Postcard from... Benidorm


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The Independent Online

What is the first thing that springs to mind when you think of Benidorm on Spain’s Costa Blanca? Brits? Beer? The sight of people having had one too many?

The correct answer is: all of the above.

By the time I arrived at about 11am last Monday the party was already in full swing. One bar was full of drinkers singing along to a karaoke session. For those nursing a hangover from the night before, the cafes offering a full English breakfast were doing a roaring trade.

In short, it’s easy to be snobbish about Benidorm. But it does have its charm – you can, for example, tell pretty much from looking at people who they might be. Those in March wearing next to nothing are Brits and other northern Europeans on a stag weekend; those wearing a sweatshirt are the same nationalities who live here full time, and people donning an overcoat and scarf are the Spanish brave enough to negotiate the nightclubs, bars and greasy spoons so beloved by the tourists.

But there is also a happy co-existence in Benidorm – nobody seems to mind the blaring music or drunk teenagers, or those who occupy the best deckchairs from some ungodly hour in the morning.

Maybe Benidorm is a model that should be copied elsewhere, Or, maybe not.