Once known as a package holiday destination, Benidorm has reinvented itself as one of the coolest destinations in Spain. With fabulous beaches, great hotels and restaurants as well as the whole of the Alicante region on your doorstep, what's not to love about Benidorm?
Benidorm has two long, sandy beaches: Playa Levante and Playa Poniente. Soak up the sun as you gaze over the Mediterranean Sea or try some of the many water sports on offer.
Benidorm is one of the Costa Blanca's top nightlife spots and its clubs attract famous international DJs as well as local talent. Live music venues, bars and clubs that stay open until dawn attract a friendly cosmopolitan crowd.
There's plenty to keep younger visitors occupied in Benidorm too. Visit the Aqualandia water park or see the marine animals at the adjacent Mundomar park.
The city has over 35 four-star hotels for you to choose from for family breaks or vacations with friends. However, it's the Benidorm area's luxurious five-star hotels that attract celebrities like Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem and Bruce Willis.
Whether you'd like to see the famous rock at Calpe, walk along the beautiful promenade at Javea or venture a little further afield to see the perched and hanging cliff houses at Cuenca, Benidorm is the perfect base.
Terra Natura is a new type of zoological park which combines interaction with animals, rides, water slides and educational exhibits. It is divided into continents, with each of these areas having native animals and even restaurants with the food from countries on those continents. The more adventurous can ride a zip wire over the elephant enclosure or even swim with baby sharks. It's a great day out for visitors of all ages and you really can spend the entire day here and still want to come back for more.
Mundomar is an animal park in Benidorm that is divided into sections featuring reptiles, mammals and birds. There is a packed agenda of shows and opportunities to have special experiences, such as a dolphin encounter or a swim with magnificent sea lions. You can even become an animal trainer for a day. Mundomar is designed to appeal to both young and old alike and there are plenty of photo-opportunities with the animals that allow you to create your very own unique souvenir.
Aqualandia is a water park with lots of pools and 15 excellent slides. The park has the highest standing slide in Europe and also the highest capsule slide in the world. The slides are divided into those suitable for young children (moderate slides and radical slides) so there is something for everyone. Kids will enjoy gentle attractions like the Laguna water play park and Geyser fountains and they can have lots of fun in the wave pool. If you're a little older, and very, very brave. You might want to try Verti-Go. It's over 90 feet high and the near vertical drop will take you to speeds of more than 62 mph.
L'illa de Benidorm, or Benidorm Island, is a small island just over two miles off the coast of Benidorm. Visitors to the resort can take boat trips out to the island, which has been designated as a nature reserve. The island is noted for its wildlife, particularly its population of wild peacocks. It makes a good break from the bustle of Benidorm and gives you a unique view of the town as you sail out into the bay.
The Balcón del Mediterráneo, or Castle Viewpoint, is renowned as the best vantage point for views of the town. It is situated on the rocky point that separates Benidorm's two main beaches: the Levante and Poniente. It is also the site of a 14th-century castle. It's close to the Old Town and there are plenty of cafés and bars nearby where you can recover from your climb.
Benidorm is one of the most popular resorts on the Costa Blanca, so it can be very busy during peak season from June to late August. Visit from late April to early May or from September to October for less crowded beaches and lower hotel prices.
Fly to Alicante Airport, which is 36 miles from Benidorm. Take one of the regular shuttle buses for 10EUR to complete your journey.
The easiest way to reach Benidorm by train from major European cities is by taking a high-speed RENFE train to Alicante, then taking the fast tram to Benidorm station. Alternatively, catch the train from Alicante to Denia and then hop on the local service to Benidorm.
It's easy to reach the city by car. Several main roads serve Benidorm, including the A-7 and the A-70.
There are buses from most European capitals. The Eurolines service from Paris to Benidorm costs 95EUR for a one-way ticket.
Book a room at the Villa Venecia Hotel Boutique Gourmet for 5-star luxury or try 4-star hotels like Hotel RH Princesa. High-rise hotels mean fabulous Mediterranean and city views and some of the best include Melia Benidorm, Hotel Cimbel and Hotel Don Pancho.
Levante - named for the famous beach, the district is one of the busiest in Benidorm. Known for its many bars, high-rise hotels and, of course, the beach.
Poniente - the Poniente neighborhood is also named for its golden sandy beach. The beach is quieter than Levante and backed by the beautiful Paseo Poniente promenade. Other notable attractions include Parc Elx (Dove Park).
El Castell - the old town. Find some of the best tapas bars and restaurants here.
The local bus service runs till midnight and covers the city and other towns on the coast, such as Denia and Calpe. If you plan to use buses throughout the day, it's worth buying a 24-hour bus pass for 10EUR.
Taxis are available all over Benidorm. A typical 5-mile trip costs 12-15EUR and the fare to Alicante Airport is 60-70EUR.
Hire a car for as little as 8EUR per day and discover the city at your leisure. Benidorm's roads are modern and well maintained. The E-15 Costa Blanca expressway runs along the coast to several nearby towns.
Shop for luxury leather goods and clothing in the Mercado indoor market or pick up bargains at the Wednesday and Sunday street markets. Soccer fans should visit the Barcelona FC outlet, while Delfos at the indoor market sells local arts and crafts.
Shop for food and other necessities in local branches Mercado or Carrefour. Benidorm is relatively cheap by European standards and you can buy a liter of milk for 0.75EUR or 12 large eggs for 1EUR.
Sample Spanish snacks in the city's many pintxo bars or visit Amigos Restaurant and Roof Terrace in Calle la Palma for a special meal. A simple lunch will cost 5EUR, while dinner for two with wine will be 60-70EUR.