Benidorm, located on the Costa Blanca, is internationally famous for its beaches, its nightlife and its popularity among European holidaymakers for its ease of access and low cost flights connecting the city with majority of the European countries, every day. The city’s two urban beaches are considered to be some of the best and cleanest along the Mediterranean Coast and its picturesque coves make for great diving spots to delve into nature. The unique skyline has given it the nickname “The Manhattan of the Med”.
If it’s your first time planning a trip to Benidorm, you might feel a little overwhelmed. If it’s not the extensive accommodation options (only Paris and London have more hotel beds in Europe than Benidorm), it might be the rumours you’ve heard and the stigma that a holiday to Benidorm might carry. This article should help you understand a little bit more about Benidorm and help you plan your holiday to the coast.
I firmly believe that there’s a Benidorm for everyone; for those in search of nightlife, for those who just want to switch off, for those wanting an active outdoor break in stunning surroundings, and for those seeking all that and more in a single holiday.
- Benidorm Map
- Practical Information
- Transport in Benidorm
- Restaurants and Bars
- LGBTQ+ Community
- Pet Friendly
- Music Festivals
- Fiestas Calendar
- Shopping and Markets
- Theme Parks
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This map shows the areas of Benidorm, including the two urban beaches. The blue area is Poniente, which is the quieter area of Benidorm. If you are looking for a laid back relaxed holiday at a slow pace, Poniente is the place to be. The beach is lined with up-market restaurants and quirky cafe’s and the beach stretch is much longer. Taking 40 minutes from the farthest point, you are still able to experience everything that Benidorm has to offer, whilst being set apart from the action.
The orange area is the old town. This is the “original Benidorm”. Here you’ll find narrow streets and tapas bars along with the famous viewpoint over the two beaches. If you want to experience a typical Spanish old town, then Benidorm is one of the most popular among Spanish. You’ll see street art happening and guitarists serenading the bar and the viewpoint. This is also where the port is for the boat to the Benidorm Island.
The green area is Levante, and this is where all the action happens. Packed with bars, lots of them British, nightclubs and the Benidorm strip. It’s also where most of the hotels are situated. Levante has lots of amenities and if you’re looking to come to Benidorm for a stag do, hen do, or for a family holiday, there’s a hotel and an area of Levante for everybody.
Benidorm is on the GMT+1 timezone, so you will need to set your clocks an hour ahead. The plugs are the standard European plugs, however, some recently refurbished hotels have started adding universal USB plugs which makes charging phones and equipment much easier. The phone number for emergencies is 112. The local languages are Spanish and Valencian (a form of Catalan), though English is very widely spoken.
Food and drink is generally much cheaper in Benidorm. The “official” supermarkets are Mas y Mas, Carrefour, Iceland, Mercadona, Consum, Aldi and Lidl where you can buy the same produce as at home, which is especially useful if you are self-catering. All other supermarkets will sell the products as a convenience store so prices will be slightly higher but are useful if you don’t have access to transport, or for quickness. The local currency is Euros. If you need to change money while you are in Benidorm, I’d recommend going to the Indoor Market near to the Sol Pelicanos Hotel.
Due to new Brexit regulations, you are not permitted to bring dairy products or meats from the UK to Benidorm. You are only permitted to stay in Benidorm for 90 days in an 180 day period, unless you are a Spanish resident, this includes any other stays in the European Union. Your passport will be stamped on arrival and upon departure from Alicante Airport.
Your EHIC Card is still valid for emergency healthcare until it expires. Once it expires it will be possible to exchange for a Global Healthcare Card which will guarantee you to receive FREE emergency healthcare in Benidorm. The nearest hospital for national insurance healthcare is Hospital Marina Baixa, Villajoyosa. I would urge you to get private healthcare, which will give you the right to use the IMED Levante Hospital in Benidorm which is a highly professional and well-equipped hospital. Private healthcare also ensures you are insured for all eventualities and pre-existing medical conditions.
It is a local law to have photo identity on you at all times.
Transport in Benidorm
The nearest airport to Benidorm is Alicante-Elche Airport which is a 40 minute drive away from Benidorm. There is a local bus which offers an hourly route to Benidorm bus station, however, for ease and usually much cheaper, I’d recommend booking a transfer with a company such as Hoppa or Travel Republic. Although they take slightly longer, this service will drop you off at your hotel door rather than having to make your way from the Bus Station which isn’t in the centre of Benidorm or near to any hotels, except La Estacion Hotel (which literally means the station hotel due to it being connected to the bus station).
It is not necessary to hire a car in Benidorm, unless you are wishing to explore further afield, like Javea, Finestrat, Orxeta and Torrevieja, in which case a car will be essential. Within Benidorm, you can take the Llorente Bus to any part of Benidorm for a fixed fee of 1,55€. You get your ticket on the bus. Be aware that in Benidorm, and Spain, the bus stop for your return journey will not always be across the road from where you got off. Most of the buses go along Avenida Jaime or Avenida Mediterraneo, so if you’re stuck you’ll find a return journey from there if you make your way to one of those. Usually, a bar worker or shop keeper will steer you in the right direction if you’re polite.
The ones containing an Asterix and bolded are those that are most relevant to tourists, however, I’ve added them all should they be of interest to locals or those wishing to explore more.
*Bus Number 1*: Aqualandia/Mundomar – Severo Ochoa – Ametlla Mar – Rincón Loix – Mediterraneo – Benidorm Centre – Tram Station – Terra Natura-Terra Mítica
*Bus Number 2*: Rincón Loix – Mediterráneo -Benidorm Centre – Europa – A. Puchades – Parque Elche – Jaime I – P. Devesa – Hotel Bali – La Cala – C.C La Marina Shopping Centre
*Bus Number 3*: Bus Station – Europa – Triangular – [Aigüera/ Rufaza] – Jaime I – Poniente beach – Hotel Bali – La Cala – Carrefour. This bus also can continue to Terra Mitica and Terra Natura however, you must advise the bus driver when you get on because if nobody requests the theme parks, it terminates at Carrefour.
Bus Number 4: Palau d’ Esports – Bus Station – C. Valenciana – Severo Ochoa – [Ramón y Cajal] – Ametlla Mar – Rincón Loix – Mediterráneo – Benidorm Centre
Bus Number 5: S.Jaime Cemetery – Severo Ochoa – [Ramón y Cajal] – Ametlla Mar – Rincón Loix – Mediterráneo – Benidorm Centre
Bus Number 6: Benidorm Centre – Mediterráneo – Europa – Lepanto – Hotel Pueblo
Bus Number 7: [Tívoli – CV-70] – Beniardá – Alfonso Puchades – Comunidad Valenciana – Salto del Agua
Bus Number 8: Cemetery- Tram Station – Beniardá – Jaime I – [R. Bayona / Nicaragua] – Pérez Devesa – Murtal – Hotel Bali – Marina Baixa – La Cala
Bus Number 9: Jaime I – Alfonso Puchades – Comunitat Valenciana – Salto del Agua
*Bus Number 10*: Altea – Puerto de Altea – Albir Beach – Albir – L’ Alfas del Pi – Severo Ochoa – Rincón de Loix – Mediterráneo – Benidorm Centre
*Bus Number 11*: Bus Station – Benidorm Centro – Mediterráneo – Rincón de Loix – Paris – Severo Ochoa – Ciudad Patricia – Aqualandia/Mundomar
Bus Number 12: Altea – Albir 21 – Albir Garden – Comunidad Valenciana – Alfonso Puchades – Jaime I – Av. Villajoyosa – CC La Marina Finestrat
Bus Number 14: Finestrat Village – La Cala de Finestrat – Pérez Devesa – Salto del Agua – Severo Ochoa – Ametlla de Mar – Rincón de Loix
Bus Number 15: Finestrat Village – [Balcón de Finestrat – Golf Bahía] / [Tapiada Umbria – Terra Natura] – Centros Comerciales – Calas Finestrat y Villajoyosa – Hotel Bali
*Bus Number 16*: Cala Finestrat – Hotel Bali – Pérez Devesa – Jaime I – A. Puchades – Benidorm. Centro – Mediterráneo – Rincón Loix – S. Ochoa – La Nucia – Polop – Guadalest
*Bus Number 18*: Cala Finestrat – Hotel Bali – Pérez Devesa – Jaime I – A. Puchades – Benidorm Centre – Mediterráneo – Rincón Loix – S. Ochoa – La Nucia – Polop – Algar Falls
Bus Number 19: [Finestrat – Balcon Finestrat – Golf Bahia] – C.C La Marina Finesrat – Cala Villajoyosa – Hospital – Villajoyosa – Llar – [High School]
Bus Number 20: Relleu – Sella – Orxeta – Villajoyosa – Hospital – Cala Villajoyosa – C.C La Marina Shopping – [Finestrat Village]
Bus Number 21: [Multi-Sports Centre] – Ermita – Llar del Pensionista – Villajoyosa Centre – Villajoyosa Beach – Almadrava – [Tellerolla – Hispanidad]
Bus Number 22: Llar del Pensionista – Villajoyosa Centre – Cemetery
Bus Number 23: La Cala de Villajoyosa – Hospital Marina Baixa – Industrial Area – Llar del Pensionista – Villajoyosa Centre – Cervantes – Sainvi – Hoteles
Cycling is very popular in Benidorm with recently pedestrianised areas which offer ample cycle paths. You can get from one end of Benidorm to the other in a mere 10 minutes with an electric bike, much quicker than by car. It’s also very easy to see Benidorm on foot.
The taxi service is run by Radio Taxi Benidorm and are recognisable as being a white car, with advertisements on the side. They have a fixed fee for the airport and you are able to pay by cash, card or contactless. They have a green light when they are available and a red light when they are in use. Most taxi drivers will speak a little English. At the taxi ranks, you should always take the taxi at the very front of the queue.
There are plenty of hotel offerings in Benidorm, dependent on your preference. I am currently working on liaising with hotel directors to create a bigger hotel directory on my website, which will link below in a list, to provide reviews of each hotel. At the moment this is a work-in progress so please bare with me.
- Hotel [to be created as a link leading to further articles with reviews of each hotel]
In the meantime, if you’re looking for a quieter holiday I would suggest checking to see if it’s in Poniente, or going to somewhere like the Don Pancho, Port Benidorm, Flamingo Beach Resort or Melia Benidorm. If you’re looking for somewhere close to the nightlife, you have Hotel Presidente, Sol Pelicanos and Medplaya Ruidor as a start off point.
There is a big nightlife and entertainment scene in Benidorm, if that’s what you’re looking for. The main Benidorm strip offers a range of discos, such as Cafe Benidorm, Champions and Beachcomber. The main strip is on Avenida de Mallorca, which is just off Calle Gerona. Along Calle Gerona, you’ll also find lots of other bars and discos which are hugely popular among tourists.
A hugely popular already Karaoke bar that has recently opened up is that of Mateo’s Benidorm. Not needing an introduction, the karaoke bar opened by creator and writer of ITV’s Benidorm, Derren Litten, features memorabilia from the show, a friendly-feel good welcome and a quality night of karaoke and live music all whilst indulging in the bars very own signature cocktails inspired by the show. You’ll find Mateos Benidorm on Avenida de Almeria which is just off Calle Gerona (turn right when you get to The Crown when walking from Morgan’s Tavern).
For tribute acts and entertaining live music, I’d recommend checking out Tropical, Cafe Roman, Talk of the Coast, Morgan’s Tavern or Sinatra’s as a good start off point. There have been a lot of tribute acts who have returned to the UK due to the pandemic, so it’s difficult to say who will be performing when Benidorm re-opens. Pablo Bloom and Alex Escribano are still performing when it’s permitted. Adele and Whitney Houston Tribute Acts are still in Benidorm and waiting for the go-ahead to return to performing.
Restaurants and Bars
There are far too many bars and restaurants to list, but there is a huge array of hospitality in Benidorm featuring around the world cuisine. Whether that’s a full cooked breakfast, a Sunday lunch, Pizza, Tapas, Paellas, Thai, Indian or Chinese, then you’ll find it in Benidorm. Our takeaway services are limited, but there are a few options on justeat.es and deliveroo.es.
This is something that a lot of people are concerned with when looking at a holiday in Benidorm. Crime in Benidorm is usually only petty crime and majority of holidays to Benidorm are risk free. Always keep valuables with you at all times or locked away safely. The Potato or Pea Men Scam is an old age scam which does happen in Benidorm, similarly to London and Paris. If you do not stand and watch and just move away they will not bother you.
Be careful around the side streets and around the strip late at night as there will be women of the night and those selling “Charlie” and other substances. This does not happen inside bars, it is around side streets and areas where they are expecting to find drunk people who have wandered off from their group. Always stick with your group. It is a good idea to use one of the registered taxis (recognised as being a white Toyota auris when returning to your accommodation.
If you are withdrawing money, avoid all standalone cash machines. Not only do these a fortune, but they have been known to clone cards. Instead, use the official banks such as “Santander”, “BBVA”, “Caixa” and “Bankia”. These may charge you a small fee to withdraw, but it’s much cheaper than other cash points and are just as safe as cash points at home within your banks.
At the moment, to return to the UK from Benidorm you will need to do a quarantine (which can be shortened by taking a COVID test), and you will need to take a COVID test in Benidorm before returning home. You can take a COVID test at the IMED Levante in Benidorm or Hospital Clinics in Benidorm. All the details about where to get a COVID test in Benidorm is available on my website including prices and contact details to make an appointment.
The rules in Benidorm regarding restrictions are altering all the time so I’d urge you to follow me on Facebook to stay most up to date. However, currently [January 2021] our restrictions which affect tourists the most is a curfew is 10pm, hospitality (all bars and restaurants) must close at 5pm, nightclubs are currently closed, and masks are compulsory when in public places which includes walking on the street.
Benidorm is a very open and welcoming resort to the LGBTQ+ community and you can feel secure and safe in knowing that there is a huge welcoming community. Surrounding the old town there are a wide option of gay bars. There are very few incidents of petty discriminative crimes with many members of the LGBTQ+ community choosing to party on the Benidorm strip too.
Benidorm Pride is a very popular event on the LGBTQ+ community calendar and everybody no matter what their pronouns or orientation are get involved to join in the fun. In September, Benidorm will holds its Pride, an international event. A festival that takes place both in the street and in lively venues around the city, combining entertainment and parades.
There is a good option of pet-friendly hotels. located in Benidorm, however, not as many as other cities in Spain and neighbouring countries. One place we are looking at taking Rio, our dog, is Villa Venecia which is a 5 star pet friendly hotel located in the old town in Benidorm. Pets are welcome on terraces of bars and restaurants. There is no dog-friendly beach in Benidorm, so you will need to travel to Altea or Villajoyosa to make use of the pet-friendly beaches, unfortunately none of them are sandy beaches. There are plenty of nature walks for you to do with your pet, I’d recommend walking the cross, or walking to Villajoyosa.
It is local law to pick up excrements and during summer you should throw water on urine, or you could be given a fine by local police. Dogs are not allowed on public transport, unless in a pet carrier or wearing a muzzle. If your dog is a PP dog, you will need to ensure you have the license to own the dog and it must be muzzled and leashed at all times when on walks. Different dogs are on the PP list for different areas of Spain, in Benidorm and the C. Valenciana the law states that the following 8 dogs are registered as PPP: Pit bull terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier, Rottweiler, Dogo Argentinian, Brasilian Mastiff, Akita Inu and The Tosa. If you have one of these dogs and do not have the dog leashed and muzzled, the police can fine you heavily and refuse to release the dog until leashed and muzzled.
If you need to visit an emergency vet, then I’d recommend going to Marina Baixa Veternario Hospital in Alfas del Pi, which is open 24 hours a day 7 days a week. If you need a vet with less urgency, you can make an appointment and visit Clinica Veterinaria Avda. del Mediterráneo, which is located near Broadway Club just off the main strip. Their phone number to make an appointment (una cita in Spanish) is +34 965 86 80 09.
There are three music festivals of note in Benidorm. Iberia Festival, Low Festival and Benidorm Pride.
Benidorm is the city with the most festivals in Spain. No month goes by without some sort of celebration. Due to the huge expat community from various cultures, Benidorm has adapted and added to its festival calendar to match that of its residents. We celebrate Three Kings, Christmas, New Year, British New Year, Saint George’s Day, Saint Patrick’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Hogueras, Chinese New Year and, of course, the hugely popular November Fiestas.
Two Three Kings parades are held within only a few hours of each other. The first in La Huerta and the second, the main event, in the streets around the centre. Later in January, San Antonio, a festival held in the rural area of La Huerta, with the blessing of animals at the doors of the Ermita de Sanç chapel.
Carnival is celebrated with a grand parade in which hundreds of people compete for the best and most original fancy dress outfit.
On 14th March, the city awakens to three huge Falla monuments that make fun of the politics. On 19th March, after several days of firecrackers and daytime firework displays, the Fallas are burnt. On the Saturday closest to 16th March, there is a flower offering to the city’s Patron Saint, commemorating the date on which her image was found on Benidorm’s coast.
The popular Easter processional groups wander the streets with a live brass band. There is also an Easter market. On Easter Sunday, there is a special mass at the church.
On 1st May, the city celebrates the Festa de la Creu, one of its oldest and most traditional festivals. Flower arrangers decorate a wooden cross set up at the point that marked the municipal boundary many decades ago that is now in the city centre. Eight days later, Benidorm celebrates its birth, in 1325, with a reenactment. On 15th May, Valencia Fallas, with papier-mâché monuments.
From 19th to 24th June, it’s San Juan “Hogueras” (bonfires) which is my favourite festival. On the night of 23-24 June, and coinciding with summer solstice celebrations, tradition states that people take a dip in the sea to purify themselves at midnight. On this day, everybody takes a picnic to one of the beaches at sunset and usually there is a huge festival of live music.
Benidorm also joins in with Navarre festival of San Fermín (running of the bulls), with the launch of the chupinazo (a firework rocket signalling the start of festivities) from a well-known restaurant on Levante beach. There is NO bull run in Benidorm, this just signals that it’s started in Pamplona. On 16th July it’s the festival of the Virgin of El Carmen, with a procession and the Virgin is taken around Benidorm bay. On 25th July, the day of San Jaime is celebrated with an open-air party in the Castle.
The days of Asturias and Castile-La Man- cha are celebrated with cider and gazpachos and we have Gay Pride.
Benidorm has its own Moors and Christians festival, which takes place on the first weekend of October. A party atmosphere along with the smell of gunpowder, the noise of muskets and people in colourful costumes. On 9th October the city celebrates Community of Valencia Day, with a traditional market in the city centre.
This is the season for the big Annual Festival. It starts on the second Saturday of the month and runs for five days, with partying in the streets. There are re-enactments, floats, comedy shows and outdoor family parties. The Thursday when the Annual Festival ends, the British area holds the Fancy Dress Party, with hundreds of people taking part from midday onwards.
Alongside the festival of Immaculate Conception, Benidorm celebrates Christmas in a very big way, with plenty of Christmas decorations adorning the streets and a huge party at the Town Hall and parades aplenty. New Year’s Eve is also a massive event in Benidorm with most of the celebrations taking place on Levante Beach and the Town Hall.
Shopping and Markets
The main shopping area runs from Plaza Triangular to Avenida de Los Almendros, over the main streets in the old town. Here you will find Zara, Sports shops, Ale Hops and other boutique shops. In summer, many shops in the centre are open all week, including Sundays. There is currently no Primark in Benidorm.
Benidorm has two busy street markets. The Municipal Market of Els Tolls and the Pueblo street market in Rincón de Loix both open on Wednesdays, and the latter again on Sundays. Near to the chapel, you’ll find the Rastro del Cisne flea market, open on Sundays. The Rastro del Cisne is also a good option, as there’s live music every day while you indulge on a paella or a selection of cheeses from around the world.
You can visit Terra Mitica, Iberia Park, Terra Natura, Mundomar, Aqua Natura or Aqualandia. All of these theme parks and water parks are based in Benidorm. You’re advised to book ahead. Aqua Natura and Aqualandia are water parks, Aqua Nature nearer to Poniente and Aqualandia nearer to Levante. Terra Natura and Mundomar are both zoos, Mundomar is a sea world style zoo with dolphin shows and many aquatic animals like penguins and is situated next to Aqualandia. Terra Natura is a mix of conservation and rehabilitation and petting zoo. This is next door to Aqua Natura. Terra Mitica is also closer to Poniente and is a theme park with small rollercoasters and some water rides, along with shows and live entertainment. Iberia Park is onsite at Terra Mitica and is more a fair, with an entry price and costs to use each stall or ride.
If there’s anything that has been missed off, please message me and I’ll add it in!