Your guide to a superb stag do in the bustling Brit tourist favourite
Benidorm does parties as standard, happy hours last forever, there’s an all-year-round open invitation to stags and hens and if you can’t find someone, somewhere to serve you a drink whenever you want one, you’re not looking hard enough. There are cabarets and shows and live gigs and events and festivals all summer long, all over the town and its fantastic beaches. Every inch of water is used for something fast, furious and thrilling. And if you need a quiet moment to recalibrate, walk up to the Old Town and wander about, it’s a surprisingly pretty side of Benidorm and just another unexpected pleasure in a resort that’s full of them.
Benidorm at a glance:
- A hit with expats and tourists who just decide to stay, more than a third of Benidorm’s residents aren’t Spanish
- One of the most popular British holiday destinations in Spain, attracting more than 4m visitors a year
- Enjoys 325 days of sunshine every year
- Most high-rise buildings per capita in the world, but also has an attractive Old Town to explore, perfect for recharging your batteries
- All three of Benidorm’s main beaches have had Blue Flag status since 1987
Parte Vieja – away from high-rises and beaches and into another Benidorm entirely
We all know the iconic image of Benidorm’s coastline with its wall of high-rise hotels rising in front of the Sierra Cortina against a flawless blue sky. It’s the Costa Blanca perfectly put. But tucked away behind the towering modernity there’s another town completely. Parte Vieja, or Benidorm Old Town, is sweet and charming with cobbled streets and traditional houses. It’s where you’ll find specialist shops and art galleries, chic little restaurants and cute pavement cafés. The best tapas bars are here on Santo Domingo and Passeig de la Carretera. And even when you’re down on the beach giving it plenty, it’s nice to know this small slice of peace is there to be enjoyed when you feel like it.
Downtown – where Benidorm never sleeps
The town centre proper holds most of Benidorm’s bars, clubs and late, late, late night excess. It’s close to the beach so all the main attractions are focused here too. And its street after street of restaurants, diners and cafés – so if what you want to eat isn’t Downtown, it doesn’t exist.
Levante District – big beach and all the best beach stuff
Beautiful Poniente Beach might have the promenade and be the place for exercise classes, serious runners and Sunday strolls, but it you want watersports and relentless activity you need Levante. Everything here is about the outdoors and even the bars, cafés and restaurants have a sporty feel. Benidorm’s second biggest beach is 2km of playtime. Europe’s first cable-ski is here (the best way to learn water-skiing and wakeboarding). You can jet-ski, kitesurf, windsurf, canoe, kayak, enjoy fly-fishing, parasailing and just plain sailing too. It’s busy, especially in summer, but if you walk a bit along to the far end and a little away from the action, you can often find a quiet spot to recharge for a bit.
Sierra Helada- the perfect adventure playground
The mighty hills that gives Benidorm an amazing micro-climate also one of the best outdoor adventure playgrounds on the Costa Blanca. From mountain biking tours to canyoning expeditions, hiking and survival skills to parascending and paragliding, the hills have it here and it’s all great for lads who like something a little adventurous.
Best bars in Benidorm:
Champions, The Square - https://www.facebook.com/ChampionsBarBenidorm
Great music, cheap drinks and non-stop international sports on the TV would be enough, but Champions throws in a different event nearly every night and has a mechanical bull just for good measure.
Amigos Bar, Calle Buen Retiro 4 - www.amigosbarbenidorm.weebly.com/
Real ale in the Old Town so you know it’s authentic but just in case you were in any doubt, Amigos does live local music and an excellent Spanish menu too.
Cotton Bali Club, Calle Luis Prendes 4 - www.en.granhotelbali.com/services/
You can’t miss this one, it’s in the tallest high-rise hotel in Europe, the Gran Hotel Bali. Known for the annual Bali Dance Festival and its lineup of international DJs, the Cotton Bali Club plays new dance music as standard and the crowd is young and lively.
Yorkshire Pride, Calle Gerona - www.thebenidormmap.com/benidorm.../yorkshire_pride_benidorm.html
One of three Yorkshire Pride Bars in Benidorm, this one’s famous for its enormous selection of British beers, huge mixed grill, live sports and seven nights of live music all summer.
Jail Rock Music Bar, Calle Gerona - www.jailrockbenidorm.com/
Tribute acts are everything here and basically you’re nobody till somebody’s been you at Jail Rock. Apart from the ‘almost famous’, the all-night-every-night happy hour is a bit of a party pleaser too.
Bodhran Irish Bar, Avinguda Doctor Orts Llorca
Irish cider, Spanish beer and British ale, eclectic doesn’t even begin to describe this Benidorm institution. Sport on TV, home-cooking from first thing in the morning and live music every night after 9.30pm. www.thebodhranbenidorm.com
Sensations, Calle San Alicante 41
One of Benidorm’s brilliant and inclusive gay bars and a big favourite for theme nights and wild, wild parties so always worth dropping in to see what’s happening.
Morgans Tavern, Calle de Gerona - https://www.facebook.com/.../Morgans-Tavern-Benidorm/18286801839
If this one looks familiar, don’t be surprised, it’s the main bar in the British TV sitcom ‘Benidorm’. The real thing has loads of great drinks deals, a fantastic friendly atmosphere and live acts every night – gets very busy.
Tiki Beach Cocktail and Music Bar, Avenida de Madrid - www.youtube.com/watch?v=LL5gUMeaPTo
Brilliantly placed right on Levante Beach boulevard, Tiki is famously lively and loud and very Benidorm. Top up your tan on the terrace with a cocktail or stay until late and play with all the other beach boys and girls.
Hard Rock Café, Levante Beach - www.hardrock.com/locations.aspx
It’s not the same as ‘the’ Hard Rock Café, but this great bar on Levante Beach goes one better and mixes up its excellent sounds with non-stop happy hour on different selected drinks every night.
Best clubs in Benidorm:
KU Benidorm, Avenida Comunidad Valenciana - www.realbenidorm.net/guide-discos.html
Considered by many to be the best club in Benidorm and certainly one of the busiest. Main club floor and second ‘alternative’ club floor. Celebrity DJs, outdoor swimming pool and dozens of cheap drink offers.
Club Manssion, Avenida Comunidad Valenciana - www.realbenidorm.net/gaybenidorm-dance-clubs.html
Only open on Saturdays and pulls crowds of up to 5,000 for that one night of epic clubbing. International superstar DJs have this one on their circuit and it’s known for wild times, a young crowd and offers on entry prices and drinks.
Jokers, Calle Filipinas - www.discotouchofclass.com/
Huge club that works inside and out through several rooms, terraces and even a big garden. Open until 8.30am and home to regular and legendary foam parties all summer long.
Beachcomber, Avenida de Mallorca - https://en-gb.facebook.com/BeachcomberBenidorm
Close to the beach, very relaxed and always, always busy – could be something to do with their 2-4-1 offers on all drinks, all the time.
Café Benidorm, Calle Mallorca - https://www.facebook.com/CafeBenidorm
Open from 8pm-8am and loves to party with Brits abroad. The music is cheesy but in a good way, the drink deals are amazing and the atmosphere is casual and very friendly.
Food: eat like a local:
Like most of the Costa Blanca, Benidorm does superb seafood. The town speciality is freshly caught octopus and a particular local favourite is Pulpo a la Gallega – octopus fried in paprika, rock salt and olive oil and served with potatoes.
Rincón Murciano (https://plus.google.com/.../about?gl=uk&hl=en
) on Calle Valencia 2, is Benidorm’s best kept secret and the locals who eat here quite like it that way. The food is fresh and beautifully prepared but very reasonably priced and nicely authentic.
Patatas aioli (fried potatoes and garlic mayonnaise), callos (tripe) and albondigas (meatballs) are all worth trying.
Tiffany’s Restaurant (www.alicante-spain.com/benidorm-restaurants.html
) on Avenida Mediterraneo 51, and is one of the town’s best restaurants, so not cheap. But the fresh, Mediterranean ingredients and cooking style is flawless and they have an amazing range of seafood and beyond delicious desserts.
Peggy Sue’s American Diner (Avenida de Ruzafa) is possibly the cutest restaurant on the Costa Blanca. Couldn’t be more diner style in every way and the burgers are brilliant – depending on when you go they sometimes have live bands playing American classics.
Cabaret is huge in Benidorm and Benidorm Palace (www.benidorm-palace.com/
) on Avenida Severo Ochoa, is one of the glitziest, most glamorous, show bars of the lot – and there are many. International performers, fantastic floor shows, amazing sets and you get your dinner too. This is the real deal for wild weekends.
When to visit:
On the Mediterranean and protected by the Sierra Cortina, Benidorm has a gorgeous microclimate. On average the town gets 325 days of sunshine a year but it’s much warmer in summer and much, much busier. This is the time to visit if you want the full Benidorm effect. Winter weather is still pleasant but the town’s very attractive to older Brits looking to escape the cold and rain at home, so a bit low on party atmosphere.
Best view of Benidorm:
Take the 10-minute boat ride to Peacock Island, it’s a marine reserve and one of the loveliest places to swim and the views of Benidorm, the beaches and mountains are astonishing.
A very walkable town, Benidorm is well signposted and easy to get about. A local bus service runs until midnight and taxis are fairly cheap.
Like most big tourist towns, Benidorm has pickpockets so watch out in busy places.
Hello = hola
How Are You? = como estas?
What Time Is It? = a que hora es?
Where Is? = donde es?
Cheers! = Salude!