Benidorm: party, beach, sun and good vibes
Today I'm bringing you somewhere new to add to my collection of places. This coastal city is found in the province of Alicante. It's quite a well known place in Spain because of its clubs and above all, its great atmosphere. The beach isn't bad but it's true that there are load soft rocks and the beach in itself isn't very wide. Even so, it's worth a trip even if it's only for the nice atmosphere they have there.
How to get to Benidorm
If you want to get there by public transport you can catch a bus in Madrid, the South Bus Station (Méndez-Álvaro), and there's one that takes you there directly without stopping in every town along the way like the bus in Alicante does. But, it's worth it. By bus from Madrid it takes around 6 hours. On the way, they tend to always stop every two hours so the driver can rest for about 20 minutes or half an hour.
If you want to go by car, it takes a lot less time. From Madrid, it takes around 4 and a half hours, and with a stop it would take 5. It also depends on how fast the driver is going, as if you go at 160km/h it would take a lot less time. But don't go this fast, always respect the speed limits, as it's only a question of arriving a tiny little bit earlier anyway.
Another option to get to Benidorm is to catch a train in Atocha to Alicante and from there you can catch a bus or another train to our destination. I wouldn't advise you do this though, because I think that the train will do a lot more stops through cities and so it'd take longer than the bus.
I would recommend that you go by bus as you can forget about worrying about the trip. It's true that you'll arrive earlier if you went by car but later you'll be on the look out for somewhere to park it and it's a hassle for the driver after so many hours behind the wheel. But anyway, everyone can choose what they'd prefer to do. In my case I have been through both means of transport, bus and car and as it wasn't me who was driving, it was much better by car. But I know that it isn't the most comfortable for the driver.
What to do in Benidorm and how to move about
Once you arrive, you'll see the same atmosphere on every corner. Other things Benidorm might not have, but there's always a party. It doesn't matter if it's a Monday, Tuesday, Saturday, Sunday or Wednesday. It's true that at the weekend it's obvious that there are a lot more people, but you'll always find a good atmosphere.
In the first place, I must tell you that Benidorm is divided into two parts, the Easterly beach and the Westerly beach. This has nothing to do with one zone over the other, I only wanted to say that one is for the day and the other's for the night. Where I was talking about before, with respect to there being a lot of atmosphere, that there's always people and wherever you go there will always be a party, I was referring to the Easterly beach. Next, I'm going to make a small division between the two zones so everything makes a bit more sense.
- This beach is characterised by always being full of people, despite it being quite a lot worse than the West beach. It's not a very sandy beach, as over nearly the whole area there are rocks and stones and there is algae all over it, and it's a little bit more dirty. To the left, there's a type of wooden platform where you can do water skiing.
- In terms of the beach, it definitely leaves you wanting more, but the people create a very friendly atmosphere. This is the reason that this zone is a lot more occupied by tourists. Anyway, it's true that the travel agencies always recommend this area. I still haven't discovered the logic behind this but I guess that it's basically because of what I said before; people gravitate towards people. I have to say that it really depends on the people that go there to spend the summer. It's not the same as going on a calm holiday with your family than with a group of friends to have a good time. And it's not the same if you're an older person and you go with your partner or with organised groups. In this case, I would choose a quieter area (the West beach). Although they have everything there, you can't place everyone under the same umbrella, of course.
- What I also wanted to comment on near this zone, is that there are loads of clubs. This area is where all the partying happens, on the East side. It has clubs such as KM, Penelope, Richards, and some others with a swimming pool and the whole of the area further away, by the road. I haven't been to those ones myself but people have told me that they're really good.
- On the left side of the beach, where you'll find a hotel called "Benikaktus" which is characterised by its lights that can be seen from any part of the walkway, is a "guiri" zone ("guiri" is a pejorative Spanish word for foreigners, usually tourists who stick out as not local). So it's a small neighbourhood with bars, clubs, shops where tourists and inhabitants of Benidorm who are from England dominate. This area is called "Rincon de Lois" which is very famous for having a very English environment.
- The hotel area is much more separated from this zone. Its true that there are a lot of flats as well but what stands out the most are the hotels.
- There are loads of shops of all kinds, you won't have any problem finding a shop that sells whatever you need. There are also hundreds of souvenir shops.
- So, this is the calm but spectacular little beach, because of the sand and land it has. There doesn't tend to be a lot of people there and also it's a lot bigger, cleaner and there aren't any rocks anywhere. When people say "I'm going to Benidorm for the summer", they only think this zone exists (the East side), and they completely miss this beach on the other side. That's one of the reasons why there isn't a huge quantity of tourists here on this beach.
- On the other hand, one part that adds to the marvel of this beach is the setting of it. This zone stands out because of its tranquility and how it's much more of a family-orientated area. If you want a calm holiday with a lovely beach without the stress of other tourists, I believe that this is the perfect setting.
- When it comes to hotels in this area, there aren't as many as there are on the East beach. Although, it's true that there's one very famous one that was the highest hotel in several cities around this area, El Bali. I was lucky enough to enjoy numerous holidays there, and it's an authentic wonder. Many people that go there to spend the summer spend more time inside than out. I'm referring to the quantity of activities, parties, pools and shops it has inside... it's honestly amazing.
- During the night there's nothing more than partners walking round, groups of older friends, but everything is very chilled. I've already told you that the East represents the night and the West represents the day when it comes to their amount of activity.
- Personally, I really like this zone but I know that there's nothing more than one bar and some places with more of pub-style vibe to go out properly to. There might be one club, but there's basically nothing for this type of night out. What I do know I saw a lot of when I went to this beach were restaurants and ice cream parlours. But they do have a lot of these on the East beach, and they tend to have them on most beaches actually.
- An important fact that you should take note of is the general price for things here. It's much cheaper to rent an apartment in this area than nearer the East beach. The same thing more or less happens with hotels apart from the Gran Hotel Bali, although I keep thinking that if this hotel was on the East beach it would be a lot more expensive.
When it comes to moving around Benidorm and what to do in the city, I firstly want to tell you that I walked the whole beach from Hotel Bali on the West beach all the way until the Benikaktus hotel on the West beach. I went for a wander, but it was a true corker of a walk. It was something like 16 kilometres long. It's true that it went by pretty quickly for me because I had been training, looking around and I also had a gelato ice cream in my hand (soooo tasty). I recommend that you book a hotel/apartment that isn't too far from the beach as even though it's cheaper, it'll end up being more expensive. This will be because you'd have to travel for ages every day and it takes more than 20 minutes to get there and the same to get back. In the second place, there are a lot of bargains and you can always find one. If you're going with friends, it's better to go to an apartment. You can all pay together which makes it a lot cheaper. When it comes to the area you should go to if you're young, I recommend the East beach but not the corner of "Lois". I would always recommend you stay closer to the old town as the beach is better and you're in the middle of the club zone, where they have KM, Penelope, Richard's, etc.
Also, there's a very good taxi service that works throughout the whole of Benidorm. This goes for the buses too that come every 15 minutes. However, if you go on a night out, it's much better to get a taxi on the way back as it's not that expensive.
My family experience in Benidorm
I have spent the summer in Benidorm with my family for many years and I actually know the place quite well. I've had the experience of being in both a hotel and an apartment, and I think that you should stay in a hotel if you're going with family. One year we were in the Hotel Rosamar, as I was always on the East beach with them, my parents and my sister, and some years my grandparents came too. The Hotel Rosamar was very close to the Rincon de Lois and the beach area we had to hand was a little bit rocky. We had to move over to the right to get to a more accessible area.
On another of the times I went with my parents and sister, we stayed in an apartment and we were a little more towards the middle of the beach as the previous time we had been by the Lois corner and there were rocks. So, for the next time we learnt and chose a more central beach area to avoid the rocks. You'll probably be wondering after me telling you how good the West beach was with the great family atmosphere that there is, why my parents always opted for the East beach. Well, there's an explanation for everything. In the first place, we decided to go there for the summer when my sister and I were quite small. I was around 12 and my sister was 7. We went to a travel agency and they told my parents that it was the best area with respect to the atmosphere and that the beach was very good. So in short, they tricked us a little bit because when we went, we saw that the beach wasn't where our hotel was (and I'm referring to the proximity of it). They fooled us a little bit, and afterwards we saw perfectly well what had happened, and the following year we asked for an apartment that was in a better location in terms of the beach.
The reason why my parents didn't want to go to the West beach was because they really liked the atmosphere of the East beach. So, there was a bit of a dilemma between the worse beach having a better atmosphere and the better beach having a considerably worse atmosphere. So, as my parents had always liked this part of Benidorm much more, for the following few years, instead of having an apartment we decided to go to a hotel that was located between the East and West beach. This was a compromise between the good beach and atmosphere as well. It was the best option. The Hotel was right in the old town of Benidorm, which is where I would recommend that you get a hotel or apartment. And it was also not expensive at all. It was all very well-priced and it was well situated. The West beach is a 5 minute walk away and the East atmosphere is very close by too.
The old town of Benidorm
This is one of my favourite areas in this city. I really like the viewpoint there and the ancient atmosphere that can be seen for miles. There's a church with a very pretty door (which looks like gold) and loads of narrow streets with bars and a lot of atmosphere as well. From the viewpoint you can see the Mediterranean sea and the triangular rock in the middle of it that characterises Benidorm (you can see it from any point on the beach but it looks cooler from the viewpoint). One of the other things that characterises the viewpoint of the Mediterranean (known by this name) is the amount of people that there are painting portraits, selling bracelets and ornaments, doing oil paintings, etc. This is very typical of Spanish beaches, people painting landscapes or portraits of people and selling them, and on souvenir stalls. I really liked going here with my parents when I was little to enjoy the summer atmosphere with a gelato ice cream in hand.
My mum took this photo of me on the well at the viewpoint one of the times I went with my family.
My experience in Benidorm with friends
On the other hand, I want to tell you about my experiences with my friends in Benidorm. As I told you before, I have been to Benidorm three times with my family, but I went a few more times with my friends. The experience of going with friends is not the same as going with family, and you can't compare it. So, when it comes to choosing an apartment or hotel, don't opt for the same. The same goes for when it comes to making plans or going to the beach at one time or another.
I'm going to tell you about my holiday in 2012 in a lot of detail. 2 friends of mine and I, Alba and Cristina, wanted to go to the beach during the summer, during which I turned 18. After talking and suggesting a number of places, for example places that were typical for partying and where you'll find loads of young people. We really looked, and we found places with a young atmosphere, but those ones didn't have a calm beach to walk down during the night. I spent the day talking about it with Cristina, and she said that she had an apartment on the West side of Benidorm. It was one option as we wouldn't have to spend money on anything else but food that we needed, and drinks we'd buy on a night out. The truth is that it looked great, and although it was the West side of the beach, we could always get a taxi to get to the East side, as we wouldn't be spending much on anything else. So, that would be the least of our problems. After having spoken to her parents and having confirmed that we could go there, we decided that Benidorm would be our summer destination, how exciting!
Now, we had to decide dates and book a bus that would take us there. When it came to dates, it was going to have to be when Cristina's parents let us as the apartment was rented out for quite a lot of dates over the summer. Finally, we went in July which is a good month to go to Benidorm although it's good in any summer month, with July and August being the best. We went around the 20-27th July. Once we had the exact date, the next step was to look at how we would get to Benidorm. The idea of going by car had been suggested but none of us had our driving license yet. We wanted to go the most comfortable way, on the bus, so we could disconnect and do our own thing. We could sleep, eat or do anything we wanted. On the internet we saw that the bus would take about 6 hours and it was a direct trip. We left from the south bus station, the same one I mentioned when I was talking about going to Salamanca. We had to do the same trip, Renfe had to fill up, Mendez Alvaro, South Bus Station. We were lucky enough that Alba's dad actually took us there, which was an advantage because we would have had to get the bus really early in the morning and if we didn't arrive on time, we would have had to take the first train which was at 6am and the first place it stops is Madrid from Guada very early, at 5:30am.
Well, we were lucky because her dad took us to the southern bus station where we simply had to see which stop the bus was leaving from as we had already bought our tickets. The trip was quite pleasant because when you go on a bus with your friends, it makes the trip seem a lot shorter than going on your own. There's always something to talk about or something stupid to do. And if not, you can listen to your music and disconnect for a bit. Once we arrived in Benidorm, the bus stopped in the bus station and we got a taxi from there to Cristina's house, or better said, apartment.
The apartment was on the West side, and a 10 minute walk from the beach. With respect to the beach it was quite a good location, but the only problem was that during the nights we would have to get a taxi home, to get from one side of the city to the other. Our plan was beach, party, sleep, beach, party, sleep and that's exactly what we did every day. We also did a bit of tourism like going for a walk around the touristic places and up to the viewpoint. We walked along the beach where the wind took us, and a little more.
Where we went out in Benidorm: the clubs, bars and ice cream parlours
Well, as I've already told you, the fact you're going with your friends instead of your family or a partner changes the holiday a lot. We went out nearly every night. We were in clubs like Richard's, Penelope, or KM. The one I liked the most was Penelope, as I liked the both the inside and the outside of this club. Bear in mind that girls don't have to pay to get into any of the clubs, but boys do. There is more or less the same atmosphere inside every club, but the music does vary a bit. Also, on the other hand there's Richard's club where people from Big Brother, Mujeres y Hombres y Viceversa (a Spanish dating show) and all kinds of TV programs like this. If you like the celebrity world, the programs on Telecinco and things like that, if you go to Benidorm you're definitely going to see someone famous. Without a doubt you'll find some sort of celebrity from telly in this city, for example Belen Esteban tends to come here a lot, and those from Big Brother or Mujeres y Hombres y Viceversa. When we were in Richard's we met Marcelo, who was a competitor on Big Brother and is in a couple with that years winner, or we were at least together for a while in the bar. We saw him in that club and we got a photo with him. I personally didn't really get the hype over him so much, nor the programs themselves, but we took a photo with him anyway in the spur of the moment. And, you already know that at 18 years old, seeing a celebrity makes you go crazy.
On the other hand, in the evenings when we went to the beach, we really liked to go to a bar to get an ice cream or slushie afterwards. Right where the beach is, there was a bar with slushies with every kind of flavour that were so tasty. There was an ice cream parlour called Pinoccio and they made crepes, ice creams and waffles that made you want to lick your fingers.
I have to say that it was one of the best holidays that I've ever had, and we really made the most of the beach, nightlife and the atmosphere they had there. There are a lot of different areas where you can choose what you would personally prefer, whether it be calm, lively or a tourist zone. I would recommend coming here particularly if you want to have a really good time and visit a new place. Until not long ago, it was the European city of skyscapers, with the Bali hotel.
I took this photo when I went to Benidorm with my parents when I was little. Here it is:
As you can see it's a big hotel, with 54 floors and it's an important and iconic monument in Benidorm. Not many people have gone there and not heard about the Bali hotel beforehand. I had the opportunity to spend a few holidays here not very long ago, and it's one of a kind. There are some views of spectacular pools, so the beach isn't very far from this honestly. Even being students, I would really recommend renting an apartment. It works out cheaper and you always have more freedom in terms of schedules.
I hope you've enjoyed reading and that you now want to visit Benidorm, known as the Miami of Spain.