I never thought I would write a blog post about Benidorm. Horses for courses and all that, but for Mrs Paella and I it just isn’t our scene. Having said that, there are reasons to visit the town other than joining in with the stereotypical beer-swilling masses in their Union Jack shorts, not that they are usually around in December anyway. We were there for the wonderful show at the Benidorm Palace, a climb up to the Benidorm cross and a stroll along the long promenade for some tapas in the old town. So, buckle up and enjoy our Christmas treat in Spain’s party capital.
The real reason for our trip was to see the show AQUA at the Benidorm Palace. We had high expectations and we were not disappointed in the slightest. A €54 ticket gave us a wonderful seat near the front. If there are more than two of you, you will be seated a little further back. The 3-course meal was superb with a bottle of wine, water and a bottle of cava included in the price. All the food is served before the show begins but our drinks lasted for the full duration. There is a more expensive menu for an extra €10 but we were more than happy with the standard one. If you just want to watch the show and have a drink, that’ll set you back €34.
The show was incredible with commentary in both Spanish and English. There was humour to suit all ages, wonderful singing and dancing, acrobats and contortionists, and Cirque-de-Soleil-esque death defying acts in the air. We loved every moment. There is even one act pulling stunts on a BMX bike. How retro!! Seriously though, I won’t spoil the fun by going into too much detail but this was an evening of full-on entertainment and well worth the ticket price.
We stayed at the lovely Melia Benidorm Hotel on the eastern side of Levante but far enough away from the “English Street” pubs and clubs to not really notice them. It was well located for a walk up to the Benidorm Cross. Although it is only 3km each way, the road up is most definitely uphill. It’s not a difficult walk by any means but the effort required means that it doesn’t get too busy. The less energetic could get a taxi to the top and just walk back into town I suppose. Those less mobile can, of course, take transport each way, but the final part is on a rough track with steps so take your time and tread carefully. The reward is incredible views of the town and its iconic skyscrapers, plus the coast spreading out below you all the way to Alicante. In December the temperature was perfect for walking but in the summer you would have to go early in the morning to avoid excessive heat.
For those who have never been to Benidorm, it is divided into two parts: Poniente and Levante. Poniente is less developed from a mass-tourism point of view whilst Levante is where the international crowd head. It’s not just the youngsters these days – beware the mobility scooters!! A long, long promenade runs the entire length of Benidorm’s seafront, split only by the small headland where the old town is located. The Balcón del Mediterráneo has recently been completely refurbished and is now a lovely place to get some fresh air and sea views. Plenty of restaurants and bars await in the narrow streets of the old town, many with a very Spanish feel to them. Our favourite is Rincon de Ribera where €1.60 will get you a refreshing beer and choice of tapas. Basque pintxos seem to be in fashion at the moment and you’ll see bars serving them all over.
So there you have it. Benidorm may well polarise opinion but even if you’re not part of the bar-club-disco crowd, there is plenty to keep you occupied. Out of season it’s not too bad at all and there is some tremendous value in the hotels!