When we arrived in Benidorm, it was obvious what most tourists come here for: spend their days on the beach. But if like us, you’re looking for more active things to do in Benidorm, you’ve come to the right place!
The tourism board, Visit Benidorm, invited us to explore another side of this sunny city near Alicante, on the West coast of Spain. So, we spent 4 days trying out various activities and sampling different food options. Here are our top suggestions for more adventurous things to do in Benidorm.
- 1 Things To Do In Benidorm
- 2 Where To Eat In Benidorm
- 3 Where To Stay In Benidorm
Things To Do In Benidorm
Renting An Electric Bike To Explore The Sierra Helada
The nature around Benidorm is beautiful, and what better way to explore it than on a bicycle? One problem though: it’s mountainous, very mountainous! This makes it extremely difficult for anyone but the sportiest of cyclists to explore the creeks and viewpoints of the Sierra Helada natural park.
Normally, a motorized vehicle would be your only alternative. But not in Benidorm! A local company called Tao Bikes takes eco-friendly and responsible tourism to the next level by renting out electric bikes. Their motto: rediscover the bike.
And that’s exactly how we felt, as we easily climbed the steep mountain roads of the Sierra Helada. Using the bikes was very easy: if you can ride a bicycle, you can use an eBike. These nifty little machines assist you with their electrical engine when you start pedaling, and stop when you don’t. And for the steeper slopes, you can increase the assistance to give you more power. It requires just the right amount of effort to feel like you’re doing some exercise, with none of the exhaustion!
When we looked out over the city and took some shots of the beautiful views and rugged cliffs there, it really struck us how easily we had climbed. So, whether you want to explore the natural park or just tour the city, an electric bike from Tao Bikes is a great way to get around easily and sustainably.
Perhaps slightly less eco-friendly, but our next activity was one of my most exhilarating experiences in a long time: jet-skiing. Since I first discovered motorbiking in South-East Asia, I’d always wanted to try jet-skiing. But it’s a little harder to find, and identifying reliable suppliers of rental jet-skis can be even tougher. So, when I finally had the chance to try it in Benidorm, I was very excited.
Riding a jet-ski is surprisingly safe, as it’s very hard to topple. And even if that happened, you’d fall in water and it would turn off immediately since you’re connected to it. This allows you to do something you rarely get to do on a motorbike: go full throttle and bounce on the waves! It’s maybe not for the faint of heart (some in our group were a little more fearful) but really fun!
Benidorm’s bay is especially good for jet-skiing as you’re always within sight of the city but there’s still a lot of room to ride around and enjoy the sea. A halfway swim break offers a good opportunity to capture the amazing view, before speeding back to the anchor point.
You might prefer to explore the bay at a slower pace and enjoy the views without the adrenaline rush of jet-skiing. If so, our next activity might be more up your alley: kayaking. Capitan Kayak will normally take you on a half- or full-day tour of the coast and nearby islands. This is one of the best things to do in Benidorm if you’re looking for a one-day adventure. Due to our full schedule and limited time, we did a shorter, taster version. We just paddled into the bay for some nice photos at sundown, and then back to the coast.
Best of all, Bauke and I discovered we make a great kayaking team! We quickly zoomed to the front of the pack, which unfortunately made us miss several group photo opportunities. Oh well, you gotta sacrifice something to be the best!
Scuba Diving And Snorkeling
I was super excited that scuba diving was on our itinerary, as it is one of my favourite activities. Bauke and I both have our PADI licenses, so we were lucky to be able to go on a real dive with one of the dive masters of the Diving Stones school. As the rest of the group did not have a license, they either did a discovery dive or snorkeled instead.
As all my previous dives had been in South-East Asia, I was curious how the experience in Europe would compare. The first big difference was the wetsuit we had to squeeze into. Whereas in Asia, we usually wear a thin, short-sleeve wetsuit – or, as I prefer, none at all -, here we had to put on a full, thick suit. We wondered if it was really going to be necessary as the sea hadn’t felt that cold the day before. But once in the water, and especially at depth in the shade of the big rock that formed our dive site, we were glad for it. The Mediterranean is significantly colder than the Gulf of Thailand or the Andaman Sea – especially in June, when it’s not fully summer yet.
Despite this, we enjoyed our dive. You will not see amazing colourful corals here, but there is plenty of other marine life. Especially if you’re interested in smaller organisms, like nudibranches and different types of shrimps. Moray eels, barracudas, etc. and swims through narrow passages and natural arches also kept us excited!
I am glad we were both experienced divers though, as the combination of cold and moderately strong currents was challenging. If you’ve never done any scuba diving before, I’d recommend starting in easier and warmer (tropical!) conditions and to pick snorkeling instead in Benidorm.
Visiting A Theme Park
Looking for some pure fun and the chance to be a child again for a few hours? Then surely, one of the top things to do in Benidorm is to hit a theme park!
The last time I’d been on a roller coaster was probably when I was 16, almost 17 years ago. So when we found out that the mysterious activity called “Terra Mitica” was a theme park with some pretty impressive roller coasters, I was up for it! The park is just one of 6 theme parks and water parks around Benidorm. It has a few roller coasters, as well as some other attractions with varying degrees of intensity. It is divided into Egyptian, Greek, and Roman sections based on Ancient mythology and history.
Unfortunately, the biggest and fastest roller coaster in the park, the wooden Magnus Colossus, was closed in 2016 because of high maintenance costs and hasn’t reopened since. But the Titanide, a steel hanging roller coaster, made up for it and was an exciting ride for Bauke (and a nail-biting one for me to watch, as I’m not as keen on the extreme rides!).
We enjoyed several other attractions together, including a smaller roller coaster, a water ride that got us soaked, and hanging chairs with a great view of the city.
Bauke and I are both big fans of wine, so we never miss a good opportunity to go wine-tasting! The climate in the area surrounding Benidorm is great for vineyards, as it’s very dry and very hot.
That’s what prompted Enrique Mendoza to start his vineyard here in the 70s. You can now visit the winery to get a guided tour of the wine-making process and a tasting of his best wines.
The tasting is accompanied by a selection of Spanish cheeses, hams, and chorizos. We sampled a good selection of wines, with a white, a rosé, and several red options. During our tasting, Enrique Mendoza himself showed up to share his favourite wine with us, which was a nice touch.
The wines were excellent and the setting was idyllic for some nice pictures in and around the winery.
Going On A Jeep tour
Rounding up our preview of things to do in Benidorm on this trip was a jeep tour with outdoor adventure company Marco Polo. We were picked up at our hotel in an old, open jeep by Dennis, our Dutch tour guide. (Incidentally, there are a surprisingly large amount of Dutch people working in the tourism sector in Benidorm. It seems this city is very attractive to Bauke’s countrymen!)
The jeep allowed us to explore paths and roads around Benidorm that you couldn’t normally drive in a regular car. The mountain roads took us to a beautiful viewpoint over Benidorm and the surrounding villages.
Afterwards we visited the Algar waterfalls, which are just a short trip away from Benidorm. It’s a perfect visit for a refreshing swim in natural pools. The water is much colder than the sea at this time of the year: its temperature peaks at 18℃ year-round.
Where To Eat In Benidorm
Our stay wasn’t only about discovering the top things to do in Benidorm. We also got to enjoy some of Spain’s wonderful food and drinks. Benidorm offers a good mixture of street food, fine dining, and anything in-between.
Son de Mar: Dinner On The Beach
Son de Mar is perfectly located if you’ve spent your day on or around Playa de Levante, Benidorm’s main beach. It is just at the western end of the beach, with a terrace right on the beachfront.
La Señoria: A Local Experience
At La Señoria, you can get a real authentic Spanish meal. It’s a place most tourists would pass without noticing it. That’s a shame, as it was my favorite restaurant out of all the places we visited on this trip! Situated right between Benidorm’s beaches, it isn’t hard to find once you know to look for it.
The paella here is absolutely delicious and one of the best I’ve ever had. The friendliness of the staff and owner also added to the experience.
Villa Venecia Boutique Hotel: Fine Dining With A View
Eating at the restaurant of this boutique hotel feels almost like dining on a cruise ship. It is situated right above the sea and has large open windows allowing diners to enjoy the beautiful view.
The dinner itself is truly fine dining: small portions of carefully selected and prepared ingredients spread across five-courses. Eating here is one of the top things to do in Benidorm for foodies!
Tapas: Spanish Street Food In Benidorm Old Town
Calle Santo Domingo is more commonly known as Benidorm’s “Tapas Alley”. It is located right in the middle of the city’s old town and has a plethora of tapas bars.
Walk right up to the counter and order small bites at each of them to sample the different dishes. Don’t forget to throw your napkins on the floor to show your appreciation of the food!
Restaurant Ulia: Paella On The “Other Beach”
Most tourists go to Levante beach by default. It is the closest to their hotel and they tend to follow the crowds. This is a shame because the other beach of Benidorm, Poniente Beach, is bigger and quieter. Perfect if you want to escape the crowds and find a quieter corner for yourself. Or if you want to eat paella, as Restaurant Ulia has large paella platters to share with a group. Combine them with a bottle of local white wine for an excellent meal.
Where To Stay In Benidorm
Hotel Madeira Centro was our convenient base to explore all the things to do in Benidorm. This 4-star hotel is close to Levante beach and not too far from the old center either. This means you can walk to many of the places listed above. The hotel rooms on the upper floors have a great view of the city and the bay from their balconies.
On the rooftop, bar Planta 20 serves cocktails and offers some amazing sunset picture opportunities. Afterwards, enjoy dinner at Belvedere, their restaurant on the top floor. It’s a great place for an excellent meal while watching the lights turn on and dot the skyline of Benidorm.
What are your top things to do in Benidorm? Would you have thought of this Spanish city as an active/adventure destination? Let me know in the comments below!
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