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Why Benidorm is a great choice for a break this summer

Every year, hundreds of thousands of Brits flock to Spain to escape the erratic British weather and soak up some well-deserved rays of sunshine - and after a spectacularly damp start to the summer, the exodus to sunny Spain has been especially enthusiastic this year.

This hasnít always been the case. Until recently the number of travellers to Spain had been declining due to the expense of travelling abroad and a resurgence in holidaying at home, but the Spanish national tourist board has reported a 9.9% year-on-year rise from UK visitors in 2011. Spain is seemingly back in fashion.
 
Thereís one especially good reason for this touristic rejuvenation Ė genuinely cheap holidays in Spain are now a real possibility as the relative strength of the pound against the euro means that far less spending money is needed than before. A glass of beer - or sangria if youíre feeling especially touristy - can cost as little as a few euros in some resorts. 

There are plenty of popular resorts to visit within Spain but one resort, Benidorm, is arguably the daddy of them all, and has steadily risen in popularity - with a few plateaus along the way - since its dramatic transformation into a mainstream tourist resort from a small fishing enclave in the late 1960s. 

The rise of the resort has been so dramatic that some of the hotels are technically skyscrapers. And Benidormís skyline is somehow reminiscent of Dubaiís if you look through the heat-haze that engulfs the high-rise hotels in Benidorm during the peak season. 

Cove Near Benidorm, Costa Blanca, Valencia Region, Spain, Mediterranean
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Benidorm is probably best known to the millions of UK viewers who watch the eponymously named TV show - which doesnít do much, in fairness, to alleviate the resorts stereotypical image. But this isnít necessarily a bad thing: Benidorm has always been known for its unpretentious charm and larger-than-life personality, and it would be misleading to try and present the resort as a gentrifying hub of Cannes-esque sophistication. And would anyone really want that anyway? 

Nonetheless, the resort of Benidorm is a bit more complex than the one-dimensionally boorish image thatís often portrayed by the TV show of the same name and the reputation that itís garnered over the years. Here are three reasons why itís now a great time to book your holidays to Benidorm.
 
Veiwing Platform Over Looking Lake and Mountains Guadalest Benidorm Spain
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Benidorm has a lovely old town

The nightclubs, hotels, and bars that Benidorm is famed for have risen from a surprisingly evocative old town that winds between the Levante and Pomiente beaches. 

The tight alleys of this original section of Benidorm are lined with little tapas bars and Spanish restaurants that offer a taste of traditional Spain within easy reach of the expected action. In fact, the headland that the old town is built upon affords great views of the skyscraper-lined beach from some vantage points.

A must-visit in the area is the strikingly blue domed church that complements the whitewashed houses and villas below, and is a great example of the Moorish influence on Spanish culture and architecture.

Festivals

Fun is what Benidormís all about and itís no huge surprise, then, that a year-long programme of festivals can be enjoyed by visitors.

Benidormís best facets, the sun, sand and clubbing, are combined in one convenient package by the Electrobeach festival. The event takes place in the middle of August each year and features internationally renowned acts such as Carl Cox to get the sun-drenched crowd going.

Some other festivals reflect Benidormís deepening personality, such as the Benidorm Gastronimico (Gastronomic Benidorm) festival, that explores the resortís new-found friendship with food throughout a year-long programme of small but tasty events.

More explosively, the Patron Saints of Benidorm are honored in November with a week-long party. The celebration culminates in an epic firework display that impressively manages to make Benidorm even livelier than it would normally be.

The variety of bars, restaurants and clubs

Benidormís nightlife is obviously fantastic. There are pubs, clubs, and restaurants galore, and thereís something to suit the tastes of virtually everyone who visits.

Many options could be considered mainstream but Benidorm has become more varied over the last ten years or so, and there are now more sophisticated places to enjoy too, like the Balinese chill-out lounges in the heart of town and the Ďmodern gastronomicí dishes that are served at the resortís new boutique hotel, Villa Valencia.

That said, no-one really arrives in Benidorm with the intention of politely picking at a crispy duck breast for too long - and the vast number of more down-to-earth options are cheap, plentiful and - above all - fun! Still, itís nice to know that something a bit different is now on offer too.

So, the resort of Benidorm is sunny, relatively cheap, full of fun, and surprisingly multi-faceted. Itís time to stop watching the TV show and visit the resort itself!

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Latest update:  August 20, 2012