Monday, 29 May 2017

Hola, Benidorm!

If you've ever heard of Benidorm (and you're British) the first thing that's probably jumped into your head is the classic TV show that airs on ITV, and, if we're being honest, doesn't give the best impression of the city. This is so true that Benidorm has never even crossed my mind as a place I'd like to visit. Rather, it's definitely somewhere I've considered avoiding due to its bad reputation.

So, when Ice Lolly got in contact and said they were on the hunt for some bloggers to showcase the 'alternative side of Benidorm' in collaboration with Visit Benidorm I was definitely intrigued. "What alternative side?" I thought. A quick glance at the itinerary and I knew we definitely weren't going to be doing Benidorm the traditional way. 

After a smooth, two and a half hour flight we landed in Alicante, to be promptly whisked off to our hotel to get freshened up. We were saying in the all-inclusive Sandos Monaco hotel, which was super lovely and only ten minutes from the beach. 

The lovely girls joining me on the trip were Brogan, Charlotte, Dannielle and Amanda who are all absolutely incredible and really made this adventure amazing (so make sure you give them all a follow if you don't already!). 

Our honorary tour guide, Sergio, took us to Poniente Beach, which is the lesser known of the main beaches in Benidorm. It actually reminded me of Palm Beach, which is definitely a good thing!

Of course, it didn't take me long to hunt down a beach hut that matched my outfit! 

We took a lunch break at Restaurant Ulia, which felt like a perfect place to begin our adventure. Serving up traditional Spanish food including deep fried calamari (yuuuum) and croquettes, alongside fresh warm bread and garlic aioli. 

We were also presented with a paella that would rival Borough Market's! The poor man was actually struggling to hold this. 

And we finished off with a delicious apple tart and vanilla ice cream. 

Co-ord - C/O Missy Empire | Bag - Oasis | Sunglasses - River Island

Positively bursting from lunch, Sergio drove us to a lookout point overlooking the curving Poniente Beach and I honestly felt like a character out of Assassin's Creed! Props to this bird for making my photo look epic. 

Off in the distance, we saw the tiny little Island of Benidorm, which reminded me a bit of Pride Rock, where we would be snorkelling the following day. 

The view from this location was so beautiful, and I'd highly recommend you head there if you can find someone to drive you up the long and winding hill to the very top.

Our afternoon activity was an electric bike tour with the company Tao. All of us were a bit nervy about riding these, considering we had actually no idea what to expect. But, oh my gosh, these were ridiculously fun. 

If you've never ridden an electric bike before, I would highly recommend it. Not only does the bike do most of the work for you (so you can basically relax as you go soaring up hills), but it goes so fast! 

We took our bikes up to the Sierra Helada Natural Park, a place that was so empty that it actually made me quite sad that so many people visiting Benidorm would never get to see it. 

The natural park winds around the cliff face, getting higher and higher until it's just you and the ocean to keep you company.

We cycled and cycled, taking in the fresh sea air and cool mountain breeze, and I honestly couldn't believe how lucky I was to be there. This was my first ever blogger press holiday abroad and it felt like my years of work on the blog were finally allowing me to achieve my dreams. 

Our final stop was to overlook the waves crashing against the stunning natural rock formations, before heading on back into town to return our bikes. 

But it wasn't before a little stop off at possibly my favourite spot in Benidorm...but more on that later. 

Our trip to Benidorm was provided complimentary by Ice Lolly and Visit Benidorm, but all opinions are my own.

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