If the mention of Benidorm just conjures up the recent TV parody and sends shivers down your spine, then you are doing this Spanish holiday resort a real injustice!
Benidorm may be the Costa Blanca’s most popular holiday resort with a huge influx of tourists every year, but it is also full of wonderful cultural landmarks. So don’t cross it off your cheap holidays in the Med list just yet. Take a look at what else there is to explore besides beaches and a hedonistic nightlife when taking advantage of cheap holiday deals.
The Old Quarter
As with lots of Mediterranean resorts, Benidorm started out as a quiet fishing village and the essence of this can still be found in its Old Quarter. You’ll discover narrow cobbled streets and whitewashed buildings decorated with blue tiles. This includes the 18th Century San Jaime Parish Church, complete with its blue-tiled domed roof. Take in the fantastic views over Levante Beach from Plaza de San Jaime and see where Benidorm’s castle once stood at Plaza del Castell. Spend some Euros on fine leather goods and of course souvenirs in the inviting shops.
San Jaime Parish Church
Perched on the Canfali hill, this pretty but unassuming neoclassical church is dedicated to the patron saint of Benidorm, the Virgen del Sufragio. Inside the recently renovated church you’ll see her chapel and beautiful frescoes in the vault. Oh and the view from up here is pretty amazing too.
Balcon del Mediterraneo
The Balcony of the Mediterranean or Castle Viewpoint as it’s also known should definitely not be missed either. The Balcon del Mediterraneo is situated on the rock that separates Benidorm’s two beaches, Playa Levante and Playa Poniente. In its heyday it was a fortress used to protect from invaders, but today all that remains are its ruins. Even so its blue tiles and whitewashed beauty look fantastic against the blue of the Mediterranean Sea.
The Bull Ring
Bullfighting is or should we say was very much a part of Spain’s culture. In recent years the sport has been banned in many areas and now bull rings are used as venues for music concerts and other events. The Bull Ring is fairly young compared to Benidorm’s other landmarks as it was only built in 1962. However that is still 51 years ago and last summer it celebrated its 50th birthday.
Benidorm may have suffered in the past from some negative stereotyping. However if you ignore this and visit with an open mind, you like thousands of others will be more than pleasantly surprised with what awaits you. There is plenty to see and do – so much that you may even find that you cannot fit it all in on one visit, being you will end up coming back again and again!
Picture credit: Clare Moylan