The Benidorm Debacle: Alcoholic’s paradise or family-friendly haven?
Once a beautiful, quiet Spanish town, you may say that Benidorm’s perfection was also its downfall. The minute we Brits stepped our flip-flop clad feet onto its sandy, white shore, the old town was transformed into a major resort. Less quaint Spanish town and more heaving Manhattan madness, its loveable fishing village facets soon became no more than relics, replaced by a skyline of unsightly tower blocks. And as for the natives? Kicked out by a bunch of cheap booze-seeking British lager louts, Nuts mag in hand and sandal/sock combo in tow.
Yet before you click away in horror, this embarrassing black cloud does have a silver lining. Over the past few years, authorities have made it their mission to shake off this ill reputation and restore Benidorm to its former glory. Now attracting all kinds of visitors, from families with young children to graduates looking for a wild time, this bustling resort aims to cater to everyone. And this it does well – the key to its success understandably lying within the phrase: ‘low-budget holiday’. And while you may not exactly find cultural refinement in Benidorm, you will most definitely find a good time.
According to James Reid of The Benidorm Guide, “Benidorm is perfect for both families and those looking for a boozy holiday. For families, the beach is fantastic, there is plenty of entertainment and some great excursions (Terra Mitica and Aqualandia to name a few)- not to mention the neighbouring towns of Altea, Alicante, Javea, Calpe etc. On the other side of the coin, Benidorm is truly a great place to let your hair down – plenty of pubs, cheap beer and a diverse scene to dance the night away.”
In fact, for those of you who fear the rough and ready Benidorm of ten years ago, rest assured that millions of families return time and time again, knowing that they will find inexpensive accommodation that is clean, comfortable and well-equipped for their individual needs. Of course parts of Benidorm have remained noisy – be warned of Avenida de Mallorca, where drink is cheap and bars are open all night – but with these expert tips, you can avoid the more boisterous areas and keep your sanity intact.
1) Choose Poniente beach over Levante
If you want to lose your kids to a stag party or you particularly enjoy a background music of 50-year-old men chanting ‘ooh ah ye’ at the tops of their voices, then Levante is the place. However, if you weren’t planning on either of these, we recommend Poniente: a much quieter, bigger and far less stressful stretch of sand. Poniente is also cleaned every night meaning by the time you and your family arrive, it’s completely free of all those cigarette butts and beer bottles that the night revelers tend to leave behind.
2) Do not stay too close to the Square
This is stag and hen central. It’s not uncommon to find a few yobbish Brits conversing with each other across the street through megaphones picked up at one of the Chinese shops. AVOID.
3) Avoid all-inclusive resorts
Unless you want some tanked-up twerp stuttering something along the lines of ‘cheer up you’re on holiday’ to your two-year-old daughter, with a breath so alcoholic it could get an elephant wasted – we’d say choose a family-friendly hotel such as Flamingo Oasis, Benidorm Plaza or Belroy. The solely all-inclusive hotels understandably attract an entirely different audience.
4) Do not do your food shopping at Lidl
On the one hand it’s the cheapest place to shop in Benidorm, but on the other, and this may seem a little harsh, the store is racked with rage-inducing pensioners, who seem to think a trip to Lidl is some kind of afternoon out. And they’ll run down anyone who stands in the way of the till with a trolley full of wet ones and denture cleaner.
5) Be careful where you eat
It could be your last. Avoid Top Road and head for the Old town. The Winnie the Pooh-themed café, Honey Pot, offers a full selection of food all day long as well as a Tigger menu for kids. There is also The Cellar, a ‘kid’s pub’, near Levante beach, which offers great entertainment, including clowns every night from 8-10pm and a parrot show on Sundays and Tuesdays at 11pm. The nearby White Horse family pub is another good one, allowing parents to have a drink while children play games in the back.
To read our latest blog guide to Benidorm, just click here.