Benidorm has an extremely legitimate claim to being called the jewel of the south-western Spanish coast, and this city of high-rise buildings and hedonistic cabaret shows that is sometimes lovingly referred to as "BeniYork" offers oodles of unforgettable outings to tourists both young and old.
Whether it's equestrian extravaganzas, beautiful botanic gardens filled with florescent flowers or a trio of blue flag beaches - Levante, Malpas and Poniente - Benidorm literally has something for everyone, and the only problem that a visitor will encounter when exploring this fabled city is answering the question of which sightseeing tours to go on first. The most popular of the Benidorm attractions include the picturesque local markets - where tourists can buy anything from an apple to a zucchini - the sheer diversity of adventure sporting activities the likes of jeep safaris and mountain climbing and the fun-filled local festivals like the Benidorm International Song Festival where the winner walks away with the coveted Golden Mermaid Trophy.
One of the most opulent, elegant and upscale of all Benidorm attractions must, however, surely be the sparkling Benidorm Palace: the nightclub where dancing till dawn is not only allowed but is almost mandatory. Billed as a "showtime not to be missed", the Benidorm Palace floorshow with its high-kicking ladies clad in their almost obligatory sequined dresses, its internationally famous artistes and its five-star dinners crammed with culinary delights and captivating cocktails invite guests to forget their troubles and get happy. Catering to large parties is, furthermore, one of the Benidorm Palace's specialties, and the Palace opens its doors every Tuesday and Thursday through Saturday night, with extra performances being added during the steaming summer months.
No sightseeing tours of Benidorm would be complete without visiting one or more of the city's marvelous theme parks, and tourists can choose between such awesome amusement zones as the wave-filled Acqualandia and the intriguingly named Mundomar, where lemurs and sea lions live peacefully side by side. Anyone who worships watersports will simply adore Acqualandia, where boat trips on the Amazon River meet the watery terror of the bottomless Black Hole, and Mundomar is perhaps the only place on earth where dreams of dancing with dolphins, flirting with flamingos and partying with penguins can become a reality. Tours of Terra Natura, where visitors are treated to the wonders of wildlife native to the Americas, Asia, Europe and even Pangea, are also a must, and every sense will be excited in this most diverse of Benidorm theme parks where attractions range from Mayan pole flying and zoo immersion to flavorful foreign foods and uniquely crafted souvenirs. It is, however, the appropriately named Terra Mitica - Mythical Land - that is the most intriguing of all Benidorm's theme parks, and guests can explore the lands of ancient Iberia, Greece and Rome while clinging to each other for dear life on hair-raising rides with exotic names like Magnus Colossus, Tizona and Triton's Fury.
Theme parks aside, Benidorm attractions include the extreme, the adventurous and the exhilarating, and the underwater catamaran tours, which could be described as sub-aquatic boat trips, are most definitely one of the latter. Not only do tourists get to enjoy the spectacular surface scenery while on their way over the waves to nearby Benidorm Island, they are also introduced to the denizens of the deep while exploring the catamaran's belowdecks area. Once on Benidorm Island, however, it is the birdwatchers who will be most in their element, and they will be kept thoroughly entertained by the antics of the local peacock colony. Although the underwater catamaran ride to Benidorm Island may be the most unusual of the boat trips the city has to offer, it is certainly not the only one, and tourists will also be entranced by the leisurely sail to nearby Calpe - famous in its own right for being home to the ruins of the royal baths known as Los baños de la Reina - and the gorgeous Bay of Altea.
Further must-do Benidorm sightseeing includes driving through one - or both - of the city's well-stocked wildlife preserves, the Aitana and the Vergel safari parks, and, here, while ogling the ostriches and leering at the leopards, visitors will get to experience a little piece of Africa in Europe. Also highly recommended are tours of Cactuslandia - no doubt the desert-dry antithesis of water-logged Acqualandia - and a favorite pastime is to try to identify the 1,000 different species of cactus that have been planted in this large private park. Once the delights of the day are done, however, is when Benidorm really comes into its own as the city plays host to the best nightclubs, bars and floorshows in all of Spain, if not all of Europe. From late night until dawn, the 18-through-30 set can be found partying it up in such exhilarating places as Chaplin's, Penelope and the Hippodrome and may only condescend to take a breath if it is to catch a show at Valentine's, Morgan's Tavern, The Town and, of course, the grand-daddy of them all: the Benidorm Palace.
Benidorm attractions run the full gamut from coach trips to the awe-inspiring Canelobre Caves and Algar Waterfalls and rounds of golf at the 6,612m long, Jack Nicklaus designed and par 72 Real de Faula championship golf course, and it is safe to say that, in Benidorm, the tourist's job of sightseeing is never done.