It's big, it's bold, it's got Europe's tallest skyscrapers and a no-holds-barred entertainment and cabaret scene, yet there's much more to Benidorm than its reputation would have you believe. If you love outdoor activities, nature and great cuisine, head to the Costa Blanca resort with Jet2holidays this winter and you'll be amazed at what the lively town can offer.
Go scuba diving
With Benidorm's sea temperatures between 14°C and 12°C from October to March, the dive schools stay open all winter for PADI/SSI courses, and diving excursions. The Costa Blanca's best diving is just 30 minutes by boat to Benidorm Island where abundant marine life teems around the coral reef, rock walls and thrilling undersea caves. Strap on your tanks to explore these fascinating natural features at depth, and dive with barracuda, groupers, octopus, scorpion fish, eels and maybe even a turtle.
Hike into the Costa Blanca's natural heartland
From Benidorm's Manhattan-esque skyscrapers, it's surprisingly easy to walk up onto the lovely clifftops outlining the peaceful Sierra Helada nature reserve. This covers the mountain behind Benidorm and a stretch of protected coastline, open sea and islands. The full 9 km main hiking route up from Levante Beach via the Benidorm Cross is perfect for hearty winter walking (it's scorching in the summer) and takes you through rugged scrub and along undulating rocky tracks to the lighthouse and charming town of Albir. The Sierra Helada is home to wild orchids, peregrine falcons, Balearic shearwaters, deer, foxes and wild boar. And keep an eye on the sea below as you walk – you may well spot a school of dolphins hunting fish among the sea grass.
Climb a mountain
If walking in the Sierra Helada seems a bit lightweight, drive out to the legendary Puig Campana - the spectacular mountain you can see in the distance from Benidorm. You can take a guided tour, or tackle the mountain summit yourself, bearing in mind that this is a serious climb on scree slopes and rough waymarked trails, with the possibility of fog and freezing temperatures. Some trails lead to little tucked-away restaurants where you can sit for hours with a chilled cerveza, enjoying the craggy scenery and occasional circling eagle.
Explore on two wheels
Cyclists of all styles and abilities are well catered for in and around Benidorm, whether you love powering up and down the Sierra Helada clifftops on a mountain trail bike, road cycling between pretty coastal towns or a gentle city tour on a state-of-the-art electric bike (you can even hire a pet trailer to give walkies that extra dimension). Winter is the perfect time to see Benidorm by bike, and you'll find many pro clubs taking advantage of the cooler temperatures to train. Cycle hires offer a whole range of guided events, including night rides, gastronomic tours, multisport activities, or simply recommended itineraries for lone cyclists, tailored to your preferences.
Get in some rounds of golf
The Costa Blanca has become one of Europe's leading golf regions with over fifteen 18-hole courses within two hours' drive of Benidorm. Benidorm itself boasts luxury golf resorts with spas and restaurants, one resort styled as an old Spanish town on a hill overlooking the bay. With around 180 hours of sunshine per winter month, easy access to the town's traditional Spanish and British cuisines for 19th-hole rest and relaxation, and lively, varied nightlife, Benidorm offers a reliable all-round winter fun package for golfing enthusiasts.
Have a great gastronomic experience
It's said that Benidorm's gastronomy occurs in parallel universes: while the 'English Quarter' cheerfully churns out authentic British fish 'n' chips, all-day full English breakfasts, pies and pasties for nostalgic ex-pats and some holidaying Brits, 'Tapas Alley' in the Old Town offers the region's most authentically Spanish cuisine in atmospheric family-run tapas bars and restaurants.
This is the place to eat and practise your Spanish: it's packed with well-dressed Spaniards enjoying the paseo (evening walk) and having a great night out. Enjoy tapas as the locals do, with drinks, hopping from bar to bar – a plate of jamón iberico and manchego cheese at one, huge garlic prawns, clams and patatas bravas at the next, and sharing plates of pinchos - delectable toothpick snacks - at yet another to round off the evening. Spain's iconic dish, paella, is at its most authentic in Benidorm, featuring seafood, meat and vegetable variations; order it only at lunchtime as the Spanish traditionally do. And there are times in Benidorm when only an all-day full English breakfast will hit the spot – after a morning's scuba diving, golfing, hiking or cycling, perhaps.
Choose your activity-packed winter holiday to Benidorm from just £179 per person with Jet2holidays. Holiday packages include flights, hotels and transfers. Book your holiday with a deposit of just £60 (and zero credit card fees) with a 22kg luggage allowance included in the price too. ATOL and ABTA protected.
For more ideas on what to see and do in Benidorm this winter, please go to Visit Benidorm.