Benidorm is well known for its touristic beaches and high rise hotels, but there is more to do in this Costa Blanca town than meets the eye.

Benidorm is one of the best known beach destinations on Spain’s Costa Blanca. It started out as a fishing village, but in the 60s it became very popular with tourists and it’s grown exponentially since then. From the highway you can see the skyscrapers and a lot of people think of it as a destination to avoid since the economy depends mainly on tourists.

Even so, we always like to find authentic places that are off the beaten track when we visit a destination, and Benidorm was no different. Here are a few ideas to enjoy a weekend in Benidorm without getting overwhelmed by the packed beaches. (Although, we won’t tell anyone if you spend a few hours soaking up the sun or taking a dip in the sea!)

The Nature Park of the Sierra Helada

Like Málaga, Benidorm is a destination that has both the beach and the mountains and the Nature Park of the Sierra Helada is the perfect place to enjoy nature with a bit of hiking. There are beautiful views of the sea from up above and if you prefer the warter, there is also a great kayak route along the coast that is perfect for beginners (which is to say that you don’t have to be an expert to enjoy being out in nature.) The area has a lot of little coves and interesting rock formations called “dunas trepidoras.” They are a light color, as if they were made of sand and the truth is that they look like sculptures in the middle of the water. It’s really amazing to row so close to the rock formations that have been around for thousands of years.

The Flea Market of El Pueblo

Flea markets Benidrom

Photo (by-sa) by Tomás Fano

If you are someone who enjoys a good flea market, Benidorm has a famous one. Every Wednesday and Sunday the market fills up with tourists and locals alike looking for a good deal, fruit, vegetables or just a morning enjoying the atmosphere. The little food stands are great for a cheap and tasty snack. Besides, you’ll need energy to haggle on the prices and find the best treasures. One of the most well known stands is the artisan churros; a delicious breakfast for a Sunday at the market! If you want to find a good deal, you really can find clothes, bags and shoes are fantastic prices.

The Castle of Guadalest

Not far from Benidorm is Guadalest and it really is worth a visit to this town from the time of Muslim rule. The castle itself looks impossible to visit since it is situated on top of a high craggy rock as if it were a bird’s nest. From up above, as you can imagine, the views are spectacular. After visiting the castle you can also take advantage and have lunch and visit one of the unique museums. There is one that features “micro-miniatures” and as someone who enjoyed playing with doll houses as a little girl, it was fascinating to see all the detailed little scenes!

The Island of Benidorm

The island of Benidrom

Photo (by-nc) by William Helsen

Benidorm is a small island that is only 3.5 km from the coast and it serves as a nature reserve. You can visit the island by boat and the main attraction are the peacocks that give the island its nickname of “Peacock Island.” It is a bit touristy, but the views are nice and it’s a great opportunity to enjoy a boat trip. We do recommend, however, that you wear sneakers or comfortable footwear because the island is rocky and you’ll want to have sure footing.

Altea

Another town near Benidorm that is worth a visit is Altea. It is a typical Spanish town with white houses, flower pots in the windows and winding cobblestone streets. It is best known for the church of Nuestra señora del Consuelo and the blue tiled cupola with views of the town and the sea below. It’s the perfect spot to spend the day and for lunch, what better than paella or local fish?

The Algar Waterfalls

The Algar Waterfalls are some small waterfalls in a natural reserve 15 kilometers from Benidorm. It’s a perfect spot to cool off in the summer if you want to avoid the crowded beaches. There is an easy path to get to the falls and little natural pools where you can take a dip. It is not what you would expect so close to the huge hotels and lights of Benidorm. I had never heard of these little waterfalls, but they just go to show you the variety of the landscape in the area.

Do you know any other places off the beaten path near Benidorm? Leave us a comment below!