If you’re heading to Benidorm, chances are you’ve pretty much got your itinerary planned: sun, sea, sand, eat, drink, rinse and repeat. Sound about right? There’s nowhere on the Costa Blanca with a bigger reputation than Benidorm, and the good news is that you’ll never be disappointed. The beaches are beautiful, the nightlife is legendary and if you’re looking for an iconic fun-and-sun-filled beach break, you’ve chosen the right place!
But all that sun and fun aren’t going anywhere, so in your rush to get the sand between your toes, make sure that you don’t miss out on all the other fabulous attractions. The 45-minute journey from the airport at Alicante to Benidorm is the ideal opportunity to familiarise yourself with the surrounding area and bookmark some places to come back and explore. Need inspiration? Allow us to make some suggestions.
1. Castell de la Santa Barbara
Is there anyone who doesn’t love a castle? Whether it’s for the history, the culture, or simply the awesome selfie backdrop (and, yes, it’s a good one!), a visit to the impressive Castell de la Santa Barbara is well worth the effort. Did we say effort? Well, it is a castle on a hill, after all…
The largest medieval fortress in Europe, Castell de la Santa Barbara overlooks Alicante, so it’s one of the first things you’ll notice as you make your way out of the city. Dating back to the tenth century, the castle has undergone many additions and incarnations since, and now comprises styles covering three different eras. For the historically minded, that means plenty to get your head around, and for everyone else, it means it’s simply a pretty awesome place to explore! It’s got everything a good castle should have: a moat, dungeons, a palace and even a spectacular lookout tower. Oh, and about all that effort… if you really don’t have the energy to walk up and down the steep paths, there’s an elevator set into the rock wall. Keep it under your hat. You climbed every one of those steps. Of course you did.
Recommended Visit Time: We recommend at least half a day for the return journey and a couple of hours to explore the castle – and longer if you want to stay for a picnic lunch under a shady pine.
2. Playa de San Juan
Don’t sigh wistfully as Alicante’s most famous beach disappears in the rear vision mirror; make a promise to come back and give it the attention it deserves! While Benidorm’s beaches are top-notch, if you’ve got the time you really should mix it up a little and plan a day excursion to Playa de San Juan.
This gorgeous fine-sand beach stretches from El Campello right up to the headland at Cabo de las Huertas. It’s lined with restaurants, cafes and beach bars, along with the opportunity to try water sports of every description. If you fancy a spot of golf to round out the day, the beach is just a short distance from Alicante Golf, where you can tee off on your own or take in a lesson with the resident pro.
If Playa de San Juan sounds like a pretty good day out, you’ve got it about right!
Recommended Visit Time: Treat yourself to a whole day. You’ll need it for eating, drinking, water sports and sun bathing. It’s the Costa Blanca – no need to rush!
3. Museo de Chocolates Valor
When is a history attraction not really a history attraction? When it’s a chocolate museum! The Museu de Chocolates Valor in Alicante offers a fabulous experience that’s not only educational, but is also very delicious. The museum was established back in 1998, with the aim of bringing the traditions of Spanish chocolate-making to the masses. Or at least the masses on the Costa Blanca.
The exhibits take you through the history of Chocolates Valor since its founding in 1881 by Valeriano Lopez Lloret, who came from a long line of chocolate makers. Since those early days, five generations of chocolate makers have kept the authentic processes alive, while using modern technology to augment the techniques. Throughout the museum, you’ll see original machinery and tools, learn about the journey from cocoa bean to finished chocolate and, yes, you’ll have the opportunity to sample the products for yourself. Who knew chocolate and history made for such a perfect balance? Probably Valeriano Lopez Lloret.
Recommended Visit Time: An hour or so is plenty of time to explore the museum, so you could tie it in with a half-day excursion to visit the castle and still have time for a tapas lunch.
4. Terra Mitica and Terra Natura
As you roll into Benidorm, you’ll be able to catch your first sight of two of its most famous attractions: Terra Mitica and Terra Natura. And if you can’t decide between the two theme parks, it’s no problem. The best advice is to do both.
Terra Mitica: Give me fun and super size it! This fantastic park is divided into five themed zones, covering Greece, Egypt, Rome, Iberia and the Mediterranean Islands. So while the kids are having non-stop fun, they’ll also be learning a thing or two. With rides, food outlets, shops and an outdoor adventure park, there’s certainly no risk of the dreaded “I’m bored”. Not even from parents.
Terra Natura: Billed as a “new generation wildlife park”, Terra Natura brings an entire world of nature into one fabulous destination. Themed by regions, – Asia, Europe, America and Pangea – the park encompasses 320,000 sqm of space. Packed with exotic animals, exhibits, zip lines, entertainment and shows, there’s even a “Zooimmersion” experience, which affords an up-close-and-personal encounter with animals in a habitat featuring barriers that are invisible to the human eye.
Recommended Visit Time: You really need a full day at each of the parks to do them justice.
From Alicante to Benidorm
Your short transfer from Alicante to Benidorm is the perfect time to check out the surrounding area and get an idea of the exciting attractions of the Costa Blanca. The region around Alicante has more going for it than simply an airport, so make sure that you don’t miss out on what’s on offer.
About Shuttle Direct
If you need a fast, comfortable ride from the airport at Alicante to Benidorm, Shuttle Direct is the most trusted name in the industry. With the best range of shared and private transfers throughout Europe and North Africa, we’ll get you wherever you need to go without the hassle of public transport.
NB. This route guide has been compiled as an aid to visiting the region. Your airport transfer service from Alicante to Benidorm does not include stops to these destinations.