A guide to Benidorm: where to stay & 7 different things to do.
A guide to Benidorm...
When Jet2Holidays reached out to me a few weeks ago and asked if I fancied spending 4 days with them and a group of other bloggers in Benidorm, exploring and getting to see quite the different side to the city than what you'd expect, it took me about 15 seconds to decide that I absolutely wanted to go. I made a resolution at the beginning of this year that I'd take every opportunity I could to travel more, and while Benidorm wouldn't normally be on the top of a travel list, it's somewhere I've never visited before and I'm always up for seeing someplace new!
We flew out with Jet2, with our flights being from Manchester airport to Alicante, and then it was approximately a thirty minute drive from there to Benidorm. We checked in at the hotel and headed straight for lunch, and from then on it was quite the packed few days! So, here's a little guide to where we stayed & what we got up to.
Where to Stay...
Jet2Holidays booked us into the Meliá Villaitana Hotel, although I'm going to be honest, it's more of a resort than a hotel... it's huge! We kept stumbling across more pools that we didn't know existed, and we had to be given a map (and have it explained twice..) just to be able to find our way to breakfast. You could book yourself in this hotel and never have to leave for a week - it's got everything that you could possibly need.
There are two golf courses on site, there's a gym, all of the swimming pools, multiple places to eat and drink, a conference centre and a spa. The rooms we stayed in were absolutely gorgeous. They were incredibly spacious, with huge balconies, a seperate living room and the most divine shower.
My room looked out onto one of the two golf courses, but there are rooms all around the hotel that look out to sea, the hills and Benidorm itself. One of the best things about the size of the hotel was that it felt like we were the only ones there. It was just lovely.
What to do...
Go to the beach.
I mean, who doesn't love the beach and basking in a little Mediterranean sun? We got super lucky with the weather while we were there. The whole week before we'd been checking the forecast and we'd been warned about the possibility of quite the storm hitting Benidorm. Thankfully, it seemed to pass and the sunshine came out just as we arrived at the hotel.
This is Poniente Beach, and the location of the first place we had a delicious paella lunch. There's just something about the beach and being by the sea that just makes me so happy, and part of me wishes we'd have had more time to sit here surrounded by palm trees and enjoy the waves. It was gorge.
Try your hand at Golf
Our first activity of the trip after lunch was golf! After convincing our guide to let us have a whiz round on the golf buggies first - this was as lot of fun and I think we enjoyed it a little too much - we were taken to try our hands at hitting a few balls on the golf course.
Here's a little fun fact for you; I used to play golf. When I was younger, my Dad used to take me and my brother for golf lessons and I even had my own set of golf clubs and everything! This was the first time I'd picked up a golf club in 10 years though, but it actually felt pretty good.
I tried to tell the golf instructor that I'd never played before but, well... he wasn't convinced haha!
Bike Ride through the natural park
After an early breakfast on Friday morning, we were taken to pick up some rented electric bikes and oh my god, they were so much fun. I didn't realise how much power you could get from a bicycle but those things really do go!
We cycled up and through the natural park in Benidorm called Serra Gelada, and the views from the top were just incredible. This was genuinely one of my highlights from the trip and it's something I've never done before.
The cliffs you can see in the photos below were actually scouted as a potential location for Game of Thrones - just as a fun little fact for you! I could've sat here on the edge of the cliffs with the sea below forever. The sound of the waves was very therapeutic.
Enjoy the hotel
Like I mentioned before, the hotel had loads of facilities, and on Saturday afternoon we were very grateful to have a few hours to enjoy what the hotel had to offer. We headed to the spa where we enjoyed swims in the heated pool, the sauna and steam rooms and time in the floating pool - which was the weirdest sensation but I actually really enjoyed it!
One of the outdoor pools was heated too - which was a dream to be able to have a swim outside in the sunshine. It's been a long time since I've been on a trip and had time to simply relax by the pool, and so this time was very gratefully received and I loved it.
Take a Jeep Safari & have coffee in the hills
This was probably my favourite part of the trip. On Saturday morning, we were taken for a Jeep Safari up into the hills and it was amazing. Our tour guide for this, Dennis from Marco Polo Jeep Tours, was an absolute laugh and even turned photographer for us - climbing up rocks and parking the jeep at very specific angles to make sure we got the shots we wanted. He was the best.
We also took a drive up to a really quaint and traditional Spanish village, and had coffee here with - again - some of the most beautiful views. It was so quiet and peaceful up here and certainly not what comes to mind when you first think of Benidorm.
Cross of Benidorm
Keeping with the gorgeous views, we were taken to see the Cross of Benidorm one evening just before dinner. There's quite the story to how the Cross of Benidorm came to be, and it essentially all started when a young Mayor obtained special permission to allow tourists to wear bikinis on the beach. At the time, this was huge, because in Franco's Catholic Spain, bikinis were banned and considered sinful. It was from here, that Benidorm became famous... but for all the wrong reasons and the Bishop of Benidorm was mortified.
Therefore, in an attempt to calm the tensions and remove the upset, Benidorm's priest saved the day. He arranged for a giant cross to be made and erected at the highest point to 'symbolically restore some goodness into the town..'.
And now it's become quite the tourist spot. Partly for its story, partly because it lights up in the evening, and partly because of the views.
Watch the Sunrise
And finally, the sunrises on the coast are just as gorgeous as the sunsets. I've always been an early riser, and this is just one of the reasons I love it. On the last day, I'd woken up a little earlier than I needed, and so I decided to head off for breakfast on my own. As I was walking over, I noticed that the sun had started to rise behind me, so I just sat and watched the beginning of the day for a little while. It was so peaceful and I couldn't stop taking photos... obviously.
I can't thank Jet2 and Visit Benidorm enough for their amazing hospitality and for everything throughout the trip. We returned on a Jet2 flight from Alicante straight back to Manchester and we were so well looked after and it was lovely being shown all these different sides to Benidorm that I doubt many people know about! What was even lovelier was getting to meet the other bloggers on the trip and get to know and spend time with such like-minded people. It was the best and just the little break that I needed.