Benalmadena is now my home. We moved here in November of last year and have spent the time between then and now, settling down and really getting to know the area.
I did know it quite well beforehand but in a holiday sort of way. Hopefully this review will encourage others to explore a little bit more and see more of the town and what it has to offer.
Benalmadena is a town situated on the Costa Del Sol in southern Spain. 19 miles from Malaga and 10 miles from Malaga Airport. Sandwiched between Torremolinos and Fuengirola. It is easily accessed from by car, train, bus or taxi, ohh and of course, boat. Trains run between Malaga and Fuengirola with Benalmadena being just about in the middle. Bus services are similar and connect to main stations in both towns from where you can travel on to other parts of Spain.
You can fly to Malaga from most parts of the Uk with most of the major airlines. Flights are generally affordable and times vary from between 2-4hours depending on where you are flying from. You can then travel to Benalmadena either by coach, train or taxi. The journey time by taxi is around 20mins.
Hotels and Apartments
There are thousands of hotels rooms and apartments in Benalmadena and with cafeful scrutiny, you can confidently book over the internet (just be wary of location as the town is built on a hill). All the major holiday companies offer package holidays to this area and prices are very reasonable.
Benalmadena has been in the past inhabited by the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks, Romans, Visigoths and Arabs and although not much evidence of these civilisations remains, the Romans have probably had the greatest influence on the architecture. This is becoming more evident as they are currently digging up the main road after a recent finding of a Roman archaeological site.
The temperature of this part of the coast is very mild. During the months of July and August, temperatures can reach 45 degrees. Winter months generally vary between 17-23 degrees apart from February this year when it plummeted to 3 (only for 2 days though), the rest of the month was fairly cold at 5 degrees. However 5 degrees with a marble floor and no central heating is a bit different to 5 degrees in the Uk with fitted carpets and central heating. February is the only month since we arrived that we have not visited the beach.
A Town of Many Divisions (geographical and cultural)
Benalmadena is actually made up of 3 separate parts. If you arrive in the town from the top road, the Autopista, your breath will be taken away with the view. The road is almost 300 metres above sea level and the view of the town is quite spectacular. You are almost at the top of the mountains and the effect can make you quite dizzy (or is that just me in my normal state?)
Taking a deep breathe and coming off the motorway, heading downwards with your nose pressed against the windscreen (yes it is really that steep), you arrive at the first part of Benalmadena, the Pueblo (village). It is situated around 2km from the coast with amazing views of the coast. Ohh yes there are lots of cranes and evidence of building between the village and the coast, but you can look over those to the sea beyond and almost forget they are there. Unless of course you have a particular penchant for young Spanish men working with their shirts off, then building sites can become quite fun to watch;)
The Pueblo is the original town and many parts of it remain quite unspoiled. It is listed as one of the Andalusian white villages and you can get lost in your own little world while wandering around. Narrow, pebbled streets and small houses give you the feeling of how people used to live in Spain. In the central point of the old village (Plaza de España) you will find the XVII century church, Iglesia de Santa Domingo, which is well worth a visit. You will also find the sculpture of "niña de Benalmadena" (the little girl of Benalmadena). This is a sculpture of a little girl holding out a seashell in her open hands. The name Benalmadena is taken from ancient Arabic and means Children of the Mines, a reference to the mineral mining which was the main industry of the area in years gone by. The area is quite largely populated with British people but they seem to manage to live there in harmony with the locals well at least they seem to get on very well with the locals in the bars:). There are plenty of bars and restaurants and lots of little shops to wander around, although you should note that Spanish siesta time (2-5pm) is more likely to be observed here than on the coast.
Heading downwards, still with slight need of oxygen, you will come across the town of Arroyo de la Miel, (valley of the honey). This is the middle town of Benalmadena and where you will find the train station. It has quite a busy village feel to it. It is a myriad of small streets and alleyways with loads of interesting and quite different shops. Not so much in the way of tacky souvenirs. Some quite exclusive clothes shops and a great market on Fridays.
Arroyo is also the home of Tivoli World which is the largest Theme Park on the coast. You have to visit this as it is an experience in itself. It costs 10Euros per person and the wristband gives you unlimited access to the rides. You can also experience shows and loads of other activities at no extra charge. The gardens are spectacular and firework displays on fiesta days are quite something.
You will find the Telecabina (cable car) in Arroyo however, I cannot comment on that because there is no way that my family is getting me into a flimsy looking little box then suspending me on an even flimsier looking little wire while I am hoisted up a mountain, and expect me to pay 11Euros per person for the pleasure . if you ever do try it, then please let me know how it felt. One look up the mountain is quite enough for me, I really dont feel the need to see Africa from that height:)
Heading on downwards (benalmadena covers almost 30km2 ) you will arrive at Benalmadena Costa. Driving alone the coastal road (N340), you might be forgiven for thinking that you had been catapulted back to the UK ..although the palm trees and high temperatures might wake you up again. There are over 1500 bars and restaurants in the town and 70% of those are British owned. However, there are some excellent restaurants and you can literally get anything from sausages and chips to a full lobster dinner. You will never fret over missing Sunday lunch as so many places serve it here. The promenade, surprisingly enough on the beach side of the road, runs for several kilometres and is lined with bars and restaurants. The town side of the road has even more. The Spanish restaurants in Benalmadena are mostly fish restaurants but have the reputation of being some of the best in Spain. These are my favourite places and you can watch as they barbeque your chosen fish. The aromas from these restaurants are amazing. The whole point about the food is that it caters for everyone. Food and drink is certainly cheaper than in the UK but nothing like it was a few years ago. An evening meal, with drinks for a family of four works out at around £30. Drinks are around 2Euros each although measures vary from large to extremely large
You cannot go to Benalmadena and not visit the port (Puerto). It took 10 years to build and was completed in 1982. It has twice been voted the Best Marina in the World. You should really see this place at night for the first time. It is a mixture of commercial and residential properties built in an Arabic style. You can wander around the port for hours. There are many shops, restaurants, bars and of course boats. There are around 1000 boats moored there at any one time and some of them have to be seen to be believed. The lighting in the port has been designed to accentuate the buildings and you really do believe that you are in some far off world. You will also find Sea World, a sea life aquarium which is worth a visit.
Paloma Park is one of the best kept secrets of Benalmadena , but you really must visit. It is just off the coast road about halfway through the town. You can enter the park from three or four different entrances. It is a paradise for animals and humans alike. You will find most of the animals roam free in a very natural environment. Rabbits hop all over the place, cats sleep anywhere, chickens wander around, peacocks (including a couple of albino ones) stare at you warily and guinea pigs just scutter everywhere. On top of that there is an emu and a goat enclosure and the best cactus garden I have ever seen. There is a boating lake at the bottom of the park with a huge fountain and a pond, used for remote controlled boats, in the centre. There are three or four places to eat and drink and several ice-cream stands dotted around the park. This is such a good alternative to the beach and a great place to go if it is a bit cooler than normal (which is unlikely).
There are so many different places and things to do in this town that I would be writing a book if I wrote about all of them ohh wait a minute, this is turning into a book anyway ooops
I will summarise for different groups:
1. Beach, - there are 28 beaches on the benalmadena coastline so there are loads of activities: hiring pedalos, jet skiis, knee boarding, banana boats, parascending and all sorts of water activities.
2. Tivoli World, - theme park aimed at adults and children alike
3. Telecabina cable car - my idea of hell but you might like it
4. Crazy Golf excellent crazy golf course
5. Sea World very good aquarium
6. Paloma Park very relaxing place to spend a day.
You are also ideally situated for visiting the waterparks in the adjacent towns of Torremolinos and Fuengirola. The go-karting track at Mijas and the cinemas in both Malaga and Fuengirola (they do show films in English)
1. Beach, there are even some beaches that do not encourage children as well as a nudist beach at the far end of the town.
2. Bars and restaurants galore
4. Karaoke Bars
5. Live Music
6. Puerto - just to wander
A lot of single lads and lassies come to Benalmadena and go home whiter than when they arrived. That is because we have an area called 24hour square (solymar) as well as a thriving nightclub area in the port. They spend all night in the clubs and sleep all day only waking when hunger overcomes them then out for a quick snack and back to get ready for a night of clubbing ..ahh well, you are only young once:)
The clubs in both of these places are excellent and are very well used. It is not unusual to see people still wandering around at 8am in their party clothes from the night before. If I were that age again, it would prob be me;) 24 hour square has several clubs and discos as well as pubs and has a McDonalds that is open until 4am. It is very well policed although the age group in the summertime tends to range from 14year olds trying to look 18 to 25 year olds trying to look 16. It is very busy from about midnight onwards and has an amazing buzz. We go there in wintertime when it is very quiet and the age group ranges from 25-45 .how sad is that?
Well I could go on and on .ohh wait, I have, havent I .I just wanted to let people see that Benalmadena can be quite a different place from the usual image of a predominantly British holiday resort in Spain. During the month of August though, it is mainly Spanish people who come here, so the focus does change a little bit.
On the negative side, Spain is Spain, manana doesnt mean tomorrow at all .it means sometime in the future, so if you want something to happen immediately, then this is not the place for you it will happen when it happens just be sure to order lunch before you think you are hungry. It is also a very hot place with a slightly overworked drainage system in high season so you might catch the occasional nasty whiff as you pass a drain. It is very hot in summer and a hat is essential. Beaches are generally clean and at the moment are being scrutinised by the EC to ensure that they come up to standard. There are hundreds of hotel and apartment buildings and the population of the town swells to three times its normal size during the summer months. There are much less parking spaces than are needed, so if you hire a car, you may spend much of your time trying to park. The town is built on a hill so unless your hotel/apartment is on the beachfront, you will be walking up a hill on the return. Careful booking is required for people with disabilities due to the hilly nature of the town. (although wheelchair access to restaurants etc is generally very good)
The water is drinkable, as it is purified, although perhaps a two week holiday is not long enough to become accustomed to it so I would suggest buying it bottled. If you like a quiet holiday then this is defintely not for you, this town does buzz.
Personally, I love living here, It has been a complete change of lifestyle and I love the feeling that I am on holiday every day, even although we have started a business, settled kids into school and are living an otherwise normal life. It is just so totally different and I wish we had done it years ago.
I would certainly recommend Benalmadena for a holiday but would suggest that you leave the well beaten tourist tracks for a while and do a little exploring .you will find some parts that will surprise you.
That was my first review in a few years due to the mad path my life has taken recently .. for those of you who remember me, you will have noticed that I still talk a lot:) and for those of you who dont, then I always talk a lot lol. To those of you still awake after all that, thanks for reading:)
in majorca's hottest june/july for 138 years i visited cala millor on the east coast of the island for a fortnight spreading across those two months. in this review i have tried my utmost best to include restaurants, bars, accommodation, beaches, places of interest etc. etc. you must note that going to majorca this summer is extremely dangerous for your health as the sun is constantly shining, the temperature on thursday / friday july 10/11 reached highs of 41 degrees celsius, i recommend you to take at least factor 15 sun tan lotion to reduce the risk of sunburn or even skin cancer! now... back to the resort, here is a little insight given in the thomson summer sun 2003 brochure, let's see what's true, and what isn't: 'cala millor, linked to the old village of cala bona by a promenade, is a more modern and exciting resort, it has more shops, busier bars and restaurants.' cala bona must be very boring then! true the fact that cala millor is linked to cala bona by a promenade, it's too hot to walk up the promenade because many people have been known to pass out on the promenade because of the heat in the last few weeks. cala millor is modern, but certainly not exciting, it is suited best for families with young children, there are two good bars there, which i will come to later, and it has plenty of shops, none of which are ever open! those which are sell the same things! and don't get me started with busier bars and restaurants... the only reason it has busier bars is because there?s only two good ones there, all the others close early! so don't listen to thomson when they tell you these lies! despite that it is a reasonably nice resort. it is situated on the east coast of the island, closer to the north than south but mainly centrally situated. it is approximately 1hour and 10minutes from palma de mallorca (son san juan) international airport, and boasts plenty of hotels and apartments. the hotels people were recommending to me, and the ones which I found to look the nicest are mostly Thomson hotels, as they are the main company who offer Cala Millor holidays. We stayed at the Apartments Atalaya (3*), they were nice for 3* apartments, very clean, it offered kind, helpful staff (if you are not disabled from what I heard!). I would recommend them to families, but if there is more than 2 of you do not take the one bedroom apartment option, and don't go self catering!! Other nice hotels in the area were the Hotel Veronica (3*), Bahia del Este (4*), Hipocampo Park (5*), Levante Park (4*), and the apartments, Apartments Atalaya (3*), Bahia Grande (3*), and finally the Aparthotel Bonaire (4*). There are other hotels and apartments available through JMC, Thomas Cook, Iberoservice, MyTravel, Alltours Flugreisen, and Neckermann. The resort is mainly family based, it offers a Blue Flag Beach, which means it has won a blue flag award for high standards, however, I didn't find it to be that clean, and on top of paying 1 euro per day to stay in Majorca, you have to pay 3 euros per 6 hours to hire sun beds!!! So I left the beach and went to the pool instead! There are plenty of bars and restaurants in the area, I would strongly recommend many of them, there?s the restaurant Coloseum, which serves a killer Cream of Mushroom Soup and Garlic Chicken. Nou Candil is and excellent restaurant situated on the main street at the bottom of the resort. Then the Rose & Crown Bar & Restaurant, who serve excellent meals, from salads to ½ roast chicken and chips!! There is also a great variety of other restaurants in the area, and you could also take a short stroll up to Cala Bona where there is also and excellent serving of restaurants. Earlier I mentioned that there were 2 good bars in the area, they are situated in the middle of the resort. There?s the Bar British Bulldog, which has excellent staff, fantastic family surroundings,
a fun evening out for everyone with bingo, quizzes, and karaoke! A night not to be missed!!! And secondly there is the Rose and Crown, which offers excellent food, dead in the center of the resort, with karaoke in the night! PLEASE NOTE? due to the noise curfew in Majorca; all bars need to keep music indoors after 12 MIDNIGHT!!! They remain open and you can still sit outside and enjoy the peace but they have to keep noise inside! This I do not agree to and considering you pay 1 euro per day per person to stay there and enjoy yourselves, this is not acceptable! Then there?s the highly recommended ?Q Club? and ?Magic Club? which I did not dare try! There are plenty of tours and excursions available through your holiday companies to visit places of interest in the area, but you can also rent a car from Avis, situated opposite the Atalaya, or arrange with your holiday company to rent a car. Many people recommend the Cuevas del Drach in Porto Cristo, this, I found, was boring! You walk around for about 25 minutes looking at nothing, and then it takes them 30 minutes to get you sat down to watch a 5 minute opera, where there is a woman and a small orchestra in two rowing boats performing rubbish to you! NOT recommended! The western water park, Marineland, Shopping in Palma, a day in Ca?n Pastilla, near Palma Airport and much, much more! There is plenty for all the family to do in Majorca, whether it?s laze in the sun, or go on adventures! All are catered for. Now, from the Thomson health & safety first brochure, here are some tips of do?s and don?ts! ***On arrival at your hotel, ensure you know where all the fire exits are situated how to get to them in an emergency! ***It is not recommended that you rent motorbikes or mopeds, the drivers? attitude towards these are filthy and they are VERY unsafe! ***If you rent a car ensure that you take great care and safety on the roads. In my final week in Majorca there were no m
ore, no less than 6 road deaths! In one week! ***When the sun is shining all glass doors and windows can not appear to the eye. Therefore Thomson and I recommend that you should report any windows that have no stickers on them to your representative immediately. So, that is all from me! I would recommend Cala Millor to the quiet person or family, if you are a raving lunatic, mad person, or looking for a more active time, I would recommend Magalluf or Alcudia! So, enjoy yourself!
Welcome to the world of affordable Package breaks in the Costa Blanca. Welcome to my world. Come on in, but wipe your feet please. And no pets. No smoking at the back either.
Who has ever said that, and not go on to buy a Sombrero and Wicker Donkey?
The Costa Blanca. The White Coast. Not Dover. Not White. A bit rocky brown really, but It's lovely and next year I will be presiding there. I might even be living there too.
Just outside the Newtown of Benidorm, the most famous and popular coastal area in the region of Not Dover, there is a really quite splendid water-park that goes by the name of "Aqualandia".
I've just been. Literally - I was there yesterday. And today I'm going to wax lyrical about it for a while. I may even throw in a foreign word or two.
Aqualandia is accessible for 4 Euros by taxi from the main Square in Benidorm, or for 2 Euros, you can get a bus.
Taxi's are your quickest and most reliable way of getting into the park although, such is the bizarre nature of the Taxi fare system in Spain, it actually becomes cheaper to catch the bus back, due to the fact that the driver's meter is set to 'local' when you are taken there and 'central' for them to pick you up.
Thankfully, for your pockets the Buses arrive every 40 minutes and they run/trundle/meander until well after the park closes at 8pm (7pm Mid-season and 6pm for Low Season).
Entry into the park is reasonable, and once you're in, you can easily spend all day in there so long as it doesn't get all cold or you get thrown out for doing a 'Running Bomb' into the Sea Lion Enclosure.
For Adults it's E17 and Children up to the ages of 12 are E10. Children who are 3 and under are free, children who are aged 13 to 17 are left to lament the fact that they are treated as adults but with no right of a vote or legal alcohol consumption in the UK. Children who are 17 don't like to be called Children, but really you are. Honest. You'll laugh at that skirt next year Julie.
Ok. Now you're inside. First thing to marvel at is the size of the place. This is NOT the Blackpool Sandcastle. Or even that one in Rhyl. This is bloody enormous.
Hand over a few gleaming E1 coins and in return you get a key to a locker, into which your clothes may go. Not all of them mind, they don't like you to do nudity. Although they do let you do topless sunbathing. You can lie still and be half naked, just don't think about walking half naked.
The Locker room is hilarious. No honestly it is. Ordinarily, locker 1 is next to locker 2, which understandably is followed by locker 3. That's fine, except when you get to the end of a row. Don't expect the follow-on row to be the nearest one. Got to the back of the room, round the corner and it'll be somewhere there. Maybe.
Swimming togs in place, key around wrist. It's slide time.
I was visiting Aqualandia with my good chum Sarah. Sarah is a holiday rep and therefore Mental by trade, only she's not keen on slides and stuff. That didn't stop me 'physically encouraging' her to come on a few of them, just by kicks. Sorry, FOR Kicks.
There are a total of 15 different slides or attractions in Aqualandia, Between Sarah and Myself, we got on them all, no queuing required.
In the distance, peeking cheekily over the horizon is what looks like a vertical pillar. I think I'll almost probably definitely go and investigate that in the near future. But first, there's a 5 laned bumper ride to be negotiated. And that's just over there, so no trekking required.
'Pista Blandas' is the spell-check unfriendly name of this particular slide, Several bumps in a straight line. Like the rides you used to get at Pee-wee Hermans adventure playpark in Llandudno, you don't have to ride in a sack-cloth toboggan in Spain though. To the Top, you get the signal from the lovely Lifeguard to set off.
First Bump, you will at this point realise you are now facing the wrong way and are cascading down head first.
Bump Two flings you admirably clean over bump three and you land side on at bump 4 like a rag-doll, eventually sploshing into the pool at the bottom, girls checking bikini tops, lads removing arse-wedges of shorts. Hilarity to be had from here on in.
Pista Blandas rather imaginatively this translates as 'Soft Track' and not 'bouncy track of death' as I thought at first.
Directly beside flingy-flingy-fly-tumble-bounce slide is the 'Black Hole'
Tandem Inflatable rafts are provided you you to try not to fall off all the way down the twisty routes - there are 2 intertwining pitch-black undulating tubes of plastic - they're both different, do both. Don't fall off.
A short walk up a hill, and trust me (this place is effectively one big hill) is a ride not recommended for anyone who packs Anusol in their suitcases. 'Rapids' is a series of whirlpools linked by concrete slopes. Concrete slopes. Slopes of Concrete. So. You go round gently in circles, lovely and gentle....tip backwards down a slope constructed of 3 parts powder, 2 parts sand and 1 part water, gently round and round... and so on for 6 pools, before learning to remove buttocks from near bottom of rubber ring when approaching edge of whirling, else you'll need to borrow the rubber ring to sit on for the duration of your stay.
Waddle away from the Rapids, and off past the 'Laguna' which is not a damp Renault, but is essentially a big pool that you can negotiate by monkey bridges and ropes and such like. Being loose of limb and sore of rump, I simply swam to the other side and laughed at the swingy-sway manner that Sarah opted to cross with.
By now, the vertical tube is much closer and it has now come to my attention that it is in reality a slide. About 80 feet of vertical slide. Cough.
Somewhere else first I suggested.
ZigZag is a set of again 5 different slides that you race 4 others down. High sided and fast, it's a quintuplet of fun, although sadly I once again ended up hitting the water face first after setting off feet to the fore.
By now, you will be feeling slightly dizzy and probably peckish, so you can stop off at one of the picnic areas or outdoor snack bars to chomp through Burgers, Pizzas or Paella.
What not to do straight after eating is ride 'Kamikaze' , which is almost as bad as it sounds, but in reality is possibly the tamest of all the rides in the park, the website for the park (www.aqualandia.net) however eats up the feelings with this description:
"Its name says it all. Do you dare? These are sensations! The pleasure of speed. You will see how much you like it! Wow! How intense! Oh, there are two of these! Should we try the other one? Say yes, valiant one! "
So, Valiant ones!!..... Come hither to the pant-filler.
'The Big Bang' is a collection of 5 slides. Another 5 laner, this one you ride on a mat, head first and have generally more control in the direction you face.
Then you have 4 slides mounted on a scaffolding type structure, although I will assure you that it a lot more secure than I am making I sound.
Slide 4 - Orange.
Sarah rode Orange, oh brave sole. She started screaming even before she had started to slide, and only stopped when her head went under water.
Slide 3 - Green.
An enclosed tube, I'm not entirely sure this one is put together as well as the designers intended because it hurt to buggery each time I slid over a joint.
Slide 1 - Yellow.
Yes, I know I've missed 2 out - there's a reason for it too.
Yellow is the biggest slide I've ever seen. Ever. It is in fact the highest chute in Europe. It looks a lot like those tubes builders use to chuck rubbish into skips from tall buildings, only this one is open fronted and very nearly vertical to boot. Many many scared noises emanated from my mouth on the way down this slide.
Slide 2 - Blue. Evil evil evil blue.
Blue slide, Blue is the second tallest, but lordy it is about 5 times as terrifying.
Basically, you set off at about 45 degrees for about 20 feet, then all of a sudden, you realise the slide has disappeared, and your not on it. Nowhere near it in fact. You can see it below you, but you just lack the feeling on being on it. that secure feeling. You're in free fall. You're going to die. Then, by either fluke or magnificent understanding of physics, you re-join the slide just as it tapers off at the bottom. There is absolutely no need for about a 60 foot stretch of slide in the middle. You could sell it as new, never been touched.
Evil Blue was the only slide I didn't ride more than once.
Infact, I had half an hour on the lazy river to get over it.
Overall, Aqualandia is an awesome half day that you can easily extend into an excellent full day out for all the family. Some rides do have a height restriction, but there is still plenty for the kids to do.
Just beware the evil blue.
******I know, this isn't the best category, but its the nearest i can get, and Blair stil calls himself Labour, so i think that Justifies me. Oooh and Dooyoo Embraces the Euro sign about as well as Rik Mayall does, so the E will have to do.*******
I have been to Benidorm once now and i know for a fact that it is my favourite holiday destination! There is just so much to do - you can't get bored no matter how much you try! Whether you're looking for a fun-filled very lively holiday or just a slow relaxing one - Benidorm can offer the best of both worlds. Every hotel has its own swimming pools - but why sunbathe and relax by the pool when you can go down to the beach and feel the hot sand warming your feet and look at the clear blue seas of the Meditteranean whilst hiring out sun loungers they have on the beach or even laying on a rug on the sand. Even if you decide to take a swim out into the ocean you wont have to worry about the fish as they have nets up that stop the fish coming near the shore! All you have to remember is that if you burn (like me) you need to take a high factor sun lotion with you. June - August are the hottest months, even the winter months in Benidorm are hotter than the winter months in England. So if you cant stand the heat in summer then you can always go in the winter. It's cheaper in non-peak times and dearer in July/August. But it's well worth the money even if you do come in summer as the shops are open til the early hours of the morning. When i went - the spanish people were very nice and quite often they say hello to you! If sunbathing isn't your thing and you'd prefer to be active then Benidorm is one of the most liveliest resorts in Spain. It has everything you can imagine such as millions and millions of shops, hot humid weather, georgous clean beaches that are cleaned every night, beautiful clear blue ocean, sun loungers, loads of entertainment such as nightclubs, pubs and bars, karooke, millions of restaurants (such as Tony Aroma's, Steak Houses, Chinese Restaurants, Italian restaurants, even fish and chip shops,KFC's, McDonalds, Burger Kings, cafes and pizza shops etc), old towns to look at, loads of
souvenier shops, boat trips etc! The good thing about Benidorm is the cost of everything. It is alot cheaper there than in England. In Benidorm you can get a full 3 course meal for about £5. Now where can you get a deal like that in the UK? There is even a pizza street where there's loads of pizza shops all joined together so they cater for everyone! Maybe during the day you'd like to go and visit some of the surrounding areas! Now thats easy.. you have many options! You can travel by train. There is a limon express train that goes up in the mountains, or you can travel via bus (they are quite cheap) or you can travel via boats! There are many boat trips from Benidorm. One of them is to this beautiful island about a mile from Benidorm! There are loads of birds that like to fly to the island and there's loads of fossils etc. Benidorm is the one place you can shop til you drop!! With millions of side streets lined with millions of shops, selling a variety of things, you are bound to end up with at least a suitcase full of extra souveniers etc when you leave the resort! If you wish to do something different - i.e. not look round shops or sunbathe, then why not try Terra Mitica. Terra Mitica is a large theme park with rides to suit all ages and types, it's about a 30min bus drive away, or you can visit Aqualandia - a huge waterpark which consists mainly of flumes and different types of pools such as wave pools etc or maybe you'd like to see some animals. Mundomar (situated on the doorstep of Aqualandia) has lots of animals for you to enjoy watching, such as dolphin and seal shows. Plus there's loads of other animals to watch and if you feel hungry - they also have a restaurant! Now back to Benidorm - one disadvantage is that there's not many public toilets (infact i didn't spot one). You have to go in restaurants or pubs etc. Also you get lots of people there asking you for
money, which isn't very nice when you're trying to relax!There is one good feeling during the day though. When you go inside buildings they have the air-conditioning on, so as soon as you come out the heat just hits you! I loved that part! Most of the hotels in Benidorm are situated near the beach, so you dont have far to walk, though some are out of town and you would probally have to catch a bus to get into where all the action is! But it's certainly a holiday resort not to be missed and for people of all ages and interests! Though it's best to check with the hotel first, how to get to the hotel as I am going on holiday there this year and the hotel i'm staying in (Vacanza) is situated on top of a hill (doh!). Well i need the exercise!!! Plus another good thing is - you can eat as much as you like and still lose loads of weight (from the heat to all the walking and exercising you do). This resort is also visited alot by loads of Britons every year! They dont have any amusement arcades in Benidorm though (perhaps you might see the odd one in a fairground that comes to Benidorm most days of the year). Also Benidorm is great if you have a sweet tooth! They have alot of icecream sundaes for you to enjoy!
“Roxanne, you don't have to put on the red light. Those days are over, you don't have to sell your body to the night!” Roxanne, The Police. Sorry for the crass title, but Magaluf is a crass place, read on cheers. Flaunting herself shamelessly like an Edwardian whore in Blackfriars, Magaluf pulls no punches when it comes to crass, yet fun, entertainment. Throughout her hilly, narrow streets, and hidden squares, she boasts seediness, tackiness and adult entertainment in every sense. Battling against the reams of tanked up “PR’s” and reps, tempting you into their lairs with promises of cheap drink, sexual awards, or just friendly banter, you know you have been in a war by the nights end. Chanting greets you from every bar, be it Brit, Irish, Scandinavian or any other except for the somewhat subdued German bars, where good behaviour is top of the bill. Karaoke bars, celebrity look-alike bars, school daze discos, rock and roll, Geordie bars, Scottish bars, night clubs and fight clubs, whatever your fetish is, as long as alcohol is top of the agenda, you will not be disappointed. Food for thought, with English grub being on virtually every menu in sight, simple food the major concern, and pricing wars enticing tourists to have top nosh for loose change. Lets see know, the Indian I had was tip top and served in cleaner conditions than most English restaurants, and I would say half the price, with a Tandoori Mixed Grill coming in at about £7, and a bottle of wine, (Faustino VII, Riojca) costing £6, and retailing at £7 in Safeways, UK. The other meals I had, and enjoyed were Cuttlefish, Swordfish, Sardines (Grilled) Pizza (Rossinis, on the Palma Nova Road, a nostalgic trip back to celebrate our 4th Wedding Anniversary) Muscles French style, English breakfast at £2, and a Burger King Triple Cheeseburger for £1.33. I managed to nick some of Sherry’s Garlic Pr
awns and a piece of her steak as well, fat Blighter that I am! Most meals out at decent restaurants left you with change from £30, and the cheapest restaurant we found served an exceptional menu of three courses, half bottle of wine, bread and ali oli (A Spanish Garlic mayonnaise, addictive) for only 11 Euros, about £7.66! Some examples are Starters, garlic prawns, muscles, and prawn cocktail. Main Meal, steak, many Fish dishes including the largest swordfish steak I have ever had, deserts are plentiful and wine was half decent. Other restaurants include Chinese (dozens) Italian, Indian, English, Seafood, etc, but you will be hard pushed to find a Spanish/Majorcan one unless you walked to Palma Nova, which takes about 20 mins, tops. The majority of pubs sold snack food and even meals, but tended to do fish and chips, sausage and chips etc, tacky, greasy, vile, but great for a hangover. Magaluf beach is long, vast, clean, and full of what the workers out there (Workers being British people who seek work for the summer etc) call minkies, attractive women. Although a safe beach, the water is cold and has strong undercurrents, so children would have to be watched at all times. Hiring of a beach/sun lounger is almost compulsory, as the sand gets hot and unbearable, with temperatures reaching 40 degrees Celsius while I was there, and yes I do look like a lobster and am peeling already! These cost a few quid for the whole day, but if you leave for too long, you will have to pay again! There are many terrace bars along the coastline, but are full of mindless English teenagers swearing, puking, and just generally being obnoxious, so if you have children with you, stay away from the bar areas. In all honesty though, if you are planning a family holiday with young children, there are many better places than Magaluf to take them, trust me on that one. Accommodation is typical tourist apartments and hotels, bas
ic, clean relatively inexpensive, and close to all amenities, but as I stayed with friends this time, I cant really tell you too much without guessing. I stayed at the Aqua Sol last time I visited here, about a ten-minute walk from Magaluf hotspots, and found the hotel to be very adequate and acceptable for the money I paid (£140 for a last minute booking) Magaluf has a water park, with quite a few slides and water rides, but queues are long and without shade, so you either have to have a good sun block on or you find yourself drinking £2 a pint larger in the shade all day. At £10 to get in, it represents good value as you can stay all day and food is reasonably priced. Marineland, a sister venture of the Aqua Park, is located some 3 miles away from Magaluf, heading towards Palma, at a place called Port Callous, which is where we stayed. Now Marineland has two shows, a parrot show and a dolphin/sea lion show, and both are exceptional, but after that, not a lot to entertain you, so £10 per adult (£7 per child) seems a bit much for a days venture. Their argument is they have a beach where you can go for an hour or two and then comeback, but my argument is that you have seen everything in an hour or two and don’t want to go back, so we call it stalemate there. There are many coves and secluded beaches within an hours walk of Magaluf, for the true romantics amongst you, and one of these small coves boasts the Bambu Fish (spelt that way) a charming little beach bad with a small terrace overlooking this beach, which is no more than 50 yards by 10 yards (convert to metres yourself, I am old). Here you can spend the evening nibbling on tapas and drinking San Miguel until your heart is content, while watching the small fishing boats sailing past. Candlelight at your table, flickering in the evening’s breeze adds to the effect and even makes an old Geordie like myself feel a bit romantic. This bar is not alone though, there are many more lik
e it hidden away from the yobbish pie and mash English entourage that mingle in the grottiest of urine smelling bars, shouting “show me your tits” at every opportunity they get (I happily obliged by the way), and I recommend for a more memorable holiday, you become a bit more adventurous and seek them out. All in all, I would use Magaluf as a stopping point, and venture further a field for the real side of Majorca, and you will be pleasantly surprised. Angus