is Costa Blanca’s major tourist resort with the capacity to cope adequately with over 500,000 tourists over the peak-season
As for the
history of Benidorm;
at the Tossal de la Cala, in Poniente, the remains of an Iberian settlement provide evidence of an ancestral past linked
with fishing in the town.
A head of the Phoenecian goddess, Tanith, in the MARQ [Alicante’s Provincial Archaeological Museum] places it with Phoenecia
and Carthage. A Roman villa, at El Moralet, places it with the period of Romanisation.
And the name, Benidorm – apparently from the distant Yemen – in Sharq al-Andalus. But Benidorm does not appear in the
Llibre del Repartiment (1237) of Jaume I; but Lliriets does, today a rural district.
And after the 14th century; you may see the chronological events that has big affect on the history of Benidorm.
1325: Benidorm receives its town charter or Carta Pobla, a founding charter, from Bernat de Sarriá. It is
dedicated to fishing and to a lesser extent some agriculture. Coastal pressure from pirates leads to depopulation
and only fishermen’s huts remain on its beaches, as they turned to the island setting.
1666: Beatriz Fajardo sets up the Rec Major de l’Alfàs (of Benidorm) and grants a new Carta Pobla. The irrigation
1740: discovery of the Patron Saint, the Virgin of the Suffrage, and the start of a boom, described towards the end
of the century by the botanist Cavanilles.
1812: Benidorm is occupied by the French. They grant it the title City of the Emperor. The English storm the Castle.
After the War of Independence another boom time is experienced, based on coastal shipping. Benidorms seamen get
letters of marque and create a coastguard service.
1850: Pascual Madoz, in his Geographic Historic Statistical Dictionary gives an account of Benidorm’s mild climate
and its emerging vocation as a tourist resort.
1865: the Hostal La Mayora opens, first permanent tourist establishment.
1870: the Balneario Virgen del Sufragio is opened, first bathing house.
1880: the highway joining Alicante with Valencia arrives… and the first documented tourist advertisement, that of the
Balneario Baños del Mar Virgen del Sufragio de Francisco Ronda y Galindo, inviting people to come to Benidorm for the
summer. People from Alcoy and from Madrid go to the city. The “trenes botijo” [so-called because they were crowded
with people all bringing their own “botijo” – a traditional earthenware bottle with a drinking spout – to survive
the long hot journey] of the MZA railway company, bring the first summer visitors to Alicante and from there - and
from Alcoy – in horse-drawn carriages to Benidorm.
1920: first overbooking. The Hostal “La Mayora”, the Hostal “La Plaza” and the boarding house “Casa de Baños” hang
up the first “full” sign.
1927: the iconic balustrade is installed at the Castle’s vantage point.
1936: the local Tourist Board is created, to be called the “Pro-Beach Committee” after the conflict. In the ’50s it
would be known as the “Gabriel Miró” Friends of Benidorm Association, for the promotion of tourism. It came up with
the first idea for the first General Plan.
1956: the work of the mayor Pedro Zaragoza Orts succeeds in getting approval of Spain’s first General Urban Development
Plan for an entire town: the Benidorm of today, high-rise Benidorm.
1959: the first tourists arrive – Swedish and British – through the Tour Operators (Wings & BEA) at Manises airport (Valencia).
1967: Alicante airport “El Altet” is opened, a tourist revolution for Benidorm. Europe is closer.
1975: the A-7 highway is opened and Benidorm is perfectly connected with the rest of Europe.
The mass arrivals begin, of French, Germans, Danes, Belgians, Swiss, Dutch and British.