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10 hidden charms of the party capital: There’s more to Benidorm than karaoke and bingo halls

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FROM karaoke and happy hours to bingo halls and mobility scooters, there’s no denying Benidorm’s “Brits abroad” culture.

But beyond the stereotypes lies a charming old town with three miles of golden beaches just waiting to be discovered.

In fact, the resort – where the package holiday boom began – may soon join the likes of the Taj Mahal and The Great Wall of China on the list of world heritage sites, with the council planning to submit a bid to Unesco next year.

The town is believed to have the third-highest skyline in Europe after London and Milan.

But there’s a lot more to Benidorm than colourful cabarets and unsightly buildings.

We go off the beaten track to bring you 10 of the holiday hotspot’s hidden gems …

Altea

Altea village

This charming coastal town is located just north of Benidorm – and is the resort’s polar opposite.

Enjoy its amazing natural surroundings, undisturbed coves and traditional Mediterranean architecture. A visit to the Church of the Virgin del Consuelo in the old town is a must. Follow up with a lovely walk along the coast to Albir on your way back.

Elche

A tiny town packed with Spanish culture. The Basilica of Santa Maria Church should certainly be on your to do list – the view from its roof is amazing.

Make sure you visit the Palmeral de Elche.

This World Heritage site provides a view like no other and has more than 200 palm trees.

Elche has more than nine kilometres of white sandy beaches, so is the perfect place to stretch out and enjoy the Spanish sunshine.

The Algar Falls

Algar Falls

Located just 15 kilometres from Benidorm, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in paradise. The beautiful natural surroundings offer a taste of serenity. Take a dip in the cool and refreshing waters and pretend you’re the star of the next big shampoo ad. Be sure to take your walking shoes, though, as there are a fair few steps to get up there.

Benidorm Island

Also referred to as Peacock Island (due to, you’ve guessed it, its peacock population), Benidorm Island is a nature reserve situated just a short boat ride from the coast.

You can explore the island and stop for a drink or a bite to eat at its restaurant. Be sure to take the excellent submarine trip around the waters once you get there.

Terra Natura

Terra Natura

This animal theme park boasts the incredible experience of ‘Zooimmersion’. It means that you can get as close as possible to the animals in their environments without there being any visible barriers.

You can spend a full day exploring the fantastic wildlife park, or buy a combined ticket and take time to visit the Aqua Natura waterpark, located next door.

Shakti Centre

The wonderful Shakti Centre in Albir is the perfect place to unwind and recharge before heading back home. Indulge in some traditional yoga or Tai-Chi and then enjoy an amazing healthy lunch of meat, veg and freshly-squeezed juices in its restaurant.

Guadalest

Belltowe, Guadalest

The stunning hilltop village is just a 30-minute journey from Benidorm.

The drive there is impressive enough and, on arrival, you can explore the castle and enjoy spectacular views down to the dam and coast.

Parque de L’Aigüera

Escape the hustle and bustle of crazy Benidorm life and enjoy a leisurely and peaceful stroll through a hidden haven in the heart of the city.

Parque de L’Aigüera is where many residents go to gather their thoughts and it’s the perfect spot to spend an afternoon experiencing nature’s charms.

Visit the amphitheatre and the bullring within the grounds and see how many squirrels you can spot.

Tapas Alley

Spanish tapas

Still relatively unknown to tourists, this small concentration of incredible tapas experiences stretches the length of Calle Santa Domingo. The great thing about tapas is that, with the dishes being so small, you’re able to sample more of the traditional delights in as many of the bustling restaurants that you possibly can!

Markets

The resort of Benidorm plays host to a number of weekly markets that are well worth a visit in the hunt for a good bargain.

Two worth noting are the outdoor market that takes place every Wednesday and Sunday morning near the Hotel Pueblo and the El Cisne flea market which is held every Sunday and one Saturday each month.

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