Travel: Sports and active tourism in Benidorm
Whilst Benidorm is synonymous with sun, sand and sea, it might come as a surprise to know that it’s also a growing gay destination for sport leisure breaks. Sheltered by the Sierra Cortina and offering crystal clear waters, the year round mild climate makes it ideal for a wide range of land and watersports with activities to suit all budgets and interests, for families, couples, more leisurely guests or the thrill-seeking adrenalin-junkie!
Of course, the Costa Blanca is renowned for its golf courses and there are three just minutes from the town, including a superb Jack Niklaus-designed PGA golf course with the choice of another 7 excellent courses all within easy reach.
The quieter golden sands of Poniente beach and its attractive new waterfront promenade not only attracts families and sunworshippers but joggers, serious runners, dog walkers, cyclists and roller blade fans along the wide sweep of the bay with a floating swimming platform in summer. The other Blue Flag beach, Levante, is more than 2 kilometres long with full beach facilities, including beach volleyball and bathing facilities for the disabled. As well as all the usual beach watersports, this is where you will find a unique cable ski (a great introduction to waterskiing) and wakeboarding, jet skis, canoes and kayaks too, as well as the excellent facilities and sailing experiences at Club Nautico.
A 20 minute boat ride from the Marina below the old town of Benidorm brings you to Benidorm Island and its marine reserve, one of several renowned sites in the region where scuba-diving enthusiasts from all over Europe appreciate
the unique marine life, easily visible around the cliffs.
If you don’t want to go as far as donning a wetsuit, the boat trip is a pleasant half-day out and costs just €14 Euros return which includes viewing the marine life from a glass-bottomed boat. The island has a few good walking paths for viewing birds and wildlife or a swim off the rocks and there’s a small café to enjoy a cold beer and tapas while you soak up the breathtaking views of Benidorm across the bay. See more on the resorts’ range of watersports facilities at the Visit Benidorm website.
If you prefer your sport on terra firma, you’re literally spoilt for choice: the recently built Sports Pavilion offers excellent facilities and a wide range of sports including rugby, football, athletics and ‘paddle, tennis, squash and much more, as well as several local private clubs. There’s an excellent public transport service of buses and taxis to help you get to explore the surroundings too. On the outskirts of the resort you can enjoy all sorts of leisure activities from go-karting to paintball and the excellent riding at Benidorm Horse Riding Club. Just above the resort there is a new network of excellent walking and cyclepaths designed to encourage locals and visitors alike to appreciate the freedom, fresh air and wonderful coastal views you can enjoy just minutes from the centre of the resort.
Leisurely hikers and serious climbers will enjoy stunning landscapes of the Sierra Helada, Valencia’s first national park reserve, with a choice of routes and levels of difficulty.
With the perfect combination of the glorious Mediterranean / Mountain setting of the Marina Baixa region, Benidorm is one of Spain’s most popular cycling regions and is host to a number of important competitions, including stages of the Tour of Valencia. There are routes to suit all abilities from a gentle ride along the seafront to hard-core mountain biking. The resort operates ‘Bicidorm’ (a Boris–bike type scheme) with pickup points around the resort promoting sustainable travel. Several companies and specialist sports tourism operators in the resort, such as Marco Polo Expeditions, offer mountain bike hire and a range of other services too: half-full day walking, hiking tours, mountaineering, canyoning, parascending, paragliding, guided jeep safaris and more.
Just 15 minutes from the bustle of the town are the lush, secluded valleys of the Sierra Cortina and Puig Campana, the highest peak in the range, where you can immerse yourself in nature and spectacular mountain landscapes with guides with expert local knowledge who tailor-make the tours to suit small groups and individual abilities, so it can be as daring or sedate as you wish!
See more at the Visit Benidorm website for a full list of the resorts’ sports facilities and major sporting events & festivals throughout the year.
Just 45 kms from Alicante airport and 140 kms km from Valencia, both are served by major tour operators and low-cost flights from most UK airports.
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