Wednesday, May 24

The Alternative Guide To Benidorm | #VisitBenidorm, Spain

Benidorm. What springs to mind when you think of the destination? Is it beautiful white sandy beaches, quaint Spanish towns, a Mountainous National Park, clear seas for snorkelling and an incredible selection of high class restaurants? No? Me neither....until now!

Last week, I flew to Alicante with icelolly.com and four fellow bloggers, to experience 'The Alternative Side Of Benidorm' with the official Visit Benidorm Tourist Board. Often (in my opinion) poorly portrayed by the popular TV show, Benidorm is much more than the stereotypes you imagine.

From watersports to boat trips, promenade walks to wanders through the historic old town, you'll be surprised at the alternative side from the main tourist town in Benidorm. It is no secret that the climate and nightlife have played a big part in making Benidorm a resort full of fun, but it's also a destination that offers peace and tranquillity. I can honestly say that it's a place for everyone.

I went with low expectations, but came away ready to prove to all my friends, family and readers, that Benidorm has some hidden gems that you really must know about. Without further ado, let me show you just some of the activities we did and places we visited. I've got so many photos, I'm going to share a separate blog post on the food and the Sandos Monaco hotel we stayed in, so keep an eye out for those soon!



PONIENTE BEACH


One of my biggest pet peeves travelling to any beach resort (or even here at home in Bournemouth!) is the battle for a sunlounger or spot of sand to peacefully do my sunbathing. Skip Levante Beach and take a short trip west past old town, where you'll find Poniente beach, a much quieter stretch with plenty of space and completely white sand. There's little beach huts, palm trees, no litter and umbrellas to hire. If you like a beach walk, this one is also for you. There's plenty of shops and restaurants along the front, one I'd highly recommend is a restaurant called Ulia, which I'll save to share in my food post. If you like Paella and Sangria, add this to your list.

ELECTRIC BIKE HIRE


If you've ever tried quad biking, imagine that but SO much better. I find quad bikes are actually a little slow and bulky, and certainly didn't appreciate how much better an electric bike is! We hired one each from an awesome place called Tao Bike, who pride themselves on their commitment to the environment. Half a day hire only costs €18, and is a perfect way to explore Benidorm. As soon as you pedal, the motor kicks in a you're off! For someone like me who's pretty lazy when it comes to cycling, it gave me the perfect balance of pedaling, and using the elctric to get up steep hills. We went along the coast paths through town, and up to Sierra Helada Natural Park. I can't quite explain how exhilarating riding so close to the edge and looking across at the views was. We even stopped in a little cove called Playa Cala Tio Ximo. Whether you hike, cycle, drive or walk around Sierra Helada, I couldn't skip mentioning what a beautiful view point it is for see over Benidorm too. You've got to try it, trust me!

OLD TOWN


Known as 'The Balcony of the Mediterranean', this is possibly one of the prettiest and most romantic spots I've seen. On top of a rock separating Playa de Levante and Poniente Beaches, it was a fortress built to defend the people from the algerian pirates raids during the XIV, XV and XVI centuries. Now you can only see some remains of the walls that lie on the rocks of the viewpoint, a perfect picture-taking and sunset spotting location. This part of Old Town was lovely, and I'd encourage anyone to take a stroll and stop for dinner.

JET SKIING


I am a true water baby; I've grown up by the coast, drove boats before I could drive a car, and swam in the sea daily through my summer holidays. We had a jet ski as a family once upon a time, but it's been a few years since I've driven one myself. My brother is actually an instructor, so it was no surprise when I was the most excited about this activity. Benidorm has heaps of great watersports on offer, including sailing, kayaking, kite surfing and wakeboarding to name a few. I jumped on a Seadoo with Charlotte and had an absolute blast as I navigated us 50mph over the waves towards Benidorm Island. Be sure to watch my vlog (linked at the end) to hear us cackling away with laughter. Highly, highly recommend.

SNORKELLING


Being on the sea didn't stop at jet skiing, we took another short boat trip to Benidorm Island for snorkelling in completely crystal clear seas! I'm not a huge fan of snorkeling, I struggle to control my breathing and much prefer opening my eyes and seeing the fish for myself. However, I could have stayed swimming and jumping off the boat all day long. There was only one other boat next to us, it was so exhilarating having no phone and techology, just a GoPro and great group of gals. If you're up for it, there's opportunities for scuba diving too.

JEEP TOUR


When I was a little girl, my Barbie had a jeep JUST like this. I always wanted to go in one to feel the wind in my hair and sun on my skin...ahhhh. I have to admit, standing up in one was much harder than I thought (watch the vlog to see us giggle away), but the experience was fantastic. We went with Marco Polo, fitting 4 in the back and 3 in the middle. We had some incredible views through the valleys, and even stopped at a tiny Spanish village called Guadalest. An ideal way to really see the alternative side of Benidorm and all it's beauty.


I hope I've done some justice in sharing a few sides to Benidorm that you might not know about - it really is an incredible place and I totally see the appeal now. If you're looking for some fun in the sun, with a bit of something for everyone, then add it your bucket list!

If you've enjoy the photos, why not check out my vlog from the trip below?!


*This trip was courtesy of icelolly.com.



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