Beyond the Beach: Uncovering the best things to do in Benidorm

Benidorm may be known as a retiree hotspot and the epicentre of mass tourism, but there is so much more to this seaside city. Discover the best things to do in Benidorm

You may have seen pictures of Benidorm’s beaches printed on the pages of age-old travel brochures. Or, maybe one of your relatives has spent their summer holidays sunning themselves in the Alicante province while enjoying the array of Benidorm beach activities on offer. Yet, did you know there is another side to this Spanish coastal city? Discover the best things to do in Benidorm that don’t involve battling for a patch of sand on the beach.

A brief history of Benidorm’s local attractions

Benidorm has a long and rich history that is worth diving into before you travel. If you are visiting Alicante or staying in Benidorm, one of the top things to add to your list is a trip to either Villa Romana or Tossal de la Cala.  These picturesque Roman ruins have been preserved for centuries and offer a unique perspective on the modern-day Benidorm.

Yet, this sleepy fishing village didn’t reach global fame until the mid-20th century. In the 1950s and 1960s, Benidorm experienced a boom in tourism with many northern Europeans flocking to the city to enjoy its warmer climate and picturesque beaches.

The rise in touristic development meant that the city was quickly known as the"Manhattan of Spain" due to its skyline of high-rise buildings. Today, it is still known as the city with the most skyscrapers per capita in the world.

However, despite its modernisation, Benidorm retains its traditional charm. When visiting Benidorm, be sure to venture to the scenic Old Town as well as the local markets which offer a glimpse into the town's rich history and culture. Discover our list of the top things to see in Benidorm. 

Beach, skyscrapers and mountains, Benidorm ticks all the boxes

One of the best things to do in Benidorm is to take a trip to the Old Town

Tucked away, in the shadow of skyscrapers and high-rise hotels, the Old Town is one of the best places to go in Benidorm. This maze of narrow streets and colourful buildings is a photographer’s dream populated with charming bars and bustling restaurants. Stock up on unusual souvenirs from the independent boutiques dotted along the streets and then end your retail therapy with a café cortado while watching the world go by.

Stock up on unusual souvenirs from the independent boutiques dotted along the streets

Of course, don’t leave the Old Town without venturing to one of the nice places in Benidorm, the Mirador del Castillo. This impressive viewpoint offers visitors panoramic views of the town, the neighbouring town of Altea and the Mediterranean Sea. Don’t be put off by the steep climb up, we can assure you that it is well worth the effort. 

Don’t miss out on a trip to the Old Town when in Benidorm

Continue treasure hunting at El Cisne flea market, one of the must-do things in Benidorm

If you are looking for a quirky Benidorm must-see, head to the El Cisne flea market, which takes place every Sunday in the Rincon de Loix area of Benidorm. Expect to find everything under the sun from vintage clothing to handmade jewellery to antique furniture. Held in a converted old farmhouse, each room plays host to a range of stalls selling second-hand treasures and unusual souvenirs. It is not uncommon for street performers to flock to the market for a spontaneous flamenco show or musical performance. And, when hunger strikes, there are also plenty of watering holes offering traditional tapas and refreshing drinks.

Looking for Benidorm attractions for families? Head to Benidorm Island

If a trip to a Benidorm water park fills you with dread, bundle up the brood and head off to Benidorm Island. This rocky outcrop, just a stone’s throw from Bendorm’s crowded beaches, is in fact a nature reserve. Your little ones can pretend to be pirates in search of buried treasure as you set sail. Or, better yet, they can get a taste of scuba diving without having to get into the water thanks to the glass bottom of the boat allowing you to see all kinds of fish.

Once on dry land, take a stroll around the rock and try to spot the local flora and fauna hiding from the heat of the day. Enjoy an educational, family day out learning about Benidorm’s natural surroundings and enjoy a refreshing beverage at the only café on the island before setting sail back to the mainland.

Best things to do in Benidorm: Benidorm Beach

Discover the Algar waterfalls, Benidorm’s hidden gem

If the cenotes of Mexico are high up on your bucket list but travel to Quintana Roo is not in your future travel plans, don’t panic. The waterfalls Benidorm is home to are a fantastic European alternative. The Algar waterfalls are one of the best things to do in Benidorm when the temperatures soar as the turquoise waters provide the ultimate respite. Between July and August, they are open from 9:00 am until 8:00 pm and they can be found on the outskirts of the village of Callosa d'En Sarria, approx 15km outside of the town centre.

The Algar waterfalls are one of the best things to do in Benidorm when the temperatures soar

The falls give way to a wide stretch of river, framed by sloping cliff faces which provide an ideal spot for sunbathing. Enjoy a refreshing dip in the river or if you fancy a dose of adrenaline, join the daredevils and dive in from a height -safety first, of course. Once you have spent a day here, it is easy to see why these are one of the top natural attractions in Benidorm.

The Algar Waterfalls is a fun day out for all the family

Enjoy a morning of art and culture at the Centro Cultural Maritimo, one of the unusual things to do in Benidorm

When on the hunt for the best things to do in Benidorm, do as locals do and indulge in an art experience. Head to the Centro Cultural Maritimo, a cultural centre that hosts exhibitions, concerts and workshops throughout the year. Located in the heart of the Benidorm port, this modern, glass-fronted art gallery not only offers stunning views across the sea but also supports the work of local artists. It's an ideal spot to soak up some culture and escape the heat of the midday sun.