Benidorm is one of those cities in Spain that attract many tourists seeking the sun and the beach every year. However, there is a side to Benidorm that is known by less people, and it has nothing to do with the city of skyscrapers, unbridled fun and crowded beaches Benidorm is mostly known for. This other city displays interesting traces from the past, and one can leisurely walk through it or simply enjoy the landscape. This gem in the province of Alicante has many secret spots to discover, and it might even surprise the most skeptic travellers. Hence, in the following lines, we will tell you what to see in Benidorm if you want to really get to know this beautiful city.
The surroundings of Benidorm welcomed ancient Iberian settlers, and the Romans inhabited this land as well. In fact, they have found the remains of an old stronghold dating back to the first century B.C. However, it was an admiral called Bernardo de Sarriá who founded the city in 1325. Either way, the attacks coming from Berber pirates only a century later and other historical events would end up decimating its population for a period of time.
Later on, in the 17th century, Benidorm rose again from the ashes. It progressively grew as a small town, subsisting on agriculture and fishing. The latter was their main means of livelihood, and they used a technique called Almadraba. Life went on smoothly and peacefully in the following centuries. That was until 1956, when they passed an urban regulation whose main goal was to place Benidorm under the spotlight of Spanish tourism.
The outcome was more than successful. Nowadays, Benidorm is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Spain. Not only that: it became a record-breaking city. It has more skyscrapers than Madrid and Barcelona, with almost 30 buildings that are more than 100 metres high. Besides, the former small fishing town welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors in peak season every year. Indeed, it is regarded as one of the best places to visit in the Valencian Community.
The beautiful beaches of Benidorm are probably its most popular tourist attraction. It makes sense, considering the city is surrounded by silky, golden strands of sand on the Mediterranean coast that truly feel like a dream. Those beaches are one of Benidorm’s distinguishing features, as well as the skyscrapers forming a spectacular Mediterranean skyline. However, there are many other interesting spots worth visiting in Benidorm.
A beautiful lookout known as the Mediterranean balcony rests on the cliff dividing the two main beaches of Benidorm, where a castle used to stand, protecting the land against pirate attacks. There, we can enjoy the best views of the city. There are only a few remains from the old castle, but once we reach this place, it becomes really easy to understand why they chose it as a vantage point. It unfolds before us the immensity of the Mediterranean Sea, as well as the beaches and skyscrapers of the city and the natural park of Serra Gelada.
Not far from the Mediterranean balcony, we can find a place reminiscing a past with no giant buildings, where the streets only got crowded during important events. The Neoclassical church of San Jaime y Santa Ana stands out for its great blue dome from the 18th century. Its interior hosts the chapel of the Virgen del Sufragio, the patron saint of the city.
Benidorm has a lovely green space too. But the park of L’Aigüera is much more than that: it is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and calmly walk along the trees. It was designed by the architecture firm of Ricardo Bofill, and it has a large walkway surrounded by gardens, as well as two auditoriums which host the most important events of the city.
There are still a few remains of the Roman past of the city. They might not be as impressive as the remains found in other places of the Valencian Community, but many people would be surprised to know that the history of Benidorm goes back to such distant times. We can actually visit the ruins of the old Roman castellum while enjoying one of the most beautiful sights in the city.
Apart from the city, Benidorm has great natural settings to visit too. We can leave behind its streets and buildings to explore this beautiful nature park, where we can admire a picture of impressive cliffs and coves. Serra Gelada is a true paradise, perfect for those who love hiking, biking, and scuba diving. Two must-sees in the natural park of Serra Gelada are the spectacular lookout of La Cruz and the watchtower of La Escaleta, dating back to the 16th century.
There are many other tourist attractions in Benidorm nobody should miss, like the peculiar charm of its islet or the amusement park known as Terra Mítica. There is also its rich gastronomy, and the picturesque street markets. All in all, there are many things one can do and see in Benidorm, which makes it really worth it to forget about beaches and parties for a while to discover one of the most surprising cities on the Mediterranean coast.