Top things to do in Benidorm, Spain
Top things to do in Benidorm, Spain

Beyond the Beaches: Top Things to Do in Benidorm

Are you planning a trip to Benidorm? Here are the top things to do in Benidorm, including the best restaurants, beaches, and bars to visit.

Are you planning a trip to Benidorm? Here are the top things to do in Benidorm, including the best restaurants, beaches, and bars to visit.

Nestled on the stunning Costa Blanca, the Spanish city of Benidorm is famous for its beaches, skyscrapers, and nightlife. However, there’s so much more to this seaside resort town than just sunbathing and partying until dawn. From its charming Old Town to outdoor activities, this city offers several unique experiences for every type of traveler. Join us as we uncover the top things to do in Benidorm that prove there’s so much more to this city than meets the eye. But don’t worry, we’ll still talk about the beaches and bars and which ones are the best.

The Top Things to Do and See in Benidorm, Spain

1. Exploring the Old Town

The Old Town presents a significant contrast to the newer developments that have characterized Benidorm since the mid-20th century. Its geographical position is at the eastern tip of Benidorm’s coastline, bound by two main beaches: Poniente Beach to the west and Levante Beach to the east.

Dating back to before the city’s expansion as a tourism hub, the Old Town maintains architectural elements from Benidorm’s past as a quiet fishing village. Hence, you can find remnants of a 14th-century castle in the Old Town. This building served as a defense against invading pirates.

Noteworthy architectural sites within the Old Town include the Church of San Jaime and Santa Ana. This temple dates back to 1740 and offers panoramic coastline views on Canfali Hill. Adjacent to this site is the picturesque Plaza de San Jaime, recognized for its traditional Spanish architecture.

Church of San Jaime and Santa Ana - What to see in Benidorm's Old Town
Church of San Jaime and Santa Ana – What to see in Benidorm’s Old Town

Wandering through the charming Old Town is among Benidorm’s top things to do to understand the city’s history truly. In addition, you can book a tour of Benidorm’s Old Town to learn from a local guide. Moreover, the Old Town is among the best areas to stay in Benidorm.

2. Going to the Beach(es)

There are many beaches in Benidorm, some more crowded than others
There are many beaches in Benidorm, some more crowded than others

Poniente Beach, located west of the Old Town, is one of the largest beaches in the area. It stands out for its quiet atmosphere, with fewer crowds than other beaches. Hence, you can sunbathe or swim peacefully at Platja de Ponent in the summer. Its promenade is also a favorite spot for a nice walk or a jog at sunset.

To the east, Levante Beach is contrastingly busier, especially during the spring and summer. Thus, the beach bars in this area are the liveliest in Benidorm.

Mal Pas Beach is less frequent, located near the port and under the cliffs of the old town castle, and Ti Ximo Cove is a smaller inlet at the end of Levante Beach. You can get to Mal Pas via stairs descending from the port area. Historical records show that Mal Pas was a port beach where small boats would arrive and depart before Benidorm’s expansion as a tourist destination.

Meanwhile, Ti Ximo Cove offers a more secluded environment due to its position and complex access through winding roads. Its natural rock formations make it attractive for snorkeling.

3. Watching Live Music at Low Festival

The Low Festival is a Spanish summer music festival
The Low Festival is a Spanish summer music festival

Low Festival is among the best things to do in Benidorm in the summer, especially if you’re a music lover. This festival is held annually in Benidorm and presents a lineup of internationally recognized music artists. The event started in the summer of 2008 under the Low Cost Festival name due to its affordable ticket prices. As the years progressed, it evolved to simply Low Festival.

This event takes place at the Ciudad Deportiva Guillermo Amor, a sport complex. Since its inception, bands and solo artists from different countries have performed at Low Festival. For example, bands such as Massive Attack, Pixies, and Portishead have graced the stages of Low Festival alongside prominent Spanish groups like Vetusta Morla and Los Planetas.

However, you’ll need to book a hotel near the venue to maximize your time at the festival. By getting a hotel near the festival, you’ll be within walking distance from all the action. Likewise, you will be able to get a taxi quickly. The festival also takes place near Benidorm’s tram station, so you can always catch a train to Alicante.

For more information, please go to the Low Festival website.

4. Sampling Traditional Spanish Dishes

Of course, the only way a trip to Benidorm would be complete is by trying delicious local cuisine. And while there are many places to eat in the city, these are some of the top-rated restaurants in Benidorm:

  • Casa Toni. Located on Avenida Cuenca 13, this restaurant opened in 1972 and serves traditional Spanish dishes. In particular, the different rice dishes, like the Arroz Caldoso, a brothy rice dish with seafood, are a specialty in Casa Toni.
  • La Cava Aragonesa. This restaurant opened to the public in 1978 and is renowned for serving Iberian ham and cheeses from across Spain. It is also well-known for its wide selection of Spanish wines. You will find La Cava Aragonesa at Plaça de la Constitución, 2.
  • El Barranco. On Avenida Vicente Llorca Alós, El Barranco offers fresh fish and shellfish from the Mediterranean Sea. The grilled octopus here is a highlight and reflects the coastal culinary traditions of Benidorm.

5. Taking in the Stunning Views of the Bancón del Mediterráneo

Views of Benidorm from the Balcón del Mediterráneo viewpoint
Views of Benidorm from the Balcón del Mediterráneo viewpoint

The Balcón del Mediterráneo, also known as the Castle Viewpoint, sits at the end of the Levante Beach in Benidorm. This viewpoint is a significant historical site that dates back to the 14th century when it was part of the castle that protected the city. However, nowadays, the fortress’s only remains are its cannons and walls.

Remains of Benidorm's old castle
Remains of Benidorm’s old castle

The viewpoint is on a rocky outcrop with gorgeous panoramic views over the Mediterranean Sea. Historically, this vantage point served as a strategic military lookout to defend against invasions and pirate attacks. But, over the years, it has become a popular attraction since you can take stunning pictures of Benidorm’s skyline from here.

Many consider the Balcón del Mediterráneo the boundary between Levante and Poniente beaches. So, this is a must-see place in Benidorm.

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6. Shopping in Benidorm

Although Benidorm doesn’t particularly stand out as a fashion mecca, you can find several shops and boutiques in the city.

Although Benidorm is not a Spanish fashion mecca, you can find cheaper shops and boutiques with all kinds of clothing
Although Benidorm is not a Spanish fashion mecca, you can find cheaper shops and boutiques with all kinds of clothing

One of the primary destinations for shopping in Benidorm is the Avenida Martínez Alejos. This street stretches through the central part of Benidorm and hosts stores selling clothing and accessories. These shops often feature items crafted by Spanish designers, but you can also find international brands here.

In the Old Town, the Passeig de la Carretera, a pedestrian street that runs through the heart of this district, is a mandatory stop. Historically a part of the original village, it bears numerous traditional shops that sell local handicrafts and souvenirs. These items often reflect the culture and artistry native to the region.

Furthermore, El Mercadillo Pueblo, which operates every Wednesday and Sunday in Benidorm’s Old Town area, has been a tradition for several decades. You can get fresh produce directly from local growers and other products like clothing and housewares in the market. Hence, this market allows you to experience an authentic side of the city. So, this is among the top things to do in Benidorm’s Old Town.

Benidorm is a city that doesn’t take itself too seriously; you can see that in many of its shops. So, you may find spicy souvenirs to bring back home and make your loved ones laugh. You can even find some creepy, made-in-Spain dolls in Benidorm.

Spicy souvenirs in Benidorm
Spicy souvenirs in Benidorm
You can buy all kinds of things in this Spanish city
You can buy all kinds of things in this Spanish city

7. Exploring the Sierra Helada Natural Park

Parque Natural de Serra Gelada is a natural protected area. This beautiful park covers around 5,660 hectares, including land and marine areas.

Located on the easternmost part of the province of Alicante, Sierra Helada rises dramatically from the Mediterranean Sea. The park’s name translates to “Ice Mountain” in English, derived from the appearance of its cliffs gleaming white under the moonlight.

The main hiking route in the park stretches along cliffs and provides views of the Mediterranean Sea and Benidorm. Notable points within the park include the Albir Lighthouse and the remains of the Olla Mine, where ochre was extracted until the twentieth century.

Sierra Helada also houses essential flora and fauna. Plant species adapted to rock crevices, and arid conditions can be found here. Furthermore, it provides a habitat for birds such as Eleonora’s falcon and seabirds that nest in the high cliffs.

8. Partying in Benidorm’s Bars and Clubs

Benidorm is home to several high-rated bars and clubs that cater to most music tastes. In general, the nightlife in Benidorm blends modern music, a lot of neon signs, and the right amount of tacky and kitsch to make it extra fun.

The city's nightlife always has a campy touch
The city’s nightlife always has a campy touch

Among the venues in Benidorm, Penelope Beach Club stands out. This club plays primarily electronic dance music and welcomes international DJs. Penelope Beach is at Playa de Levante, Avinguda Alcoi, 10. Moreover, Penelope also hosts LGBTQIA+ events and parties.

Zodiaco Bar, found at Avenida de Mallorca, offers a different atmosphere with live rock music. In addition, this bar welcomes all kinds of performances, including hypnosis. So, if you want to know a more alternative side of the city, Zodiaco is among the best bars in Benidorm.

Lastly, the Secret Fountain Roof Bar Garden, located atop the Hotel Marina Resort, also at Avenida de Mallorca, is a lounge that welcomes an older crowd. This bar is perfect for sipping cocktails while relaxing music plays.

9. Living the Eurovision Frenzy at the Benidorm Fest

The Benidorm Fest is an annual festival. This event takes place at the Palacio de Deportes L’Illa. The festival aims to select Spain’s entry for the Eurovision Song Contest. It began as a revival of the historic Festival Español de la Canción de Benidorm, significant in Spanish popular music between 1959 and 2006.

If you’re a Eurovision fan, you must get tickets to the Benidorm Fest many months in advance. However, even if you don’t attend the festival, you can still enjoy it in the city’s streets. For example, big screens at the Plaza Triangular play the festival live and welcome performances from artists from previous editions.

The festival also features events that continue into the night with after-parties. These post-festival parties occur in venues like Penelope Beach Club, with performances, Eurovision songs playing, and lots of dancing. But, like the festival, you must buy tickets for these events in advance.

The Benidorm Fest is usually scheduled for late January or early February. This festival’s bringing a younger crowd to Benidorm, a city that’s always been more popular with an older generation of tourists.

10. Visiting the Algar Waterfalls

The Algar Waterfalls are near Callosa d’en Sarrià, in the Alicante province, about 9 miles (15 km) from Benidorm. The waterfalls are within the Algar River and are part of a protected area known as ‘Fonts de l’Algar.’

This natural attraction is at an altitude ranging from 50 to 600 meters above sea level. Visually, the cascading water amid a Mediterranean landscape is breathtaking. The Algar Waterfalls area also hosts several points of interest: Dino Park, a dinosaur theme park, and the Eco-Museum, which exhibits traditional uses of resources in theAlicante mountains.

11. Refreshing at the City’s Water Parks

This city houses several water parks
This city houses several water parks

Water parks in Benidorm become popular attractions during the warm months.

One of Benidorm’s most popular water parks is Aqualandia in Sierra Helada. Opened in 1985, it features over 15 water rides and swimming pools suitable for different age groups. A notable ride in this park is the Verti-Go slide, which holds the title of Europe’s highest capsule slide. This ride can drop you from a height of 108 feet (33 meters) at speeds that can reach 62 miles (100 kilometers) per hour. Aqualandia is usually open from May until October.

Another popular destination is Aqua Natura, part of the Terra Natura complex. Designed with a Greek theme, Aqua Natura has water slides, a wave pool, and a children’s area. This park prides itself on its access to marine life so that you can see sea lions through underwater viewing points.

12. Traveling in Time at Terra Mítica

Terra Mítica is a theme park divided into five zones: Egypt, Greece, Rome, Iberia, and the Islands. Each zone features rides and attractions designed to represent ancient civilizations from the Mediterranean region.

The park houses numerous attractions, such as the Magnus Colossus, a wooden roller coaster that was once among the longest in Europe. The SynKope, a giant pendulum ride, and Titánide, an inverted roller coaster, are other popular attractions in Terra Mítica. Yet, Terra Mítica does not solely focus on rides; it also offers shows that depict historical events.

This park operates seasonally with variable opening times depending on the time of year. The schedule and exact dates for special events appear on its official website.

13. Practicing Water Sports

You can practice paddleboarding at Cala Mal Pas
You can practice paddleboarding at Cala Mal Pas

Water sports enthusiasts will also have plenty of things to do in Benidorm.

One of the prominent water sports practiced in Benidorm is windsurfing. Levante Beach has become a central point for windsurfing due to its favorable wind conditions and clear waters. In the summer months, there are even windsurfing competitions in Levante Beach.

Another sport commonly engaged in Benidorm is scuba diving. The seascape features interesting underwater geography and marine life that draw scuba divers. Several dive sites are located off the coast, such as L’Illa de Benidorm, a small island.

Kayaking and paddleboarding are also popular in Benidorm’s coastal areas. Cala Mal Pas provides sheltered waters that are ideal for these activities. Kayaking tours often visit the cove’s neighboring areas, allowing you to view the coastline differently.

Lastly, Benidorm’s marina organizes regattas and sailing events throughout the year. Sailing schools in the city offer courses for skill levels ranging from beginner to advanced.

14. Celebrating Pride

Benidorm Pride is an annual event that celebrates the LGBTQ+ community and promotes equality and visibility. It typically occurs in September, and the first edition was in 2011.

The main Benidorm Pride activities take place in the Old Town and Levante. You can attend events such as parades, live music performances, and parties during Benidorm Pride.

However, the central point of the festival is the Playa de Levante, where The Big Parade takes place. The parade is a prominent feature of Benidorm Pride, showcasing vibrant floats and groups marching to show support for LGBTQ+ rights.