Gay Benidorm

In the years since the 1960s this city has grown from a small village to a mega-resort of modern high-rise hotels hosting countless numbers of tourists, mostly from the UK, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. Said to be the birthplace of package tourism, the city made holidays with palm trees financially accessible to all. At the same time Benidorm was in the vanguard as Spain made it's dramatic cultural shift from the social conservatism of the Franco era. Many visitors who came stayed on, and today the British expat community alone comprises almost 8% of the permanent resident population. Spanish tourists come too, expecially the young crowd for the all-night dance club scene, and for a chance to spread their wings, away from tight-knit communities at home.

Unlike Sitges, another gay resort to the north where many places are seasonal, this is a year-round destination, with bargain rates to be found at many hotels during off-season months, and dozens of gay bars, saunas, shops and restaurants stay open. Most bars are small, clustered in the Old Town district between the city's two major stretches of beach. Here you're hardly aware of the big city ambience of surrounding towers, with narrow streets and tiny squares looking much like they did before the boom. Main pedestrian-only routes through the district are more commercial; lined with souvenir shops, pizza or burger joints and ice-cream vendors they look very much like any Atlantic Coast American beach town. Beach esplanades are lined with throngs of people at terrace tables watching the stream of passers-by over drinks.

Beyond Old Town and the main beaches there's lots more to do. In summertime there are water park romps, a wildlife park, scenic mountain villages to tour, dramatic waterfalls to escape the heat, and more beaches up and down the Costa Blanca - some pristine and naturalist. The big all-night discos aren't specifically gay, but no one minds, and Spanish men are generally very relaxed and sexually self-assured. In November the Festes Majors Patronals is a time for parades, parties, fireworks and bonfires. See the events tab above for more.

Pride events include a parade and parties in the clubs. See Gay Benidorm Pride for media coverage of past summers, and plans for September 2018. Benidorm Pink Weekend starts off the season in May, with a Old Town stage entertainment and special nights taking place around town in the bars.

 

Getting here

The Alicante Airport is the closest international connection. A taxi to Benidorm will cost around 80 euros, so you might consider pooling or taking the ALSA bus that departs on the hour between 8am and 5pm; and thereafter at 7, 9 and 11pm. The trip takes 45 minutes and costs 8 euros. Alternately you can take the Airport Bus C-6, 40 minutes to Alicante Central Bus Station, with departures to Benidorm every half hour between 6:30am and 10:30pm.

There is also light rail service to Benidorm, and from there connections to Altea, Calp, Teulada and and Denia. The station at Plaza Puerta del Mar in the harbor area, is the last stop on the C-6 Airport Bus. The tram takes you to El Campello, then an FGV train continues to Benidorm - a total of about 80 minutes, or two and a half hours to Calp. Don't go to the main RENFE station, there is no connection from there.

If arriving at Valencia Airport, the Metro/subway will take you to the Central Bus station, from which you can catch a bus/coach south to all the Costa Blanca towns - an all-day undertaking if you don't plan ahead.

The gay websites below have listings for transfer services to and from the airport - as do many of the hotels.

Car rentals are available at the airport, but parking is difficult around Old Town, so for day trips to surrounding areas a local Benidorm rental might be preferable. Reserve in advance, especially in season.

 

Getting around

Walking or short taxi hops will get you to most places easily enough in Benidorm. For more information on city and regional public transport, in English, see the Benidormist, BenidormGuide, Llorentebus, and VisitBenidorm websites.

As part of the Community of Valencia, street signs here are as often in Valencian (similar to Catalan in Barcelona or Sitges) as in Castillian Spanish; don't be confused seeing Plaça as well as Plaza, or Sant Pere along with San Pedro - they're the same places. We mostly use the Valencian names, and many business street signs are in English too. 

 

Neighborhoods

The gay village is in Old Town, or El Castell, a rocky promontory that breaks the beach into two sections: Ponent (Poniente) to the south, and Llevant (Levante) to the north. The gay bars are clustered mainly around Constitution Plaza and along the narrow streets between Dels Quatre Cantons lane and the Passeig de la Carretera walking street. Other gay places, such as the saunas and two cabarets not in the immediate area, aren't far away - a short walk or taxi ride. For information on local beaches click the activities tab above.

 

Media and resources

For online resources and updates in Englsh about what's going on in gay Benidorm see GayBenidorm, with a full listings guide to gay businesses. CostaBlancaSex has a guide to area nude beaches.

The Asociacion LGTB is a local gay alliance, with social activities and a website.

The Benidorm Tourist Information Offices and Benidormist websites have general information in English for area resources, getting around, and upcoming events. Visit Benidorm is an online tourist guide with all the mainstream area attractions, in ten languages.

For general information from a British perspective, the Costa News English-language tabloid has news from around the region. For our article on the largest city in the comunidad, see Valencia.

See our gay Benidorm listings tab for map locations, phone numbers, and website links of businesses listed below, and more.

 

Accommodations

Don Cesar (Plaça del Torrejo 1; 34 965-850-513 ), mid-range prices, studio and double apartments above gay end of Levante Beach, kitchens, terrace balconies, satellite TV, street-level terrace cafe/restaurant.

Hotel Centro Mar (Major 16; 34 965-854-343), modern, inexpensive Old Town rooms with sea views, WiFi, rooftop pool and bar close to the gay scene.

Hotel Irati (Condestable Zaragoza, 5; 34-965-849-607), basic, modern, ensuite double rooms in Old Town near gay bars; restaurant, bike and car rentals, WiFi.

Internacional Hotel Benidorm (Passeig de la Carretera, 40; 34-965-850-271), modern/central rooms near the gay scene, buffet restaurant, cafe/bar, WiFi, AC, TV.

La Santa Faz (Santa Faç 18; 34-965-854-063), Old Town adults-only rooms near gay bars and Elche Park; 24-hour reception, WiFi, private balconies, satellite TV, heat and AC.

Milord's Suites (Passeig de la Carretera, 52; 34 966-831-600), 28 apartments near beach and gay scene, 12 with beach view terraces, pool, cafe/bar and ice cream shop, WiFi.

The Queens Hotel (Plaça de la Constitució 5; 34 966-812-966), gay and mixed clientel, 40 en-suite single, twin, double and quadruple guest rooms, most with balcony, some with sea view; breakfast, lunch or brunch anytime during kitchen hours; roof and street-level terrace bars, cabaret bar.

Senabre Palais (Plaça del Torrejo 5; 34 965-857-565), seafront promenade at Levante Beach, air-conditioned self-catered apartments,  flat-screen TV,  free Wi-Fi, wood floors, living-dining room, kitchenette.

Sol Costablanca (Av Alcoi, s/n, Levante Beach; 34 965-855-450), adults-only rooms near gay scene, sea-views, swimming pool, dinner shows.

Villa Venecia Boutique Hotel (Plaça Sant Jaume 1; 34 902-165-454), 26 rooms, luxury five-star accommodations at the head of Old Town overlooking the sea, roof-top pool, spa/gym, terrace, concierge, fine restaurant.

See two dozen hotel and guesthouse listings at our Benidorm map & listings pages.

In Calp (Calpe), just beyond Altea to the north of Benidorm, Casa La Diferencia (Canuta de Ifach 45A; 34 965-832-786) is a 5-room gay guesthouse “home away from home” with swimming pool, Dutch hosts, good breakfasts, and bar.

 

Going out
With a large British and North European expat community and the many visitors here, Benidorm has more gay places to hang out during daylight hours than most Spanish cities, staying open through afternoon hours when Spanish businesses normally close, and happy hour crowds more like those found elsewhere in Europe. On the other hand there are plenty of places to party until 4am or later, on the more traditional local schedule.

Here you'll find the best of both worlds, various food options all day and late into the night to fit any agenda. Hearty British breakfasts and Sunday roasts, or light continental breakfasts, tapas, bocadillas, or Dutch meat balls might be found at pubs and hotel bars, complimenting a wide variety of full-service restaurants and fast food joints.  Bars, restaurants and dance clubs below are in and around the Old Town gay village, unless otherwise indicated. An indoor public smoking ban went into effect the first day of 2011, so head for a terrace bar if you need to puff.

 

Going out - early / all-day

Bar 69 (Plaça de la Constitució 4), gay terrace bar next to Queens at the center, friendly and relaxed staff, TV sports, mixed crowd.

Bar Domino (Martinez Oriola 15), restaurant/cafe/bar, games room, free WiFi internet access, British TV, mixed crowd, 11am to 5pm, and 9pm to 2am.

Café 23 (Santa Faç 23), friendly cafe/bar, snacks, wraps/sandwiches, meat pies, soups, English breakfast, lunch, Sunday specials; cocktails, coffees, dessert pies and puddings.

Caspers (Sant Miguel 6), breakfast to late night snacks, veggie-friendly gourmet snack foods, full bar happy hours 9pm-midnight, Thursday drag shows, big-screen music videos, British TV.

Loft (Sant Miguel 5), 9am-1am gay/mixed terrace bar and cafe, sandwiches, English breakfast, waffles, toasties, coffees, shakes, desserts.

Refuel Cafe (Sant Pere 10) terrace cafe/bar overlooking Eix Park, giant American-style sandwiches, baguettes, breakfast pastries, lunch, brunch, after-beach snacks, Indian curries and tandoori, drinks and refreshments.

Royal Queens (Plaça de la Constitució 5), hotel, cafe/bar, roof and street terrace, early bird and full dinner menus, all-day breakfast and pub grub from 8am, British favorites, cabaret shows.

Two Palms (de la Palma 30), daily specials, early bird menu from 4pm, open late; Sunday brunch.

 

Going out - evenings

Bar Code (d'Alacant 8), central gay bar, mixed crowd, good drinks prices. Also with Code Cafe (San Miguel 5).

Bar Mystique (Sant Vincent 17), 7pm-2am Dutch-owned gay music bar, tapas + snacks.

Brief Encounter (Santa Faç 21), 5pm-2am daily gay party bar, English/Spanish mix, mostly men, women welcome, videos.

Buddha Bar (Santa Faç 10), 7pm-2am gay music bar, 50 cocktails, beers/wines/champagne.

Company Bar (Sant Miguel 16), straight-friendly gay bar, sidewalk tables, camp videos, theme parties, bear gatherings.

Eagle Bar (Santa Faç 5), black and blue neon leather/uniform/rubber/skin head men & bears' late night bar, dark room, videos.

El Papagayo (Santa Faç 31), terrace bar, Dutch and international crowd, multi-lingual staff, conversation, music, wines, beers on tap.

Escape Bar (Alacant 18), gay bar, music + chill out area, theme parties.

Intimate Bar (de Palma 6), long-established Old Town gay pub and karaoke bar, mixed crowd, open 9pm to 2am.

Italian Twist (Sant Vicent 14), 7-11:30pm gay-owned Italian bar/bistro dining and drinks.

JJ's Private Bar & Sauna (Uruguay 4), weekdays bar nightly from 8pm, weekends from 6pm, older crowd, pool table; full sauna, dark room cruising, cabins, WiFi.

Kafee Klee (Pal 9), drag cabaret show bar, open from 8pm, no cover charge.

Kings Bar (Alacant 13), 8pm-2am gay lounge/music bar.

Molino Benidorm (Av Beniardá 2), Las Vegas-style drag show extravaganzas.

New Incognito (Uruguay 8, Las Lomas), gay showbar & cabaret, drag, dancing, karaoke, dark room, mature crowd.

O'Mara's (d'Alacant at dels Quatre Cantons), gay-friendly bar and cafe at center of the gay village, British food, roof terrace.

Paneil's (de Palma 12), contemporary British and Mediterranean restaurant, veggie options, dining from 7pm, traditional big British four-course meals Sundays from 3pm.

Rich Bitch (Pal 4), renowned local drag cabaret show bar, from 9pm.

Sensations (d'Alacant 41), friendly new bar and lounge, gay Dutch couple; black light parties, strippers, country/western nights.

Spirit (dels Quatre Cantons 9), gay bar at the center, next to Casa Don Juan, "everyone welcome," theme nights, snack foods.

 

Going out - late night bars

Bear's Bar (Santa Faç, 12), cruise bar for bears and big guys, Spanish and international men, 11pm to 4am.

XS Men's Bar Benidorm (Sant Vicent, 10), 10pm-4am men-only, fetish sports/ jocks/ underwearwear and naked.

People Bar (Santa Faç 29), 11pm-4:30am gay bar on two levels, dancing, dark room for men, inexpensive drinks.

 

Going out - dance clubs

KU, (Av de la Comunitat Valenciana), super club, mostly straight; occasional gay nights, include Super MartXé,  Matinée and WE circuit parties, as well as other special events.

Lovers Pub (Dels Quatre Cantons 3), hot staff, sexy videos, open nightly until after 4am, mixed crowd of all ages, busy dark cruise room.

Mercury (Alacant 10), gay dance club on ground floor, upstairs darkroom, Spanish and international mostly male crowd, all ages; busiest 2-4am.

Penelope (Av de la Comunitat Valenciana), another large, mostly straight disco with occasional gay party nights. Also with Penelope Beach Club (Avinguda Alcoi 10) on Levante Beach with 12 bars, swimming pool.

CLOSED: 7th Heaven (d'Alacant 18); Bananas (Sant Roc 12); Bar Siesta Fiesta (Sant Miguel 5); Dark Angel (d'Alacant 13); Destiny (Sant Vicent 17); Diva Divo (d'Alacant, 11); Dollyz n Trollyz (d'Alacant 18); Drift Bar (Santa Faç 5); Kuma (Uruguay 4); Look (Santa Faç 12); Mardi Gras (d'Alacant 12); Olivers (Plaça de la Constitució 7); Out Bar (Vincente 17); Peppermint (Sant Vicent 11).

 

Saunas

H2O Sauna (Tomas Ortuño 46), 2-10pm, in Clement Building, young international crowd, sauna and steam, Jacuzzi, video lounge, cafe/bar, massage, dark rooms.

JJ's Private Bar & Sauna (Uruguay 4), weekdays bar nightly from 8pm, weekends from 6pm, older crowd, pool table; full sauna, dark room cruising, cabins, WiFi.

 

Sex Shops & Services

Passion (La Parra 12), daily 10am to 1am, video salon, dark room, DVDs, oils, lubes, erotic accessories.

El Sofa/ Sex Cinema Benidorm (de la Parra 5), gay, bi and straight sex club, gay and straight porn movies, dark room, glory holes, sex shop DVDs, toys and accessories; come/go all day tickets, beer, wine, soft drinks. Men 18-30 get first four visits free.

Sex Shop Eurovisex/ Super Cinema X (Sant Roc 6), daily 10am to 1am, videos, magazines, toys and accessories, cabins, dark room.

- staff - August 2018