Benidorm Spain Article
Benidorm Spain, interesting article about the development of the spanish resort of Benidorm.
The Story of Benidorm Spain
Benidorm Spain - Fishing Village Done Good -
Sun, sea, sand and sangria – Benidorm certainly offers all of these and lots more besides. Located in the Northern Costa Blanca region of Spain, Benidorm is, nowadays, the major destination in Europe for holidaymakers wanting a seaside holiday. With over 4 million visitors annually this is a serious resort and Benidorm has certainly got to grips with the needs and desires of this huge number of visitors.
Most would find it very hard to believe that Benidorm was just a small fishing village right up until the 1950’s when an emerging tourist industry would result in enormous changes not just in Benidorm but also many other surrounding towns and villages.
Its history of course, goes back much further, in fact there is evidence of settlements in the area as far back as 3000 BC. Fragments of Punic and Roman ships have been found in the Bay of Benidorm and there are remains of a Roman villa. However, the known history of Benidorm starts during the Arab Conquest (eighth to thirteenth centuries) when the first true settlement was started by the Moors and Benidorm developed into a fishing community of some importance.
The town and the surrounding region was re-conquered for the Christians by Jaime I (The Conquistador) in 1245 and in 1325 the town received its first charter. The original Benidorm Castle was built at this time and was located in the area of the old village. Although no evidence now remains of the castle, it was, at the time, very important in defending Benidorm from attacks by Berber pirates, these attacks were frequent and damaging and 2 particularly serious attacks occurred in 1410 and 1448 after which Benidorm and the surrounding area became depopulated. The castle was seriously damaged during these attacks and although it was repaired in 1530, 1563 and 1575 Benidorm was populated only by a small number of fishermen and their families.
An irrigation drain built in 1666 to supply much needed water to the surrounding agricultural land brought some improvement to the region and by 1715 the population of Benidorm had risen to 216. 1740 saw the start of construction on the Parish Church of San Jaime and the population grew rapidly during this construction project and in 1794 had reached 2,700.
Although agriculture contributed somewhat to Benidorm’s survival during these years, fishing remained the main industry and it gained a huge reputation as successful tuna fishermen. By 1857 the population had grown to 3,750 but dropped back once again in 1920 when an outbreak of phylloxera seriously damaged a thriving grape growing industry.
At around the same time there were signs of an emerging tourism industry in the area helped by the construction of a narrow gauge railway (begun in 1914). A small but increasing number of tourists headed for Benidorm and the coast from inland towns such as Madrid and Alcoy.
Disaster loomed for Benidorm in the early 1950’s as there was a serious decline in fish catches, but as luck would have it, this coincided with an increase in tourism and a plan drawn up by the town council in 1956 for improvements in the town specifically targeted at leisure and tourism, was well timed and in many ways prophetic. The population increased enormously during the following years – 2,726 in 1950 rose to 6,259 in 1960. This spectacular growth was accelerated in 1967 by the opening of El Altet (Alicante) airport and a huge program of construction began to cater for the growing number of tourists. In 1970 the population had reached 12,003, in 1981 it had grown to 21,544 and in 1997 it reached 50,176. These figures of course represent the resident population, the actual population, especially during the summer months far exceeds these numbers.
Modern day Benidorm is a spectacularly successful resort catering for holidaymakers of all ages and nationalities. There is plenty to see and do in and around Benidorm, for sun lovers there are 2 superb beaches, for kids and adults there are some great theme parks such as Terra Mitica with its fabulous rides, Aqualandia Water Park with its great selection of slides, waterfalls and pools, and Mundomar Marine Park with its dolphins, sea lions, penguins and children’s park. In the evenings there is a fantastic array of pubs, bars, discos and clubs providing superb shows and entertainment. A trip to Benidorm Island in a glass-bottomed boat is a must together with a visit to the old village, site of the original Benidorm castle. Why not try some water sports whilst you are there? Scuba diving, sailing, jet-skiing and wind surfing are all popular activities. A boat trip to Calpe is an excellent way to spend a day, but don’t forget your camera – you will not want to miss the opportunity to take some shots of the breathtaking rock formation Penon de Ifach. If gambling is your thing a visit to The Costa Blanca Casino will be on your ‘to do list’ it is one of the biggest casinos in Spain and is situated on the road to Villajoyosa. Perhaps you fancy a Medieval Tournament where you can enjoy feasting, jousting and court jesters or a trip to the local market (held on Wednesdays and Sundays) or maybe just a quiet visit to a church, try the 18th Century Church of San Jaime. There is just so much to do in Benidorm it would take many visits to see even a fraction of what is on offer.
So this is Benidorm, fishing village done good!
Benidorm is situated on the coastline of the Northern Costa Blanca, Spain between Alicante and Valencia and can be reached via the N332 coast road, the AP-7 motorway and the CV70.
More Costa Blanca Resorts: Cabo Roig Costa Blanca South