Benidorm offers endless possibilities. From taking a walk on the promenaded to swimming, water activities or just getting on a boat excursion to the island of Benidorm. All that without forgetting the local holiday celebrations and the succulent gastronomy that specialises in rice dishes and seafood. Benidorm is one of the biggest tourist centres of the Costa Blanca.
The fine-sand beaches, the crystal waters and privileged climate have granted this region -also equipped with a great infrastructure of high-quality services- its well-deserved fame. Doubtlessly, the beaches are one of Benidorm's greatest appeals. A five-kilometre coastline marked by vast sands and secluded coves where one can enjoy a refreshing swim, as well as engage in water sports, like scuba diving, water skiing, windsurfing and sailing, etc.
Located to the north of the harbour, Levante beach is one of the most beautiful in the city. Because of its urban location, it provides easy access to many services and to two kilometres of fine, golden sands. These emblematic sands are bordered by a busy promenade, filled with terraces and restaurants that are very lively at night.
To the south of the region, the Poniente beach unfolds: three kilometres of beautiful scenery. As with the Levante beach, this one has a long promenade as a backdrop and is accessible and convenient, with many services available. Between the two most famous beaches of Benidorm is the Mal Pas cove, a tranquil cove of fine sands, also near the historic quarter and the harbour. In addition, Ti Ximo and La Almadrava emerge on the northern end of Benidorm, where the coast becomes rough and inaccessible.
LEISURE AND THE CITY
Benidorm's historic centre is located on a promontory, between its two main beaches: Levante and Poniente. This is the birthplace of the city, a primitive fishing town dominated by the church of San Jaime. Erected in the 18th century, its bluish domes rise up among an intricate network of narrow streets and alleyways, filled with picturesque little corners.
The peaks of the Canfali hills lead to the Balcón del Mediterráneo, a splendid viewpoint that gives a wonderful panoramic view of the sea. To both sides of the historic quarter lie wide avenues and commercial streets that make up the more modern Benidorm.
The city, devoted to the tourist industry, offers a myriad of services including hotels, restaurants and terraces. Benidorm's recreational possibilities are endless. From taking a work on the promenade to visiting the nearby park of L'Aigüera, or an exciting day in the Mediterranean Theme Park Terra Mítica.
The city also has a number of sporting centres, including a sailing school and several scuba-diving schools. Boat excursions to the little island of Benidorm -located in middle of the inlet-depart from the harbour.
Legend has it that the island is a piece of rock from nearby Mount Campana that brave Roland severed with his sword during the expeditions of Charlemagne. The rich seabed makes it a scuba-diving paradise.
CULTURE, GASTRONOMY AND THE OUTSKIRTS
Seafood and rice dishes are the basis of local gastronomy. Paella is one of the emblematic dishes, as is grilled or boiled seafood and fish, either fried, stewed, or in soup. Garlic and olive oil are the main ingredients of ali-oli sauce, which accompanies many dishes. Dessert includes almond cake, turrones and ice cream.
The wines, with Designation of Origin - Alicante (the prestigious seal of quality and origin given in Spain to select wines and products), misteleta (a sweet wine) and horchata (a drink made from tiger nuts, with protected Designation of Origin) are all typical of the region. Benidorm is a merry and festive town.
The local holidays honour the Virgin of Sufragio and Saint James the Apostle. The celebrations begin on the second Sunday of November and offer a varied programme, including floats, theatre performances and fireworks. A few days later, the Festa de la Carxofa-a very traditional affair-takes place in the historic quarter. Other celebrations worth mentioning are the Bonfires of San Juan and the Moors and Christians festivities, both in June.
The outskirts of Benidorm are of great natural beauty. To the north, the terrain becomes rough, with sierras and cliffs all the way to the sea. In this setting lie the towns of L'Alfàs del Pi and Altea. In addition, next to the Peñón de Ifach Nature Reserve is the town of Calpe, a harmonious place that has managed to combine the preservation of its monumental heritage with the touristic infrastructures.
To the south of Benidorm is the town of Villajoyosa, the capital of Marina Baja. Crossing the Sierra Aitana, inland to the north, there is an interesting journey through Cocentaina -important Medieval town- and Alcoy, a place famous for its Moors and Christians festivals, declared of International Tourist Interest.