Time Zone: GMT+1 (British summer time)
Tipping: 10 to 12% is normally expected, there is no service charges added on bills at most restaurants or bars. However, you can always tip more for exceptional service.
With an annual tourist pilgrimage that would make other parts of Spain blush, it is almost inconceivable that Benidorm was once a small fishing village with a modest two thousand odd residents. Now however, catching fish has given way to holidaymakers and popular Benidorm boasts the highest hotel in Europe, as well as 6km worth of fine, golden Blue Flag beaches and a thriving Benidorm nightlife. Yes, there are a lot of skyscrapers – but that's only so that as many of Benidorm's visitors as possible can enjoy a view of the sea.
Whether you want to catch some rays on the bustling beaches of Levante, Poniente, or the quieter, less-crowded Mal Pas by the harbour, Benidorm coach holidays have a slice of sun for everyone. If you're travelling with a family or just feeling brave, the resort also has plenty of water sports to keep you occupied.
Away from the beach, don't wave goodbye to Benidorm without tasting some Valencian Paella, where it originated nearly 10km away. Keep your eye out for Benidorm's frequent Fiestas which run monthly from January to November, or check out the Lemon Express, an ancient train that runs through the hillside villages to Gata offering magnificent views of the coastline.
Most Benidorm coach holidays include return coach travel with an overnight stopover usually in France, as well as a half board stay at a good quality hotel in resort within easy walking reach of the beach. Rooms usually have private balcony (check for air con) and a free excursion program is usually included. Valencia, Guadalest and Alicante are usually on the itinerary.
To help you have an enjoyable holiday in Benidorm, take a look at these useful tips and advice provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO):
Health and Travel Insurance
Local Laws and Customs
Health and Travel Insurance
When visiting Spain, you should make sure you have a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before travelling. The EHIC is not a substitute for medical and travel insurance, however you will be entitled to state provided medical treatment should it may become necessary during your trip. Any treatment provided is will be on the same terms as for Spanish nationals. Should you need treatment be sure to produce your EHIC prior to receiving it. If you cannot produce the EHIC at the time of receiving care, the hospital might ask for payment up front. The EHIC will not cover repatriation, on-going medical treatments or non-urgent medical treatment. Private hospitals will not accept the EHIC and will ask for payment for your treatment or for you to provide evidence of adequate travel/medical insurance.
The majority of visits to Spain are trouble-free, but you should be alert to the reality of street crime, especially thieves who use distraction techniques. Often working in teams of two or more they tend to target tourists carrying passports and money. Do not carry all of your valuables in one place and ensure that you keep a photocopy of your passport safe away from where your passport is kept.
Some people have passports stolen whilst passing through airports. Therefore take extra care to look after your passport and personal belongings when checking in or collecting luggage at the airport, and whilst arranging car hire.
In some cities and resorts, thieves who pose as police officers might approach tourists and will then ask to see their wallets for identification purposes. Should this happen to you, try to establish whether the officers are genuine and if so, show some form of identification. Genuine police officers will not ask to see purses or wallets.
Should an emergency arise call 112. To report any crime including stolen property or passports, visit the closest Guardia Civil Station or Policia Nacional to make a police report. If your belongings have been stolen you must keep the police report for insurance purposes. If your passport has been lost or stolen, you will need to go to the nearest British Consulate with the completed police report to allow you to apply for an emergency travel document and also so you can apply for a replacement passport on your return to the UK. Ensure you receive a 'police report' (una denuncia) not a 'sworn declaration' (una declaración judicial), as the latter might not be accepted as evidence for by your insurance company or when you apply for your new passport.
Personal attacks are very rare but do occur and are often carried out by other visiting British nationals. Females should be aware of the possible use of drink drugs such as 'GHB' and liquid ecstasy. Always buy your own drinks and always keep sight of them to make sure they are not spiked. If you drink, remember that alcoholic beverages served in bars and restaurants are often stronger than those served in the UK. Try to avoid splitting up from friends and don't go off with strangers.
There has recently been an increase in burglaries in areas with holiday accommodation and also in residential areas of major cities. Ensure your holiday accommodation has adequate security features in place and make you lock all windows and doors at night or when you go out. If you are visiting a property and are unsure about the security of the accommodation be sure to speak to your tour operator or the property owner. Ensure you are aware of the contact details of the emergency services and where the nearest police station is located.
When driving in Spain, be wary of approaches by fake plain clothed police officers travelling in unmarked cars. In all Spanish traffic-related matters, police officers will wear uniform and all police officers, even those in plain clothes, will carry official ID. Unmarked police cars have a flashing sign on the rear car window which reads Policía or Guardia Civil and will normally have blue flashing lights in addition to this. Genuine police officers will not ask to see your bag or wallet/purse and will only ask to see your documents.
If you are at all unsure, you should only talk through the car window and contact the Police on 112 or the Civil Guard on 062 - to ask them to confirm the number plate of the vehicle is that of an official police vehicle.
Only use licensed taxis or those that are officially registered.
Local Laws and Customs
In Spanish law anyone under 18 is defined as a minor. Any unaccompanied minor that comes to the attention of the Spanish authorities (for any reason, but in particular in connection to a criminal incident or when they are in hospital) are judged to be vulnerable and could be taken into a minors centre until a parent or guardian is found.
You must always be able to provide ID (your passport) if requested to by a Police Officer. The Police do have the right to hold you at a local police station until your identity can be confirmed.
Possession of any quantity of drugs can lead to an arrest and detention. Possession of larger quantities will almost certainly result in prosecution and a prison sentence if found guilty. Some regional governments have banned consumption of alcohol in the streets. There are also strict controls on drinking and sexual activity in public, including beaches. Fines can range from between €30-€1,500.
For security purposes, some public authorities don't allow the niqab or burka to be worn inside their buildings. If you visit Town Councils wearing either of these you may be asked to take it off whilst in the building.
Hotels must adhere to a legal duty which states they must register the passport details of tourists upon check-in. Wait for the hotel staff to registered your passport details or to take a photocopy. Do not leave it at reception to collect later.
If your passport states you are a British Citizen or if it states you are a British Subject with Right of Abode in the UK, you do not need a visa to enter Spain. If you are another type of British nationality, you should always check your entry requirements with the nearest Spanish Embassy or Consulate. When visiting for up to 3 months, your passport must be valid for the planned duration of your stay. You do not require an period of validity beyond this.
Any other nationality looking to visit Spain must contact the local embassy to check visa requirements.
In addition to sampling paella, there is plenty to do on a coach holiday to Benidorm. Our favourites are:
Possibly most famous for its beaches, Benidorm boasts a number of golden sand havens. Stretching for six kilometres from Pontiente to Levante, the Blue Flag beaches feature a wealth of entertainment and water sports for sun lovers. Levante beach is also known as sunrise beach, Poniente is beyond the Old Town and Malpas is close to the harbour.
A great way to escape the beaches is in Aqualandia, the local waterpark. With a mix of twisting, turning flumes visitors can have fun soaking up the sun. It's also worth knowing that if you purchase a ticket for Aqualandia you will get discount for Mundomar or Aqualandia for a second day.
This wildlife park is home to dolphins, sea lions, seals, penguins and many more. With shows throughout the day from dolphins and sea lions to exotic birds you'll be in awe of these wonderful animals. There is also a chance to swim with the dolphins and sea lions!
Marco Polo Jeep Safari
Marco Polo Jeep Safaris take you on a tour through Costa Blanca's rugged and naturally beautiful landscape. Pass through classic Spanish villages, valleys and river beds, before finishing the day off at the Algar Waterfall, a popular swimming spot for visitors to the region.