9 family-friendly day trips from Benidorm
When you think of holidays to the Costa Blanca, your mind might head straight for Benidorm with its bustling beach and notorious nightlife, as well as the various theme, activity and water parks.
However, there's so much more to this glorious region of southeast Spain. Here, we share our pick of things to do away from Benidorm that are especially good for families, be it a day trip or an alternative place to stay during your summer break.
Holidays to the Costa Blanca: the many delights of the Costa Blanca are within easy reach thanks to direct flights to Alicante. TUI offers holidays to Benidorm and surrounding Costa Blanca resorts* year-round from both major and regional UK airports.
Altea sits just 10 km north of Benidorm and offers something completely different. It has an old seaside town feel about it, thanks in part to its lack of high rise resorts, unlike some of its neighbours.
Altea broadly has two main areas: the waterfront and the old town. The waterfront has a good array of restaurants and bars, which makes up for the pebble beach, which isn't for everyone but is popular with the locals. This area has been redeveloped in recent years making it a thoroughly pleasant place to hang out and soak up the sun.
Altea's old town is where it's at, however: think narrow cobbled streets and traditional white-washed houses. Its centre is the iconic blue and white tile-topped domed church of La Mare de Déu del Consol and pretty square with restaurants, cafés and ice cream parlours.
It's very easy to spend hours wandering here, window shopping, watching street artists and enjoying the picture-postcard views of the Mediterranean Sea. The walk up to the old town is steep, so take your time and enjoy the scenery.
Top tip: traffic can be heavy at certain times of the day, with essentially just a couple of roads in and out. Consider using the hourly trams between Benidorm and Altea, which take approximately 15 minutes.
If you're looking for a family-friendly beach, then Calpe is for you. The town is located around 23 km north of Benidorm and offers a slightly smaller scale holiday resort vibe.
The sandy beach is flat with shallow water, and usually small waves and a light current, making it ideal for toddlers and small children. There's plenty to do on the beach as well, with pedalos (the ultimate kind with slides) and inflatable playgrounds in the sea.
Alternatively, you can take a stroll along the waterfront nipping into the souvenir shops, simple snack bars and restaurants.
The Calpe skyline is dominated by the Peñón de Ifach, a limestone outcrop which, as a natural park, is home to a variety of rare plants, animals and birds.
The walk is challenging with a dark tunnel section through the rock and plenty of uphill clambering - something to consider, especially if you plan to tackle it with young children or in the high heat of summer.
Top tip: there's plenty of street parking and off-street car parks a short walk away from the beach in Calpe, but it does get busy in the summer, so go early or later in the day.
Located just 13 km south of Benidorm, Villajoyosa (aka La Vila Joiosa) couldn't be more different. Literally meaning 'Joyful Town', it's where you'll find my favourite beach in the region.
Running for 2 km, this sandy stretch is unspoilt and spacious, and rarely feels overcrowded. Colourful buildings hem the beachfront while remaining set back from the seafront and promenade, leaving a wide, open expanse to enjoy.
If you feel like exploring, the town centre offers some shade from the sun along with the Valor Chocolate Museum for those with a sweet tooth.
Although not as shallow and calm as Calpe, the sea often has good wave jumping opportunities. There's also a choice of activities including volleyball, football and places for watersports.
The weather in Costa Blanca: considering a break to this sun-drenched region of Spain? Find out more about the weather in the Costa Blanca and see when we think is the very best time to go to make the most of these day trip suggestions.
Situated between Altea and Benidorm, Albir has a mix of things to do from the usual fun on its pebble beach to a range of shops, bars and international, family-friendly restaurants.
Albir is more modern than Altea, however, the tree-lined streets and waterfront are still nice of an evening - even when the kids want to play crazy golf and loiter in the arcades.
5. Algar Waterfalls
The Algar Waterfalls, known locally as Les Fonts de l'Algar, is a popular spot with local daytrippers and visitors alike. It's located inland, about 25 km from Benidorm just outside the sleepy town of Callosa.
Visitors can walk the 1.5 km circuit to see spectacular waterfalls, explore caves, take a refreshing swim and, for the brave, the odd place to practise your cliff jumping. Be warned, the water is bracing even in the summer.
Taking the kids? I would recommend swimming shoes. Also, there are designated picnic areas so remember to pack some supplies. You'll find snack bars and restaurants close by if you prefer.
Top tip: get there early if you can, as it gets very busy in summer. If you're driving, head all the way up the hill and park in the last car park on the left. It's cheaper than most and next to the top entrance to the waterfalls.
Another hidden gem is the coastline near Javea, approximately 55 km north of Benidorm. Javea (or Xàbia in Valencian) is your typical Spanish coastal town with a port, old town and beachfront to discover.
The Playa del Arenal is a popular beach located to the south of the town centre. The sandy beach has plenty of space with lots of amenities when you need a break from the sun, sea and sand.
Further south is Cala Blanca, or 'White Bay', which is mainly rocky. It's the ideal place for snorkelling, made up of three coves and beloved by locals.
Top tip: the rocky coastline is best conquered with swimming shoes as it's easy to cut your feet or step on a sea urchin. There are also places for some serious jumping in.
7. El Castell de Guadalest
El Castell de Guadalest is an easy excursion from Benidorm. This small scenic town is located on a rocky ridge about 22 km inland from Benidorm.
With its Moorish history, there's lots to see on foot with a collection of museums, shops and eateries. Visiting the Museum Casa Orduña gives you access to the old town, Alcozaiba Fortress and Castle of San José plus sweeping views of the Guadalest Reservoir.
The coastal town of Denia attracts visitors looking for that unspoilt location with a bit of history, and here you can find signs of Iberian, Greek, Roman, Islamic, Napoleonic and Christian civilisations.
In particular, Castillo de Denia, dating from the 11th-century, sits on a hilltop in the centre of Denia. It's a great place to wander with views of the port and surrounding Costa Blanca coastline.
Moraira is another interesting spot with its Castillo de Moraira dominating the waterfront. There are lots of restaurants to try, and you can hitch a ride along the front on the tourist train.
For a rewarding hike, climb the nearby headland of Cap d'Or. Make for the 16th-century Torre del Cap d'Or, a defensive watchtower strategically placed with splendid views up and down the rugged coastline.
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