Popular with tourists since the package holiday explosion, Benidorm is the brash hub of the Costa Blanca and a must see for anyone visiting this stretch of the Mediterranean coast line. But if you want to experience the true Spanish character of the place then the Holiday Taxis team’s recommended destination must be the Old Town. With its maze of charming, winding streets, lined with bars and cafes, and the beautiful plaza and church, the Old Town retains something of the feel of bygone Benidorm having maintained its identity and a multitude of its original buildings. It is where many of Benidorm’s Spanish residents choose to live and work.
The Old Town is a charming place to stay, and visitors are catered for by numerous pleasant hotels and restaurants many of which enjoy expansive views over the sea.
If shopping is your thing the Old Town will more than satisfy with famous name brands nestling up against boutique jewellers and clothing stores. The area is convenient for pedestrians but try to remember that the heat of midday is rather forbidding, and many shops will close for the siesta from 2pm until they reopen at 5pm. Busy shopping streets include the Calle Ruzafa and the Calle Ricardo.
If you just want to indulge your taste buds the Old Town is where you will find the best in Mediterranean cuisine with many establishments offering plentiful choice and an affordable night out. For the real taste of Spain go for one of the myriad Tapas bars. Loud and exciting, they offer an enjoyable and invigorating meal experience. Choose from the many small dishes, and wash your meal down with a little Rioja. For some of the resorts superb bistro style restaurants try the Calle La Palma.
If you are visiting during fiestas there is often an artisans market with a spread of well priced paintings, ceramics and locally produced gifts.
And as for beautiful commanding views simply walk up to the head land beyond the church of San Jaime – just follow its blue dome to the top- and be sure to have you camera at the ready in order to capture the panoramic spread of Benidorm below you.
Why not take in the Church of San Jaime itself with its beautiful blue tiled dome. The domineering landmark of the Old Town is located at the highest point and it is well worth a visit. Constructed between 1740 and 1780, it houses a famous carving of the ‘Blessed Virgin’.
From here you can walk the many steps down to Mal Pas beach at the foot of the headland. The way is lined with thousands of lovers’ locks each of which is a charm token left in the hope of lasting love. The steps lead down to a small cove and the beach which is an oasis of calm compared to some of the more well known neighbouring beaches.
The ‘gay village’ has been one of the features of the night life in the Old Town for over 30 years. The majority of the gay bars are situated on Calle Santa Faz, and for those looking for an alternative night out they are open from midnight. The atmosphere is fun and friendly, and the drag shows in venues like the Queens and Kafee Klee are outrageous.
All in all Benidorm’s Old Town offers many exciting sights, sounds and tastes for an exhilarating and characterful holiday experience.