What do you think of when you hear the word ‘Benidorm’? Probably leathery old Brits taking up residency in favour of the Costa Brava sunshine (and efficient Spanish healthcare) and 27 year olds called ‘Barry’ getting blindingly drunk and looking for ‘Sticky Vicky’ on Gazza’s stag do. Oh, and that god awful TV series. I’d be lying if I said those things don’t exist, but it’s only a small portion of what is actually a beautiful coastal city with far-reaching ocean views, winter sun, salty tapas, sweet sangria and activities a plenty. It’s a place for everyone, whether you’re about lying by the pool from morning ’til dusk or setting off for daily adventures up on the cliff tops.
Here’s why you should give Benidorm a chance:
I travelled to Benidorm with Jet2holidays and Visit Benidorm to discover the lesser known gems of the area. You can take Jet2 flights to Alicante; a short drive from the Costa Blanca. I’ll be totally honest (as always): it’s not somewhere I would ever have thought to book. That only made it all the sweeter when I discovered what a wonderful time there is to be had there and how misguided the unforgiving preconceptions most of us hold about the city are.
1. The weather is infinitely better than in the UK
Sinking your toes into white sand on far reaching beaches is undoubtedly all the more satisfying knowing everyone at home is dusting off their hats and scarves. You get to be that smug person on Facebook holding your glass of Sangria up in front of the Mediterranean sun.
2. The stunning cliffs rival those in far flung destinations
Fun fact: the cliffs at (?) were scouted out by the Game of Thrones location crew. In the end they went with another area, but that tells you how beautiful they are. Craggy, sheer drops tumble into a deep blue sea and you could easily be stood in Cape Town or Croatia.
3. There are loads of activities to fulfil any adventure seeker
I’m not going to lie, the word ‘activities’ never fills me with joy. I’m not one for organised fun and the word ‘outdoorsy’ makes me inwardly groan. But (and it’s a big but), Benidorm provided the exception: electric cycling. After I got over the initial struggle – a hill, and I’d forgotten to actually switch my bike on – I loved zooming along the cliff tops with the wind in my hair. With vantage points offering views across the city, the beach and out to sea further than they eye can reach, it’s one of my favourite ways I’ve spent a morning in a while!
Other options include things like off-roading jeep tours, jet skis, scuba diving, golfing and – if you’re less athletically inclined – wine tasting; there is literally something for everyone.
4. Tapas is like all the best bits from a never-ending picnic
The Spanish love their food. Benidorm is full of great restaurants including adorable tapas bars where you can munch away on patatas bravas, calamari and paella to your hearts content. The best bit is, holiday calories don’t count. Just saying.
5. You can stay in beautiful places at great value
We stayed at the Melia Villaitana via Jet2holidays; a total oasis about a 10 minutes drive from the heart of Benidorm. Nestled in the hills, there are sweeping views across plush green golf courses to the city skyline and beyond into the ocean where you’ll witness some beautiful sunrises. The Village has three different pools, a tranquil spa, white-pillared courtyards and calming spaces at a fraction of the cost that you might expect to pay. It’s a great place to chill out, soak up the sun and use as a base for venturing into Benidorm and beyond.
There are plenty of Jet2 Flights from Manchester in the north, and London in the south. They are without a doubt the best budget airline I’ve ever travelled with (and I drew that conclusion as a paying customer long before working with them): there’s leg room, a generous bag policy and Jess Glynn at every opportunity. What’s not to love? So next time you’re booking a European escape, think twice about ruling out Benidorm.