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Benidorm, Valencia Region, Spain

Benidorm is a coastal town and municipality located in the comarca of Marina Baixa, in the province of Alicante, Valencian community, Spain, by the Western Mediterranean.

Prior to the 1960s, Benidorm was a small village. Today it stands out for its hotel industry, beaches and skyscrapers, built as a result of its tourist-oriented economy. According to the 2010 census, Benidorm has a permanent population of 71,198 inhabitants, ranking as the fifth most populous town in the Alicante province. It is one of the most important holiday resorts in Spain, with an area of 38.5 km² and a population density of 1,848.8 inhab/km². Due to the unique skyline formed by its numerous tall hotels and apartment buildings it is sometimes referred to as the “Manhattan of Spain” or “Beniyork”, which is unlike any other on the Costa Blanca (White Coast). According to the Urban Age project, Benidorm has the most high-rise buildings per capita in the world. Benidorm itself is dwarfed by the 1406 m tall Puig Campana, which is one of the most impressive mountains of the Costa Blanca.

Tourism

Benidorm is popular with tourists from the UK, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. Benidorm’s initial growth in popularity can be attributed to the package holiday explosion, and continues year round, due to the night-life based around the central concentration of bars and clubs. The large number of free cabaret acts that start around 21:00 and continue into the early hours set Benidorm apart from other similar resorts. The author and Guardian journalist Giles Tremlett identified the resort as the birthplace of package tourism in the book Ghosts of Spain: Travels Through a Country’s Hidden Past and remarked that culturally the resort contradicted conservative notions of National Catholicism that General Franco had espoused. The accessibility of Benidorm to a wider social strata was also detailed in 1990 by the columnist Jani Allan describing in the Sunday Times “These days you just have to look at the numbers of wide-bodied jets bearing wide-bodied holidaymakers to Benidorm to realise that package holidays and airborne cattle trucks make fun in the sun accessible to everyone.” In the1980s Benidorm developed a reputation for British drunken lager louts and violent binge drinking. This did not happen all year round but mainly in the summer months of July and August. During the 1980s families were put off visiting the resort. However today the problem of drunkenness and lager louts has largely gone and Benidorm has become more mellowed. Many such people tend to visit other places like Ibiza or Malia. Now there is a very good police presence in the town which has greatly improved safety and provided for a good atmosphere. Nightlife is very popular and mainly involves cabaret acts and Tapas bars. The town is now very popular with families. Also, more and more elderly people from Northern Europe decide to stay here during the winter. Benidorm has three major beaches: Playa de Levante (val. Platja de Llevant), Playa de Poniente (val. Platja de Ponent) and Platja del Mal Pas; all of them have a blue flag since 1987, the maximum quality standard recognized by the European Union. TheGran Hotel Bali, a four-star hotel located in this city since 2002, is a 186-metre-tall building which stood as the tallest skyscraper in Spain for five years, until it was surpassed by the CTBA towers in Madrid, it is however the tallest hotel in Europe.

Events and attractions

Each summer, since 1959 to 2000, the city celebrated the Benidorm International Song Festival, a song contest where international or Spanish celebrities like Julio Iglesias, Raphael or the Dúo Dinámico became famous. Since 2010, In July, Benidorm celebrates an Indie Music Festival, with national and international music groups, called “Benidorm Low Cost Festival”. Benidorm boasts three family-oriented theme parks: Terra Mítica is located inland from the city, at the foot of the mountain and Aqualandia and Mundomar are located on the outskirts of the city on the Llevant side. In addition to large shopping and commercial areas.

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