After watching the TV series, I thought it would be a good idea to see what Benidorm was actually like – the last time I was there was in the early 70s with my parents. We chose not to stay at the hotel we’d stayed in then, coincidentally the one used for the TV series, but go to an all-inclusive couples only hotel, the Marconfort Essence, slightly away from everything.
By the time you read this, the hotel will have become the Flamingo Beach Resort, rather a strange name as it’s not really near the beach, and isn’t really a resort. On the whole, we enjoyed the hotel, the rooms were large with a kitchen including a kettle. Not really sure what you were meant to cook (without a microwave) in an all-inclusive hotel…!!!!
Benidorm is Benidorm. Brash, but with a rather nice Old Town. We’re a same sex couple, but weren’t tempted by the vast array of gay bars.
Authentic Spanish restaurants are not thick on the ground, but we did manage to find one or two for a bite of lunch.
The two best days were spent away from Benidorm – the holiday was booked to coincide with my birthday and we visited Alicante by tram – which happened to be free as it was European Public Transport Week. We did have to get a taxi to and from the station which cost less than €5 each way – normally there’s a 50% discount for over 65s.
It took about an hour to get there, hugging the coast meant it was a rather lovely journey in a splendid new tram. There was plenty to do in Alicante – if you’re there in the morning, the market is great to wander around, and a visit to the museum of the fogueres (hogueres in Spanish), showing models of the carnival models is an absolute must do – and it’s free. We also visited the castle, but for people with mobility impairments, it might be challenging. It’s also free, however, the lift costs money to use and the ticket machine was a little difficult to figure out for lots of people, which caused a queue.
Another great day out was to Altea, just €1.50 on the bus each way with a very picturesque old town. It was very sunny and hot when we went, so I wish we’d have stayed on the bus to the end, rather than getting off in the lower town and walking up to the old town.
We also did a free “blanket” tour to Guadalest. Guadalest was well worth a visit, and there didn’t seem another option to get there. Apart from the rather long sales pitch about buying beds (from Birmingham, where we live!!!) and sheep wool blankets, the trip was quite enjoyable, but could be very expensive if you actually bought a mattress!
All in all, we enjoyed our trip, it was very different to our other holidays (which are mainly cruises)!