Benidorm, love it or hate it, it has been a popular resort for many years
Benidorm has been a popular tourist resort for decades. Spanish and English alike love the beaches, the sunny climate and SPAIN.
Here is a video clip of what Benidorm was like in the 50’s. A lot has changed since then, although the best bits still are here. Have a look and see what you remember…
Ed Wallop said
My parents took me and my two sisters on holiday to Benidorm in 1956. We drove by car all the way through France and then down the coast of Spain, through Villajoyosa and Castellon de la Plana, where we saw beggars on the steps of the Cathedral. Very few cars, hardly any tourists. Fishermen mending their nets on the beach. Early morning stillness and ravishing beauty. The smells and tastes of a world that has been buried under the gluttony of the tourist trade. We stayed in a hotel on the beach-front, maybe called Natalia; I looked for it in this little film, maybe saw it, not sure though. I would give up all I have to be able to go back to those days, to sit on that beach again as a five-year-old boy, looking at a precious and beautiful world that is simply no longer in existence.
It is thought there were settlements in the Benidorm area possibly as far back as 3000 BC, including evidence of Roman and Punic remains. However, settlements in the area were small. It was not until the arrival of the Moors that the local population began to grow during the era of the Umayad dynasty. The Christian King James I of Aragon reconquered the region in 1245 and Benidorm first officially became known in 1325. When Admiral Bernat de Sarrià of Polop awarded it a town charter as a way of removing the Moors and allowing Christians to inhabit the area. Strategically. The town was also used by Bernat de Sarrià to stop the rising power of Admiral Roger of Lauria, lord of Altea, in the south of the Kingdom of Valencia.
Benidorm’s history for the next few centuries was plagued by attacks from the sea by Ottoman and Barbary pirates. The 17th century saw conditions improve for Benidorm and its people. Most notably with the construction of an advanced irrigation system in 1666 to channel water to the region. By the 18th century Benidorm fishermen had become famous and sought after all over Spain and beyond. Tuna was their main catch and they perfected the ancient almadraba technique dating from Islamic times. The success of the fishing industry, together with improved local agriculture, helped to fuel a strong local economy. Coastal traffic increased too, bringing more wealth to the region with the town becoming a base for sea captains and the building of their vessels.
In 1952 Benidorm’s fishing industry went into decline; this was a factor in encouraging the town council to approve many new development plans aimed at the tourist market. Today the town is Europe’s and Spain’s biggest holiday resort and responsible for a significant chunk of Spain’s large tourist industry, with five million tourist arrivals per year