No Burgers, No Sunbeds, No Cabaret: Exploring the Real Benidorm
OK, so you’ve decided to book a trip to the Spanish coastal location of Benidorm. We don’t blame you; cheap, all inclusive holidays to Benidorm are just the start of your journey. While this offers an affordable and deceptively diverse travel experience, the major challenge for visitors is deciding on a viable location where they can base themselves. After all, there is considerable choice available to all, with each possible location offering diverse terrain, wonderful attractions, and variable cultural influences.
From the lively clubs and sun-lit coastline of Levante Beach and the modern Rincon de Loix, to the quiet and tranquil Poniente neighbourhood, there is a unique region to suit every possible taste. Perhaps the most fascinating and intriguing part of Benidorm is the Old Town and Centre, which has managed to retain much of its old charm and many of its original structures alongside modern regeneration.
Benidorm’s Old Town: Its key Features and Appeal
If you are fortunate enough to visit Benidorm’s Old Town, the first thing that you will notice is its original architecture and the buildings that line up in tiny, narrow streets. From here, you can see the outline of a stunning visual landscape, as rolling greenery surrounds the city’s frontiers and the bustle of everyday life. Far removed from the contemporary structures and shopping centres that dominate modern city life, this quaint old town offers respite and an insight into a different way of life.
In terms of lifestyle, Benidorm’s Old Town (occasionally referred to as Benidorm Centro) offers visitors an authentic and affordable taste of Spain. While the modern-day hub of the city is filled with global fast-food outlets such as Burger King, the Old Town is awash with tapas, paella, and of course the odd Spanish cerveza or two. The area is filled with small and independent Tapas bars and local cafes, each of which serves authentic cuisine at prices that have been known to attract savvy tourists from neighbouring Levante Beach and Poniente.
As you would expect, the summer months and fiestas represent the best times to visit the Old Town. It is known to come alive during these periods, as artisan markets spring up in volume and offer various types of ceramics, artwork, and locally manufactured gifts at extremely competitive prices. The Plaza de Castilla serves as the vibrant hub of this activity, and this location is usually packed to full capacity with market stalls and interested travellers during the sun-kissed summer months.
A look at some of the Dominant Attraction in Benidorm’s Old Town
While the information included so far will help you to understand the appeal of Benidorm’s Old Town, those staying for a few days will also be search of some tangible attractions and activities. Fortunately the Old Town does not disappoint in this respect either, especially when you consider the aforementioned bars, cafes, and eateries that line the narrow streets and courtyards. Whether you want a light, Tapas-style lunch or a substantial Mediterranean supper, the Old Town is an ideal location.
Fans of history and culture may also want to venture to the epi-centre of the Old Town, in the quest to see its blue-tiled, domed church. Relatively modest in its architecture on the whole and without the kind of extravagant name afforded to some religious buildings, this focal point of the Old Town is notable for two key features. The first is its unusual coloured tower, which soars from the ground and is framed by a beautifully designed dome. There is also a delightful and famous carving of the ‘blessed virgin’, which draws thousands of pilgrims every single year and is something a religious icon in Spain.
Interestingly, the Old Town is home to Benidorm’s famous and much-loved gay village. A prominent feature of Benidorm’s cultural heritage for over 30 years, there are 25 fun bars and cabaret venues that provide the ultimate in alternative evening sojourns. Featuring some of the best and most flamboyant drag acts in the whole of Spain (and Western Europe, for that matter); the Old Town’s gay district is popular among visitors from all over the coast. If you do take the trip to the village, we recommend starting your evening with a friendly drink at Oliver’s Terrace Bar, which offers stunning cocktails at local prices.
Benidorm’s Old Town: A must see Location
Whenever you visit famous coastal locations such as Benidorm, it is easy to get caught up in the notion of enjoying sun, sand, and entertainment in excess rather than exploring what the region has to offer outside of the city centre. This would deny you a trip to the Old Town, however, and ultimately prevent you from seeing the real Benidorm in all of its natural splendour. Largely untouched and maintaining much of its original charm, it’s the one area of Benidorm which will give you a true sense of Spanish life.