Day trip from Alicante to Benidorm, Wine Tour and Altea
There are plenty of places to visit around Costa Blanca region. Benidorm is located in the province of Alicante, one hour north on Mediterranean cost. Benidorm has most skyscrapers in Spain, therefore called as Spanish Manhattan. It has the most high-rise buildings per capita. It has been a tourist destination within Spain since 1925, when its port was extended and the first hotels were built. Perhaps, the real “boom” of Benidorm as a coastal resort did not happen until the 1950s, when it became a famous summer destination. Today there are more foreign tourists than Spanish tourists.
From Alicante, you can rent a car and drive to Benidorm either from highway (E15) or from national road N-332 with a scenic view. Tram is an option from Alicante, takes only 1 hour and 15 minutes. The view from tram is really good and you will pass though Muchavista, beaches and El Campello.
The city beach at Benidorm is quite busy in his season, there are thousands of sun beds. It is sandy and slopes gently to sea. At the promade road next to beach, there are sport bars and cafes. Very lively !
Walking through the beach road, you will reach old town. The Old Town is the most traditionally authentic Spanish area of Benidorm. A maze of narrow streets “ramblas” with lovely bars, cafes, and shops. There are some superb boutique hotels and some quality restaurants with verandas overlooking the sea.
Balcón del Mediterráneo, located in the old town, this place divides the two beaches – Levante and Poniente beach. One is the foreign tourists beach and the other is more local Spanish tourists. This is a good view point, especially at sunrise and sunset.
It is also called The Castle viewpoint: the fortress built to defend the people from the Algerian pirates raids during the XIV, XV and XVI Centuries. Afterwards the castle was abandoned and today visitors may only see the remains of the walls on the rocks of the viewpoint.
There are amusement parks at Benidorm such as Terra Mitica , Aqualandia and Mundomar park.
In the day trip, you can also visit one “Bodega” close to Benidorm for wine tour and wine tasting. Enrique Mendoza is just 10-15 minutes driving from Benidorm.
The Mendoza family has been making quality wines in Alicante since the eighties. This is a tradition that when the son is born, father gives the vineyard as gift to the new born baby. The Mendozas were among the first viticultors in Spain to work with Syrah, but they also planted Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Petit Verdot. They only allowed for one local variety – the sweet Muscats that are so typical from La Marina coastal area. The aging cellar is located in Alfàs del Pi, just six kilometres north of touristy Benidorm. Vinification is carried out at Finca Chaconero in Villena, a one-hour drive further inland, where the vineyards are planted.
The wine is aged for 13 months in barrels of French and American oak.
I saved the best place for the last: ALTEA
Altea is only 15 minutes from Benidorm. I strongly recommend to visit Altea, it is really a must. (By tram, by taxi or by rental car)
Altea has a population of 20,000 but in the summer tourist season this swells to 50,000. The name Altea comes from the Greek: Altahia (I heal) and from the river Algar (the river of the health).
Altea prospered due to it’s strategic importance because the city lies in the vicinity of the mouth of the river Algar. Altea harbour was perfect for supplying the sailors and fisherman with fresh drinking water.
Under the Greek and Roman leaderships, the region became an important trade centre. Many factories sprung up producing dried salt fish.
The production was also improved by the Arabians however Altea was hit badly at the beginning of the 17th century due to attacks by pirates, what led to a dramatic decline of the population numbers and the guns to fight the pirates off are displayed in the town.
Sights and Attractions
Altea is famous for the landmark church of Nuestra Senora del Consuelo or Virgen del Consuelo with its fantastic looking blue roof. This is set up on a hill and can be seen for miles around.
The old town part of Altea is set on a steep hillside and the streets are littered with small designer shops and is popular with artists.
Amongst the narrow streets with their scenic white houses, orange trees and geraniums you’ll find painters, potters and many other traditional craftsmen’s studios.
There is a real authentic Spanish feel to Altea town, often missing from others on the coast.
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