Did you know Benidorm is the ultimate Spanish destination for us Brits for adventure, culture, nature and definitely no drinking?
‘What?!’ You may scream. ‘Isn’t Benidorm a resort place where you see chavs rolling out of the beach and pool bars absolutely drunk before nearly being run over by grannies on buggies? (Thanks Benidorm programme)
Benidorm is beautiful, scenic, full of happy-go-lucky Spanish people, the place to go explore and have adventures to last a lifetime.
When I was invited by the Benidorm Tourism Board to change the typical view held by Britons, I thought I’d be hard pressed to showcase Benidorm other than a drinking destination. I was totally wrong. It’s that easy to undertake an experience of a lifetime for you, your partner and for your family and friends.
And I’ll tell you why.
Yummy high-class Spanish food
Benidorm started as a small fishing village so it comes to no surprise that the swimming creatures can be found also on your plate (thankfully not alive). But it’s how the locals cook them in either their high-class rooftop /beach side restaurants such as Villa Venecia or Madeira Centro or perhaps in the exquisite Old Town surrounded by old buildings and the charming Spanish way of life. I’ll tell you now, you need to take a pair of trousers or a skirt a size bigger as your stomach will be groaning over your loosened belt.
There’s four words that will stop you in your tracks and get frantically booking your Easyjet flight from where you are to Alicante: Europe’s Biggest Water Park. Or you can just call it Aqualandia. If that doesn’t get your heart racing with excitement, then more fool you. You can imagine me screaming like a busty girl with a big set of lungs as I top-turved and sailed down twisting and daring water slides that is enough to spike your adrenaline and endorphin levels.
My favourite definitely has to be the one in which I was placed in a capsule, standing, and as the door was closed, a trapdoor under my feet opened, plummeting me down over what felt like a few hundred feet before the slide caught me throwing me up in the air a few times before landing with a ginormous splash in the pool. Getting my breath back, I simply had a huge grin on my face. Not only there are death defying slides, there’s also a water obstacle course, a wave pool, a spa area and a huge pool to simply swim in before sunbathing to your heart’s delight. I recommend visiting in the morning as the crowds will be quiet and more importantly, no queues for the slides!
Captain of your own boat
Keeping with the water theme, did you know you could hire your own boat from Benidorm Marine and Diving Stones and sail in Spanish Waters? It’s a small motor boat, I grant you, but you’ll be speeding your way happily to Benidorm Island to snorkel the sea bed around it. Perhaps you’ll see that fish you’ll be eating soon!
Off-roading into the Wilderness
Take a break from the beach and satisfy your inner bear grylls by taking an off-roading jeep tour with Marco Polo Expeditions to climb the hills and mountains of Benimantell National Park surrounding the city of Benidorm. Action packed, you’ll find yourself wind-whipped with a daft grin on your face as you’re hurled through rough terrain, horse tracks and even racing towards a sheer drop before sharply braking to enjoy the panoramic view of Benidorm’s skyline.
You’ll also visit Castell de Guadelest as part of the journey where you check out a weirdly creepy reservoir that’ll get your cat claiming your curiosity. But it is a shoppers’ dream browsing through homemade antiques and good quality materials. So good, that we ended up carrying a room wide rug with us!
Staying in a rather posh hotel just for adults
There’s no baby screaming its head off causing blood to stream out of your ears.
There’s no awkward questions about where babies come from.
Also, there’s no kids water fighting in the pool that will interrupt your serene experience sunbathing in the sun.
Yes, Marconfort Essence Hotel and Spa is an adult getaway and rather posh hotel for those looking to get away from those pesky creatures that should be seen and not heard.
Staying for four nights, this hotel definitely offers a relaxing experience that isn’t a far walking distance from Old Town Benidorm. My mouth dropped open when I walked into my room when I realised I had my own large living room, a luxurious double bedroom, a balcony facing the sea and a rather plush bathroom that even the queen wouldn’t mind. The main thing for me was the quietness of the room. It felt like I could do anything I wanted and still not hear anything back.
Even sitting on the balcony, I couldn’t hear anything from the roads and I swear I could hear a spider rubbing its legs together!
However, my air con was on the blink so I couldn’t exactly escape from the hot spell that Benidorm was experiencing.
Breakfast was fine. Again, there were buffet food and it wasn’t as high a standard I was expecting. I always prefer freshly made breakfasts upon ordering.
Other than that, the staff was also fantastic and gracious.
Would I come here again? I’m in no rush to come back but I’d still recommend it to others.
Terra Mitica Theme Park
Did you know Benidorm has is an ancient multicultural theme park called Terra Mitica that combines history with thrill-seeking rides?
Yeah I was confused myself. The theme park is split into five zones: Egypt, Greece, Rome, Iberia and the Mediterranean Islands. But after the stand-offish entrance that probably had me cowering in front of the Sphinx, I really started to enjoy myself. Throwing myself in such gusto on the water slides especially the drench-making log flume ride and of course, the topsy-turvy rollercoaster rides that often found my stomach in my mouth at thrilling moments! I loved it!
Old Town Benidorm
One of my favourite parts of Benidorm has definitely got to be the Old Town. It’s a world apart from the high-rise hotels that straddle either side along the beaches. It’s eccentric, local, charming and best of all, Spanish.
Here you’ll find the best food on offer, the best night life to party at and the authentic experience you will crave for on its cobbled streets and winding back alleys. It’s just so simply relaxing and you don’t bat an eyelid at having a drink and perhaps a bit of Paella in a narrow alley restaurant.
It’s also here that you will find the best close up of Benidorm too.
A must see: A Wine Tour at Mendoza’s Winery
Mendoza’s Winery, family run by Enrique Mendoza and his Grandfather, is just a short drive out of Benidorm but totally worth the visit. You’ll certainly feel at home here among the rustic atmosphere during your tour of the cellars and green fields in this quiet corner of Costa Blanca.
But it’s the wine-tasting that everyone looks forward to and the experience doesn’t disappoint. Along with cured meats and cheeses that help you figure out the tastes of the fruity wines on your delighted taste buds, you will be, for sure, be buying crates of the good stuff. Just remember to bring a spare suitcase!
Ah, I can’t not say anything about the sun-kissed golden beaches that attracts Brits in their droves in search for the Mediterranean sun. Despite a small enclave of those yobbish Brits, I found that the majority of the beaches were quiet, utterly relaxing, comfortable and gorgeous!
Even the surf was exhilarating, its cool touch to the skin giving you a spa experience that will see you constantly dip in and out. Just remember to bring sun cream and a towel and you’ll be in your element!
Benidorm Gay Pride
One of the main reasons why I came to Benidorm is to be a #MyGayPride Ambassador for Benidorm Pride, which takes place in Mid-September every year. Luckily, I was able to experience my first pride then and what a fantastic initiation!
The first night of the week-long Benidorm Pride was kicked off with a high class ‘White Party’ at the headland plaza of Mirador del Castillo in the Old Town. Observed by the rest of the city, we partied away, dressed in white, on white rustic tiled floors and pillars while we listened to international DJs and musical acts that kept us entertained. The cocktails are one to watch out for!
The weekend sees the acts move to the main stage at Auditorium Julio Iglesias set as a Roman coliseum. This is where everyone meets and greets in this high energetic, packed and well received party. Many acts include the fantabulous ‘Gaga Xpression’, a Girls Aloud Tribute Act and a surprising Conchita Wurst tribute act.
They emphasised Benidorm Pride’s message of equality, inclusion, love and acceptance whoever you are. That message struck a chord widely during Benidorm Pride’s parade alongside Levante Beach that was cheered immensely by holiday-makers who blew kisses and declarations of love at us, and vice versa.
But let’s talk about Benidorm Pride in greater detail another time…
Verdict on Benidorm
Put it this way. I want to come back to Benidorm again, again and again.
I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface during my five day trip to Benidorm and, yet, my perspective of this tourist destination has completely changed.
I was apprehensive about coming to this city and I thought I would be driving mobility scooters only to the beach and back to where I would be lounging beside a pool holding up an overpriced drink.
I was wrong. Wrong, wrong, WRONG! I couldn’t have been more wrong!
It only took less than a day for me to see how awesome Benidorm is. And everyday since then, my belief that Benidorm is probably one of the top five European destinations to visit became stronger.
So much so, I was a little upset at leaving. I wanted to see more. I wanted to experience more activities, adventures, culture and stuff my belly of high-class food.
But what about drinking yourself senseless like other Brits think that we do?
Oh, that? I haven’t got time for that. And why should I? I want to remember Benidorm for the really amazing place that it is. And I don’t need any alcohol to help me.
Find out more about Benidorm Tourism: Click here
See More: My 42 Awesome Pictures of Benidorm
Gay Star News was the official media partner for #MyGayPride
Disclaimer: Thanks to Benidorm Tourism Board for providing activities and accommodation. However, as always, all opinions are my own.