Benidorm: Wikis

Advertisements
  
  

Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Encyclopedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Benidorm
—  Municipality  —

Coat of arms
Benidorm is located in Spain
Benidorm
Location in Spain
Coordinates: 38°32′03″N 0°07′53″W / 38.53417°N 0.13139°W / 38.53417; -0.13139Coordinates: 38°32′03″N 0°07′53″W / 38.53417°N 0.13139°W / 38.53417; -0.13139
Country  Spain
Autonomous community  Valencian Community
Province Alicante
Comarca Marina Baixa
Judicial district Benidorm
Government
 - Alcalde Agustín Navarro (2009) (Independent, left PSPV)
Area
 - Total 38.51 km2 (14.9 sq mi)
Elevation 15 m (49 ft)
Population (2008)
 - Total 70,280
 Density 1,825/km2 (4,726.7/sq mi)
 - Demonym Benidormer, benidormera
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 03501-03503
Official language(s) Valencian
Website Official website

Benidorm (Valencian pronunciation: [beniˈðɔɾm], Spanish: [beniˈðor]) is a Valencian coastal town and municipality located in the comarca of Marina Baixa, in the province of Alicante, Spain, by the western Mediterranean Sea.

Prior to the 1960s, Benidorm was a small village. Today it stands out for its hotel industry, beaches and skyscrapers, built as a result of its tourist-oriented economy. According to the 2004 census, Benidorm has a permanent population of 64,956 inhabitants, ranking as the fifth most populous town in the Alicante province. It is one of the most important holiday resorts in Spain, with an area of 38.5 km² and a population density of 1,593.56 inhab/km². Due to the unique skyline formed by its numerous tall hotels and apartment buildings it is sometimes referred to as the "Manhattan of Spain" or "Beniyork", which is unlike any other on the Costa Blanca (White Coast). According to the Urban Age project, Benidorm has the most high-rise buildings per capita in the world.[1] Benidorm itself is dwarfed by the 1406 m tall Puig Campana, which is one of the most impressive mountains of the Costa Blanca.

Contents

Local politics

After giving the socialist PSOE majorities or pluralities in elections from the restoration of democracy in 1977, Benidorm has favoured the right wing Popular Party (PP) since the general elections of 1993.[2] The PP gained control of the local council at the 1995 local elections and won 14 of the 25 council seats in the 1999 and 2003 elections. The 2007 election gave them a one seat majority over the PSOE[3] however disagreements in the PP group led to a motion of censure being passed against the PP mayor in September 2009 and he was replaced by the socialist Agustín Navarro.[4]

Geography

The city is divided into halves, Poniente and Levante, each fronted by a beach of the same name. Between the two beaches lies a rocky promontory. The old city occupies this promontory and the area immediately inland, while most of the hotels occupy the more recently developed sections behind the two beaches. A few miles from shore is an uninhabited island which provides a dramatic centerpiece to the seascape.

In 1954 Pedro Zaragoza Orts, the then young Mayor of Benidorm, created the Plan General de Ordenación (city building plan) that ensured, via a complex construction formula, every building would have an area of ‘leisure’ land, guaranteeing a future free of the excesses of cramped construction seen in other areas of Spain. It is the only city in Spain that still adheres to this rigid rule. Climb to the top of the Sierra Helada, the promontory at the end of the Rincon de Loix, for a view of how green the city is and just how close it is to the mountains.

Advertisements

Climate

Benidorm has a special micro-climate all year round thanks to the mountains which surround the town. With some 3,400 hours of sunshine a year and an average annual temperature on the coast of 18°C (15°C in winter and 26°C in summer). Between December and March the temperature of the sea water is around 15°C.[citation needed].

Tourism

Aerial view of Benidorm

Benidorm is popular with tourists from northern Europe, especially those from the UK. Benidorm's initial growth in popularity can be attributed to the package holiday explosion, and continues year round, due to the night-life based around the central concentration of bars and clubs. The large number of free cabaret acts that start around 2100 hours and continue into the early hours set Benidorm apart from other similar resorts.

The author and Guardian journalist Giles Tremlett identified the resort as the birthplace of package tourism in the book Ghosts of Spain: Travels Through a Country's Hidden Past and remarked that culturally the resort contradicted conservative notions of National Catholicism that General Franco had espoused[5]. The accessibility of Benidorm to a wider social strata was also detailed in 1990 by the columnist Jani Allan describing in the Sunday Times "These days you just have to look at the numbers of wide-bodied jets bearing wide-bodied holidaymakers to Benidorm to realise that package holidays and airborne cattle trucks make fun in the sun accessible to everyone."[6]

Benidorm has three major beaches: Llevante, Poniente and Mal Pas; all of them have a blue flag, the maximum quality standard recognized by the European Union. The Gran Hotel Bali, a four-star hotel located in this city since 2002, is a 186-meter-tall building which stood as the tallest skyscraper in Spain for five years, until it was surpassed by the CTBA towers in Madrid.

Events and attractions

Each summer, since 1959, the city celebrates the Benidorm International Song Festival, a song contest where international or Spanish celebrities like Julio Iglesias, Raphael or the Dúo Dinámico became famous.

Benidorm boasts three family-oriented theme parks: Terra Mítica is located inland from the city, at the foot of the mountain and Aqualandia and Mundomar are located on the outskirts of the city on the Llevant side. In addition to large shopping and commercial areas.

Demographics

Ethnicity

Benidorm is one of the most international towns in Europe and has the highest immigrant population of any town in Spain.

Ethnicity makeup
Spanish British/Irish Dutch/Belgian Romanian German Other
56% 19% 13% 6% 3% 3%

Population growth

Demographic evolution of Benidorm between 1857 and 2005
1857 1887 1910 1930 1950 1960 1970 1981 1991 1996 2001 2005
3,720 3,183 3,498 3,113 2,726 6,259 12,124 25,544 42,442 50,044 51,873 67,492
Sunset in Benidorm

See also

References

  1. ^ Burdett, Ricky & Sudjic, Deyan. The Endless City. Phaidon Press Ltd. Mar 1, 2008.
  2. ^ election results in Benidorm
  3. ^ 2007 local election
  4. ^ Las Provincias 22 September 2009
  5. ^ Tremlett, Giles (2006). Ghosts of Spain: Travels Through a Country's Hidden Past. Faber and Faber. 
  6. ^ Allan, Jani. British determination to acquire a suntan; Is this the end of burning ambition? Sunday Times, 06 May 1990

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Benidorm is a seaside resort on the Costa Blanca in the province of Alicante, Valencia, Spain. It has a large Spanish population as well as a large retired British population. It has been offering value holidays to over 5 million visitors every year since the 1970's. Benidorm was built compact thanks to the foresight of the towns mayor who in the 1960´s saw a vision of a resort which grew upwards. Now it is slowly spreading westwards. Today Benidorm is famous for tall hotels and holiday apartment blocks some of which are over 25 floors high. Since 2006 Benidorm has also seen a huge increase in the quality of accommodation, both hotels and apartments offered and now attracts not just package holiday visitors but a more discerning and demanding tourist who look for the new 5 star hotel and spa complexes which have been completed recently. Due to the July-August crowd of young people, many apartments will insist on a refundable deposit for certain times of the year.

Tree lined wide avenues give a feeling of space where there are over 1,000 places to eat and drink and watch the town in full swing. The streets offer a very vibrant atmosphere day and night with something to offer visitors of any age group. There are over 41,000 hotel beds and modern tourist apartments. The biggest assets are the 4kms of Blue Flag** safe sandy beaches which draw people from all over Spain in Summer months and from all over Europe 365 days of the year. Benidorm is an ideal sun destination both in Summer and Winter due to the mild climate where day time temperatures rarely fall below 18c. ** Note Benidorm lost it's Blue Flag Beach status for the Levante Playa in 2009 this is expected to be reinstated in 2010 following an issue with one spot check water test. The Poniente Playa still retains Blue Flag status

Get in

AIRPORT: There are daily flights to Alicante Airport from most major European cities serviced by over 30 low cost and scheduled airlines. The majority of incoming flights are from the UK which offer the best value seat prices due to high competition in this sector. There are also many low cost airlines flying from various UK airports which offer great prices. There are a number of online shuttle services to Benidorm for 10 euros or less each way.

TRAINS: The station is at the far west of town. Benidorm is served by fast trams from Alicante (journey time 1 hour 9 mins) which connects to the rest of Spain through the national rail network. High speed trains offer connections through France and the rest or Europe via Alicante. Intending passengers should note that in Alicante, the trams terminate at Mercado station, about 1 kilometre from the main (RENFE) station, and in Benidorm the station is about 2 km from the town centre. You will need your ticket's barcode to get out of the station. There is also an hourly train service from Benidorm to Denia. Travellers should buy a return ticket.

BUSES / COACHES: Benidorm has a good local bus service which connects to local towns such as Altea, Alicante and Calpe. A new coach and bus station opened in 2008 with International routes to many European countries such as Bulgaria, Romania, Italy and France is situated at the far west end of town. Most visitors pre-book with the many transfer companies who offer cheap transport from Alicante airport direct to recognised Hotels.

TAXIS: From Alicante airport Licensed taxis operate from the terminal building with a journey time of 45 minutes to Benidorm. As taxi drivers have to pay a heavy fee to get a taxi licence, this is reflected in the fares charged.

CAR: Benidorm is well connected to the rest of Spain via the national motorway network. Madrid and Barcelona are under 5 hours drive. Benidorm is close to the Autopista 7. Parking in Benidorm can be difficult as most streets have cars parked day and night on both sides of the road (some are pay spaces). A few hotels will have their own parking areas.

Get around

Discovering central Benidorm is easy on foot as that area is very compact especially the Levante Playa area which is chosen by most visitors as the area to stay. It is easy to walk a few miles and still remain in town. There are a few companies opposite the Wednesday/Sunday market which hire or sell motability scooters for the disabled and sometimes just plain lazy who want to get around town. There is an excellent local bus service which runs until midnight. Walking time from one end of the resort to the other is over an hour's walk. The Alicante to Denia railway station is nearly a mile in a slowly uphill walk from the Old Town with the bus station not far north of it.

See

Benidorm has two spectacular Blue Flag (Note: Blue Flag Status on the LEvante Playa was lost in 2009 but it is expected to be back in 2010) beaches the preferred Levante and more sedate Poniente which is preferred by locals and families. The Poniente Playa has just seen the opening of (August 2009) a new 13 million Euro promenade including a boardwalk at beach level and easier access for wheelchair users. In total there are 4kms of safe, sandy beach in Benidorm.

As a purpose built beach resort everything is geared toward fun and enjoyment there is therefore not much to see for those looking for culture. The surrounding towns and villages which are less than 20 minutes drive by car or 30 minutes by bus are well worth exploring for anyone looking for "Real Spain". In Benidorm the old town does still retain some of the quaint past when the town was a small village. Head for the old town Church where you will find the most interesting part of the town.

  • Aqualandia: Family water park.
  • Mundomar : Animal and sealife park.
  • Benidorm Palace: Las Vegas style cabaret and dinner show seating over 2,000
    • Altea : Stunning old town just 12kms by bus from Benidorm
  • Terra Mitica [1]: Huge theme park with thrill rides a must visit place.
  • Terra Natura : Wildlife and water park.
  • Blanket trips: These are free tours to nearby resorts, towns and markets. Unlike timeshare sales, there is no hard sell and if you do not want to buy anything, that is fine. The downside is that by time you have sat through two demos and had something to eat, you arrive at a place at 12:30 or later as the shops are shutting and leave 2 hours later as they are opening again. Or get there when a market is mostly over.

Walking: For those who enjoy walking there are many interesting place to walk if you take a local bus to the outlying villages such as Finestrast, Villa Joyosa and Albir or Calpe.

Boat Trips: There are boat trips to the Isla de Benidorm wildlife sanctuary and Calpe. In Summer you can take a trip to Tabarca a small island off Alicante.

There are a number of internet cafes, some coin fed. Free wifi can be obtained inside and outside at the Levant Beach McDonalds (Avinguda del Medierranmi), Old Town end. The McDonalds at the far end of Levant also has free wifi but only 30 minutes.

Buy

An abundance of cheap leather and shoes are on offer all year. Also look out for artisans markets which take place throughout the year during Fiesta times and in July August. At these you can buy local cheeses and produce plus jewelery, pottery and paintings. Most visitors from outside of Spain also take advantage of the cheap Alcohol and Cigarettes. Note Tobacco prices are set by the government in Spain so buy at any of the Tobacco shops no need to shop around. There are a number of Bazaars around who sell products from 80 cents and have a wide selection of essentials, nik-naks, food and other things at that price.

There is a large market Sundays and Wednesdays which mostly has things you can buy elsewhere. There is also a Sunday bootsale market (El Cisne) to the NW of town on the Altea Valencia road (N-332). Car, taxi or number 10 bus.

Eat

There are over 1,000 places to eat. The best area for restaurants and Tapas bars are found in the old town where you will find of course Spanish cuisine and also English, French, Algerian and Dutch food. On the Levante area food is typical tourist fare with many English cafe bars offering home style food to the English visitors. It is best to search the old town if you want some real quality local food such as the famous Jamon and excellent local wines from the Jalon valley. There are also many Chinese restaurants from a fairly large Chinese community who also have shops which sell items from China. Breakfast is a favourite of many with an ample fried breakfast starting from two euros.

Drink

There are 800 bars selling alcohol and as such competition is huge, with happy hours, two for one, etc. There are many small bars offering bottled beer at 1€ and themed bars are in abundance. You will find British pubs, Dutch bars and Irish bars plus the many Spanish cafeteria bars which offer local Spanish favourites. Basically whatever your tipple you will find it in Benidorm. Football is shown on large TV screens art many of them. There are a number of live acts and entertainment, karaoke, and of course, Sticky Vicki, now joined by her daughter Demaria Leyton.

Sleep

Benidorm offers over 240 Hotels and holiday apartment complexes from 1 to 5 star rating. Everyone will find a room to fit their budget. It should be remembered that hotels have daily maid service and apartments weekly maid service. Competition is massive therefore prices are some of the lowest in Spain especially out of season. Shop around for good deals. Be aware that you may have to pay 50 to 100 euros deposit before check-in. The most popular places to stay are the lively Levante ideal for families and groups. The old town preferred by couples and more mature visitors offering a less frantic holiday. The Poniente ideal for beach holidays and peace and quiet. Also La Cala Finestrat on the outskirts of Benidorm preferred by those who want a relaxed holiday away from the late nights and discos.

Location Benidorm To find where to sleep in Benidorm

Safety

One feature over the last few years on travel forums is pick-pocketing and even some cases of mugging in Benidorm. When someone asked about "Muggers Alley", two different locations were given. Be careful in crowds, notably the Sunday-Wednesday market which has general things which you can buy as cheap elsewhere and the Sunday bootsale market which has older things and collectibles. Valuables should not be left in (empty) cars or apartments. Lock all doors and windows when leaving your apartment. Most rooms will come with a safe.

Despite these warnings visitors should remember that at peak times Benidorm hosts up to 200,000 people, therefore the true crime numbers are actually quite small. Sadly crimes are talked about around the many bars and tend to be exaggerated somewhat. In reality Benidorm is as safe as any other busy tourist resort where the majority of petty crime takes place late at night and usually involves alcohol fueled crimes. The police have a very visible presence, in cars.

Get out

The towns nearby are worth a visit. Altea is a quiet up-market town with a lot more Spanish Culture and a stunning original old town which is well preserved. It also has a weekly outdoor market. Guadalest is a village that also deserves to be visited, many of the houses here are over 400 years old and there are spectacular views of the mountains. For a great day out the city of Valencia is a must which you can reach by express coach in 90 minutes from Benidorm.

If you hire a car you will also find the entire region is a hive of small villages and picturesque mountains. A recommended route to see the real Spain is to head toward Finestrat just 9kms from Benidorm and drive from there into the mountains where you will find a different world. For wine lovers head toward Calpe (30 minutes drive) and take the signs for Jalon where you will find the wine growing region and almond groves.

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

Advertisements






Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address
Message