as close to the animals as possible with few visible barriers. It works well. Try outstaring a tiger or exchanging sign langauge with a chimpanzee.
Historical Town of Altea
Just 12 km from Benidorm by bus is the historic town of Altea, a maze of twisting cobbled streets that grant an occasional glimpse of the sea. The labyrinthine streets of Altea were laid out to baffle the pirates and Barbary Corsairs who raided up and down this coast until the 19th century. It’s not difficult to half-close your eyes here and imagine frantic running battles up and down stone stairs between cutlass-wielding pirates and local militias.
They know how to put on a show hereabouts. The Cabaret at Benidorm Palace is justifiably famous and is an essential stopover for anyone who adores feathers and spectacle. Expect top acts from the international circuit, reasonably priced drinks and an evening that will dazzle and delight. It’s not the only cabaret in town. Cafe Benidorm has four shows a night, features an 80’s soundtrack and closes at 8AM. Also try Sinatra’s, where you’ll hear homages to the ratpack until the early hours.
Benidorm has been welcoming British visitors for half a century. It’s skyscraper skyline and shaded streets hide hundreds of bars, restaurants and clubs. True, some are traps for tourists, with overpriced drinks, frozen fish and pizza but there are others hidden in the shaded canyons that afford a true taste of real Spain. A plate of grilled sardines and a San Miguel will do nicely.
Enjoy your stay!
Adriano Comegna writes on behalf of Thomson holidays, a leading travel operator specialising in Benidorm holidays .