One is rated as one of the world’s most chic and glamorous destination for beach bums and sun seekers. The other is renowned for being a tacky resort attracting hoards of Brits

A birds eye view of Benidorm
A birds eye view of Benidorm

who eat and drink too much and quickly turn a rather disturbing shade of lobster pink. But is there really that much between Rio de Janeiro and Benidorm? (just trust me on this one for now…)
One of the major criticisms of Benidorm over recent decades has been the abundance of high-rise blocks overlooking the undoubtedly attractive curved stretch of sand, as if they somehow detract from the ambience of the resort.
The packed beach of Benidorm
The packed beach of Benidorm

When taken for what it really is, however, the skyline is not dissimilar to that of Brazil’s primary seaside playground. Even the impressive Puig Campana mountain (at 1406m) that dwarfs the tallest of the hotels is reminiscent of Rio’s gneiss-granite mountains and the iconic Sugar Loaf itself.

Entertainment in Benidorm

While Rio can boast a fine array of samba shows and Bossa Nova bars, not to mention the exuberance of the annual Carnival, Benidorm has a cracking alternative cabaret scene where you can expect to find all sorts from drag acts to Abba tributes as well as some more risqué entertainment options.

The cabaret scene of Benidorm - usually free!
The cabaret scene of Benidorm – usually free!

Favourites include Rockerfellas, Valentines and Sinatra’s, which are all open till the early hours and packed with eager revellers throughout the summer season. To top it all, there is rarely a charge to watch the acts. So with the many promotions available on all manner of drinks alongside the free entertainment, you can have a top night out on even the tightest of budgets.
For those looking for a little excitement whilst on holiday, Benidorm beats Rio hands down. Okay the cable car up to Sugar Loaf can be a bit hairy on a windy day, but that’s nothing compared to some of the rides at the Terra Mítica Park, especially the Inferno, Titanide and Synkope – a disc that swings at 90 km/h 35 metres above the ground. Add to that the archetypal water park, Aqualandia, and there will be hours of fun for all ages for when you fancy getting away from the beaches.