A sea of glittering skyscrapers lines five perfect kilometers of golden sand, caressed by remarkably calm, clean seas and thousands of relaxed and slightly sunburned travelers. Welcome to Benidorm, once only a small fishing village and now home to more than 1,000 restaurants, 30 discos, a dozen cabarets, four theme parks, and some 50,000 rooms where you can crash for a few hours, if you absolutely must. Visitors from all over Spain and Europe frequent its beaches and town for the many recreational water sports as well as the restaurants, cafes, and bars located scenically along its waterfront.
Choose your beach, Playa de Poniente to the right, Playa de Levante to the left, where you can enjoy more than 300 days of sunny skies every year. In summer months, it is an absolute bacchanal, though there's always plenty of family-friendly fun as well. Scuba diving in the underwater crevices of the rocky cliffs is also particularly good here.
The town has both modern, tree-lined avenues and a historic old town (casco antiguo) with plenty of pockets for exploring. The old town has a beautiful blue-domed church and scenic streets, while the newer parts of the area boast spectacular nightlife. Both offer great restaurants featuring fresh local seafood. Its promenade, with views of the surrounding sea and hills, is another popular spot for a stroll.
Benidorm has been a destination for holiday-makers and retirees since the 1970s, particularly from the UK and Ireland. Thus, there's a large English-speaking expat population and plenty of accessible tourist infrastructure, even if you left your phrasebook on the plane. Most people arrive at busy Alicante Airport (ALC), 36 miles (58 km) southwest of Benidorm. Note that taxis should use the set rate, not meters, which will result in a more expensive trip. Buses are the cheapest way between the two coastal cities, and run hourly from the airport to the Benidorm bus station 8am until 11pm. The trip takes just under 1 hour.