Spain is the most popular destination for holidaymakers from the UK looking for a week in the fun. Benidorm has always been a firm favourite, from the first package holiday destination and first holiday abroad for many, it caters well for sun seekers. It might have had its ups and downs in recent years, but it’s defiantly on the up again now!
It seems that Benidorm proving to be popular still with many travellers, it was the original package holiday destination. Back in the early 1960’s Benidorm was a small village, during the reign of Franco, there was a modesty restriction in place, so clothing such as bikinis were banned. You can really imagine that today! Spain’s glorious beaches were going to waste with locals and only a few travellers taking advantage of the region.
Benidorm’s Mayor Pedro Zaragoza had some forward thinking though and persuaded Franco to life the bikini ban, so he could open the gates to holiday makers. Even before the nearest airport was open the Mayor of Benidorm was busy designing his town with wide avenues and good access roads, to cope with the influx of tourists he was expecting when the local airport finally opened.
When Alicante airport opened in 1966, it paved the way for tourists to flock to the seaside resort of Benidorm, which was more than ready to welcome, tourists on their first package holidays in the sun. To stop urban sprawl, planners opted for high rise hotels and apartments for tourists, which is why Benidorm looks more like a mini Manhattan, that a traditional resort town. It’s instantly recognisable from the moment you fly in past the Mediterranean coast to Alicante airport. God knows where the early tourists thought they were heading!
Over the next couple of decades, Benidorm’s popularity as a summer holiday destination grew and grew, it has always held a place in many Brits heart, because for many it probably was their first holiday abroad, somewhat exotic compared to the UK. However with such growth and such popularity comes some problems…..
By the late 80’s and early 90’s Benidorm was starting to get a bad reputation, for ‘larger louts’ and rowdy behaviour, as the rise of the cheap package holiday made it a more attainable destination for all classes. Luckily though in the last ten years, the popular summer holiday destination has been working hard to clean up its image and the fact that other resorts in Spain such as Majorca and Ibiza as well as Greek destinations, became popular a lot of rowdy tourists dissipated to those resorts.
Now Benidorm focuses, on its great history and pushing its great Spanish culture, no longer seen as a home away from home, Benidorm is getting back to its Spanish roots. It’s also a great family friendly destination, with safer streets and great family orientated hotels. So once again Benidorm is shining as a holiday hotspot.
Picture: Dara Robinson