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Benidorm is a great choice for a cheap beach break, with year-round sunshine, always-on nightlife and family-friendly theme parks. But beyond its obvious appeal, there are countless more reasons to choose Benidorm, including good diving, an appealing old town and a beautiful natural park right on its door step.
That said, there’s no getting away from the fact that the city’s star attraction is, and always will be, its coastline. Blessed with three long, wide stretches of sand, Benidorm is the classic beach break destination. The most popular of the three is 2km-long (1.3 mile) Playa de Levante, which lies to the east of the others within Benidorm’s main tourist zone. It's rather built up, but the trade-off for the backdrop of apartment blocks is a wide range of bars and cafes.
The shallow, gently shelving waters are perfect for children too; families have been a big part of Benidorm's renaissance, and if you haven't been for a while you might be surprised at how much the tourist mix has changed since the party-focused 80s and 90s.
Three streets back from Playa de Levante is Calle Gerona, a nightlife strip that's crammed full of raucous pubs, cabaret venues, sports bars and casinos. You’ll also find plenty of places to eat in the streets around here, from international fast food chains and British cafes to local seafood restaurants.
West of Playa de Levante is Benidorm’s hidden treasure: the Old Town. Leaving behind the skyscrapers and crowds of the city centre to its east, the cobbled, maze-like streets of Benidorm’s historic centre are a delight to explore on foot. At its southernmost tip you’ll find the blue-domed church of San Jaime y Santa Ana and the Plaça de Castelar, from where you can soak up a 360° view of the city, its three beaches and the mountains that surround it.
Head west again and you come to the smallest of Benidorm’s beaches: Playa del Malpas. From here, you can walk down along the sea wall for the views, or a little further west to the city’s marina, which is the place to head to if you want to get out on the water.
Benidorm’s westernmost beach – and its longest at 3.2km (2 miles) – is Playa de Poniente. Thanks to its length and its distance from central Benidorm, it usually feels significantly less crowded than Levante. Beyond this, a promenade leads to the quieter, lower-rise enclave of La Cala. There are a few playgrounds dotted along the beach, and palm trees offer some respite from the Costa Blanca sun. It's also a good place to get out on the water, with pedalos – Spanish beach essentials, if you ask us – available for hire.
Southwards facing and backed by mountains, Benidorm benefits from a sheltered position, which means that even winters here are mild and pleasant. Unsurprisingly, the resort is at its busiest during July and August, with prices highest during the school holidays. Easter is also relatively expensive for the same reason.
If you can, save money and visit during the shoulder season months of May, June, September and early October, when you’ll still enjoy gloriously sunny weather but encounter far fewer crowds. Though winter here is mild, it’s unlikely to be warm enough for prolonged sunbathing – but if you’re happy just strolling along the promenade and soaking up some winter rays from a seaside café then it can be a great time to pick up a cheap holiday to Benidorm.
A week-long celebration of fireworks, parades and parties dedicated to the Virgin, whose image was discovered in a shipwreck off the coast of Benidorm in 1740. The main parade re-enacts the Virgin’s first visit to the city.
The Fallas Fiesta started out as a traditional carpentry competition where local wood workers would attempt to carve the best likeness of Saint Joseph. Today, it has become a five-day party of live music, colourful parades and dazzling fireworks.
Benidorm’s nearest airport is at Alicante, about 58km (36 miles) southwest of the city. Fortunately, it’s easy to reach the resort from here: frequent bus services run direct from the airport to Benidorm, and it’s also possible to connect to Alicante’s tram system that travels on to Benidorm. Taxis are available too, and many package holidays include private or group hotel transfers from the airport.
If you’re planning on getting out beyond the city, hiring a car from Alicante airport is a great option, with local and international rental firms based at the airport. See more on our Benidorm car hire page.
Within Benidorm itself, there is little need for a car. The city is relatively compact and easy to explore on foot, and a good network of buses can help you get out of the main centre – for example to La Cala or to the Aqualandia waterpark. Children travel for free on buses.
The tram system is also handy, running up the coast from Alicante to La Cala and central Benidorm, and beyond to Denia in the north. It's a great (and cheap) alternative to hiring a car if you want to get further out of the city.
The ancient hilltop village of Guadalest, one of Spain’s most visited attractions, is just over 15 miles away from Benidorm. Get there early to avoid crowds.
Away from the bright lights and bouncing bars of the new city, Benidorm Old Town retains its Spanish charm. Here you’ll find traditional tapas bars aplenty.
Fancy a break from the beach? Nearby Calpe is a magnet rock climbers who flock here in droves to take on its limestone crags.
Take a stroll down memory lane and see what these classic holiday hotspots were like over 50 years ago.Read more