It wouldn’t be a visit to the Costa Blanca without at least one trip to the capital of mass tourism that is Benidorm!
In 1993 Benidorm town hall officially commemorated the first hundred years of tourism in the town.
So although the town is synonymous these days with cheap (some might say tacky) package holidays and sunburnt Brits, it has long been seen as an ideal place to holiday.
The railway arriving in Alicante, and the advent of the narrow rail from Alicante to Benidorm allowed visitors from Madrid and other areas to start trickling in from the early 19th century.
But it was in the 1950s that the drive to turn Benidorm into a tourist destination really took hold.
The 1956 General Plan set forth the vision of a town designed for tourism, with wide avenues parallel to the beaches.
The driving force behind this plan was the mayor Pedro Zaragoza i Orts. Alongside his ambitious plan to transform the town he also allowed the use of the bikini for the first time in Spain during his 17 years in office.
During the late 1960s British travel agencies started bringing tour groups to the town, marking the start of the Brit’s abiding love affair with Benidorm.
Typically it’s a very grey day when we visit, so the appeal might not be that obvious if I am honest!
There’s very little authentic Spanish culture or architecture to be found but I snuffle out a few tiles here and there.
When it get a little brighter you can start to see why people come here. The beaches are actually very nice.
The town boasts two long sandy stretches – Playa de Poniente and Playa de Levante,
We’re heading up and away from the main strip to check out the tiny old town, an actual slice of authentic Spain in the middle of the commercial tourist sprawl.
The old town has several notable sights including the Mediterranean Balcony – a viewing platform with stairs that lead down over a ledge down to the sea.
The old town even boasts a pretty little blue domed church – Església de Sant Jaume i Santa Anna.
I feel like I have finally got a little glimpse of a slightly more authentic Spain, albeit very well hidden amongst the brash bars and soulless high rise monstrosities.
It’s raining again so we’re headed for shelter and sustenance . . .
We end the day in typical fashion with a HUGE slice of cake, wet weather gear and a photo that looks like we’re in a rainy Welsh backwater rather than one of the most popular Spanish towns there is!