What to see and do in Benidorm: beaches, walks and more
Benidorm lies on the Mediterranean coast, on what is known as the Costa Blanca. Along with Madrid and Barcelona, Benidorm has more hotel accommodation than anywhere else in Spain, which gives you some idea of its popularity as a tourist destination. It is the perfect place to enjoy the sea, the sun, a favourable climate, and an immense range of tourist attractions and facilities. This resort is a great place for a family holiday or for a break to enjoy its enticing nightlife.
In addition, there are towns in the area around Benidorm that are well worth a visit, as they still retain the charm of fishing villages of days gone by. Below, we list a few of the highlights not to be missed, along with things to see and do in Benidorm while enjoying a holiday break in what is known as the ‘New York of the Mediterranean’.
What to see in Benidorm
Bustling and lively, Levante beach is one of Benidorm’s busiest beaches. This beach of fine golden sand stretches for over 2 kilometres, while its width averages 55 metres. It has every facility you could imagine, while close to the beach lies a lively seafront promenade lined with shops and restaurants. It is a very inviting spot to enjoy the sun and a dip in the sea, because it has also held Blue Flag status since 1987.
Stretching for over 3 kilometres, this is Benidorm’s longest beach, with an average width of 74 metres. And, although it offers a similar infrastructure to that of Levante, Poniente beach tends to be more family-orientated. Here the sea is calm and the swell is moderate. Like its sister beach, it has a seafront promenade with plenty of restaurants, bars, and craft and souvenir shops. It has also held a Blue Flag since 1987.
Cala de Finestrat
Stretching for over 300 metres and with an average width of 75 metres, the pretty cove of Finestrat is located 3 kilometres from the centre of Benidorm. Here, the sand is fine and golden, and the water calm and crystal-clear. Dominated by the famous Xoriguer rocky crest which marks the end of the beach, this is a particularly charming cove and it, too, has held Blue Flag status since 1987. It has children’s play areas, shops and restaurants around it, and a wide range of water sports is available.
Balcón del Mediterráneo
Also known as the Castle viewing point, the Balcón del Mediterráneo is one of the icons of Benidorm’s historic quarter, and is an essential visit. It marks the boundary between the resort’s two main beaches, the Poniente and the Levante, and affords attractive views of the bay and of the town’s skyline. This is a remarkable structure, finished with a white stone balustrade which, inevitably, has become a tourist attraction — by night as well as by day.
Tío Ximo cove
Concealed between sheer cliffs, at the foot of the Sierra Helada Natural Park, Tío Ximo cove is the perfect place to escape Benidorm’s more crowded attractions to enjoy the sea in a natural setting. The beach is only 60 metres long, but boasts fine sand and a rocky area with limpid waters. With its incredible sea bed, this is a perfect spot to go snorkelling.
The Benidorm Cross
Situated high in the Sierra Helada Natural Park, the viewing point of the famous Benidorm Cross commands a spectacular panorama over the Mediterranean. It can be reached by car or by a relatively easy, 45-minute walk. The viewing point’s cross was erected “to atone for the town’s sins” in 1961 — the year when wearing bikinis was first permitted on the beaches. The original cross was made of wood, and had to be replaced in 1975 after it was destroyed by a storm.
What to visit near Benidorm
In the area around Benidorm, there are fascinating and remarkable places that are well worth an excursion. Scattered all long the Costa Blanca are charming towns and villages that still retain their original character as fishing villages — as well as natural parks and superb beaches.
Located on a hill rising above the sea, between Benidorm and Calpe, Altea is a typical Mediterranean town that attracts visitors with its streets and its white houses with wrought-iron balconies. The town is much quieter than Benidorm. It has an abundance of craft shops and friendly terrace-bars. If you can, try to visit the Nuestra Señora del Consuelo church, with its unusual blue cupolas covered in blue Levantine tiles.
Watched over by the impressive Peñón de Ifach, a 320-metre tall limestone crag, Calpe is an extremely picturesque town with a long history involving many different cultures. Calpe still retains Roman ruins in its Baños de la Reina [Queen’s Baths], as well as the remains of an ancient Moorish town wall. The town is 21 kilometres from Benidorm, and is the ideal place to enjoy a trip full of archaeological, cultural and historical interest — along with beaches and food and drink.
Isla de Tabarca
This is the Valencia Autonomous Region’s only inhabited island, and forms part of a small archipelago, along with the islets of La Cantera, La Galera and La Nao. Once a refuge for Berber pirates, the town centre of Tabarca is bounded by walls constructed on the orders of Carlos III; these have been designated a Historic-Artistic Site and an Asset of Cultural Interest. The culinary offerings available at the town’s fishing port are truly incredible. Don’t forget to try the traditional caldero [fish stew].
Featuring on the list of ‘Prettiest towns in Spain’, Guadalest is an enclave with a population of under 200 people, and a history dating back to medieval times. It is set on top of a limestone cliff 500 metres above sea level. To reach the town’s famous eleventh-century castle, known as San José castle (Castell de Guadalest), you have to go through a tunnel cut into the rock. The views from the fortress’s walls are truly staggering.
The labyrinthine town centre of Villajoyosa (meaning ‘joy’), popularly known as ‘La Vila’, is a veritable hive of activity. The façades of its houses are painted in bright colours, making for a unique and picturesque scene. This is a former fishing village famous for its Moors and Christians festival, declared an International Tourist Interest, which has been held since the seventeenth-century in honour of its patron saint, Santa Marta (St Martha).
Fuentes del Algar
This group of fantastic natural waterfalls, connected by rivers and canals, is 16 kilometres from Benidorm in Callosa d’en Sarrià (Callosa de Ensarriá, in Castilian Spanish). The Fuentes del Algar are located in idyllic natural surroundings of immense ecological value, making it a highly recommended destination for an excursion from Benidorm, as well as somewhere where you can enjoy a nice dip. Having said that, you need to be brave because the water, flowing straight off the mountain, is seriously cold.
Faro de Albir
Between Benidorm and Altea, in L’Alfàs del Pi (Alfaz del Pi, in Castilian Spanish), stands the Albir lighthouse, in the heart of the Sierra Helada Natural Park. It is the only lighthouse in the Valencia Autonomous Region which is still in use to warn shipping, and it also houses an interpretation centre. The walk up to the lighthouse takes 45 minutes along an asphalt path. It is well worth the effort, as the views over the Mediterranean are truly spectacular.
What else can you do in Benidorm?
Obviously, Benidorm is a major tourist resort throughout the year, and therefore offers a wide range of activities for visitors. So there are an enormous number of possible answers to this question. Given the resort’s privileged climate, many activities can be enjoyed out of doors.
One of the most popular tourist attractions is Terra Mítica, a theme park where you can learn about the great civilisations of the past (the Greeks, the Egyptians, the Romans, etc.) in a fun way. If you love excitement, this is the place for you.
Aqualandia and Mundomar, family fun
If you love to splash about in water, then make your way to Aqualandia Benidorm, the perfect place to cool off on hot summer days. It is one of the places you should visit in Benidorm, because this park, which boasts the tallest slide in Europe, has 15 great attractions suitable for all ages. Benidorm also has an urban animal park, Mundomar, designed so that the young — and the not-so-young — can share a space with many species of mammals, birds and reptiles. There are also shows and, if you are feeling brave enough, you can swim with sea lions and dolphins.
Shopping in Benidorm
Benidorm has a fantastic climate with very little rain, but this major tourist destination also has a Plan B for bad weather — because there are lots of things to do in Benidorm if it’s raining. Don’t forget to go shopping in Benidorm’s Retail Centre, or to visit its cinemas showing the latest films, its entertaining “escape room” and even its museums. Because here the fun never stops. That’s Benidorm for you.