The Costa Blanca is a very touristic coastline popular with European tourists. The coastal (party) city of Benidorm enjoys widespread popularity among British holidaymakers in which their antics are often fictionalised in the British sitcom Benidorm. European holidaymakers would often fly into Alicante via budget airlines and do a short trip from Alicante to Benidorm. Therefore, it makes perfect sense to include both cities in a single post.
We flew to Alicante airport via a budget airline and took a taxi to our accommodation in the city centre. We stayed at Pension Arena Alicante and paid 110 Euros for a Triple Room (no breakfast). A “pension” here refers to a type of lodging or guesthouse which may or may not be a room in someone’s house or apartment (something like AirBnB). Some pensions require guests to buzz their doorbells to get into the building for checking-in. Pensions are commonly found throughout Spain and Europe. Our accommodation at Pension Arena Alicante was basically no-frills, small but clean and acceptable.
Our pension was within walkable distances to many attractions, and as such, we explored the city on foot. Attractions in Alicante city centre include the Mercado Central Market, Calle San Francisco (mushroom street and restaurants), beach (Playa del Postiguet), Santa Barbara Castle, Explanada de Espana, etc. Calle San Francisco is a pedestrianised street which attracts instagrammers due to its toadstool and mushroom houses. The Explanada de España, a popular pedestrian street, is a unique promenade feature in Alicante. It is about 600 metres long with unique wavy mosaic patterns and palm trees. There are plenty of wine and tapas tasting tours in Alicante – if you are keen, Viator has a few tour selections:
Alicante to Benidorm: Train / Tram Ride
Our accommodation at Pension Arena Alicante was very near to Mercado station (5-min walk) where we boarded a tram (train) to Benidorm. The orange/white-coloured tram departed from Mercado every 30 mins and it took about an hour and 15 mins to arrive in Benidorm. The return ticket price was about 6 Euros. The tram was very clean and the ride was very pleasant – make sure you sit on the right side of the tram to enjoy stunning views of the Costa Blanca coastline.
Upon arrival in Benidorm tram station, we took a taxi to the main touristic area (near Balco del Mediterrani). We would recommend families visiting Benidorm to take the taxi from the station because the fare is relatively cheap – it cost us less than 10 Euros for the ride. Since Benidorm’s claim to fame is its reputation as a party town for young Europeans, the touristic hotspot is packed with bars, pubs and restaurants. We ate and drank at restaurants along Calle Santo Domingo in Benidorm old town which was lively and packed with holidaymakers. Most partying tourists would go to Calle Gerona as that is where the clubs are.
A highlight of our Benidorm trip was the Balco del Mediterrani (Balcony over the Mediterranean) which is one of Benidorm’s most famous landmarks. This vantage point gives fantastic views of the bay, the Mediterranean Sea and the city’s skyscrapers. The scenic sea view is comparable to views found in Greek Islands such as Santorini or Australian beaches (e.g. Cottesloe Beach in Perth). Before reaching the peninsula tip of the balcony, there is a unique attraction in the form of the Blue domed church of St James. If clubbing and partying are not your cup of tea, and especially if you are travelling to Benidorm as a family, Viator has a selection of family-friendly day trips or activities: