Benidorm lies on the east coast of mainland Spain and is renowned for its wonderful weather, beautiful beaches and relatively appeasing cost of living. All of these make for perfect reasons to holiday there, but what makes it so appealing to live?
You might have heard about the expat communities that reside up and down the Costa Blanca but with 2020 taking an unexpected turn to say the least, we’ve recognised that the digital nomad community has grown too. Swapping the big city life for a relaxed way of life by the beach has never been more appealing. Why work in a bustling office space when you can work with the sea as your view?
1. Relaxation and Mental Health
Life is better by the sea. Did you know that the sea has healing effects? It is said that being by the sea and listening to the sea wave has relaxation and healing effects. Being able to wake up in the morning and see blue skies, the sun shining and the sea crashing against the beautiful beaches for over 300 days of the year is a massive appeal to stick around.
Many people who live in Benidorm report being in a better mental health state than before they made the move to Benidorm. There are thousands of people across Europe, and the world, who consider Benidorm their second home so why not make it your first home, if the opportunity arises?
2. A Good Sense of Community
Nobody ever leaves Benidorm without making friends. I guarantee you of that. You might think that coming to Benidorm alone means you’ll find yourself isolated, but that won’t be the case. In fact, I’m certain of it.
Benidorm has this unique sense of community where everybody belongs. There are more Benidorm community Facebook groups than most other places in the world and they’re all filled with thousands and thousands of Benidorm residents or Benidorm frequent travellers.
I’ve never been to somewhere that is so open to everybody as Benidorm on the whole is. Every day, we receive messages that people would love to meet us, or we see messages of people arranging to meet up when they come to Benidorm. We see people organising get togethers with friends they’ve met in Benidorm. You would not believe the amount of people who live in Benidorm who got in their car one day and just drove until they felt at home. Benidorm is home. Benidorm is a community.
The digital nomad community is still relatively small, but I can reassure you that you won’t feel alone in a place that has a community as strong and welcoming as this one.
3. Your Local Will Remember Your Order
Hey, I don’t know about you, but did you ever watch a film growing up where the main character lives in a metropolitan city and would walk into a cafe and the barista would shout from the back “you having your usual?” And ever wonder what that would feel like? I know I always did.
Maybe it’s just me, but back in my hometown, this would never in a million years happen. There is something special about walking into a café and being asked if you’re having your usual. When I feel like working from my local spanish cafeteria, they shout “Como siempre?”. And out comes my coffee, toast with tomatoes and cheese. I’ll go to the corner bar and they know I’m having cheese and tomatoes on toast.
Everything just feels so personal. I get to live out my main character in a movie getting her usual fantasy every single day.
4. Cost of Living
Now, this all depends where you’re coming from and where your main income is. I can’t get into the ins and outs of this because trust me if you’re planning to live here for good, you’ll need to make some financial adjustments and get in touch with a local gestor.
Also, if you’ve recently been working in Asia, then perhaps the cost of living is going to come at a shock to you. Living in Europe is pretty expensive.
But, I’m going to assume that you’re accustomed to European living. Spain is one of the cheapest places to live and holiday across Europe, and Benidorm is one of the cheapest places in Spain. It becomes an especially good cost of living if your income is from another country in Europe and you’re here for a few months, or your income is from another city in Spain, such as Madrid or Barcelona.
I can go out for dinner for less than 10 euros in some places. I can get a few plates of tapas in the afternoon with drinks in the famous old town for around 25 euros. (Remember tapas is with friends so this is usually between a few people). I can go out for a nice meal for around 20 euros. I can go out for extravagant meals for around 40 euros. My breakfast is usually around 3 euros, which includes a coffee.
Rent is slowly rising here in Benidorm with the appeal becoming stronger and stronger, but you can pick up apartments for around 300 euros a month for a studio or one bedroom apartment. Of course, the more desirable location, or the more space you want increases this. Some of the most desirable penthouses are around 1500 euros a month. A standard 2 bedroom with an outdoor space will set you back around 650 euros. (December 2020).
5. Plenty to Do in Benidorm
We do not do bored in Benidorm. Sorry, it’s just not in the Benidorm vocabulary. If you’re bored in Benidorm, then you’re going to leave the population shocked. There’s a reason people come back every single year, there’s a reason so many people live here and love it. We don’t get bored.
Having made the switch to live in Benidorm back in 2017, we are still finding news things to do and see. We still wander down a street and point out that we’ve never been down it before. There’s business ventures that open for tourism and locals all the time. Life just doesn’t get boring in Benidorm.
There’s a whole host of ideas of things to do when you finish work on my blog for further reading, but water sports, shows and theatre, cinemas, gastro experiences, nature trails and sightseeing are some of the highlights. Did I mention we have some of the most beautiful coves and beaches in Europe? Did I also mention that our marine life is one of the most flourishing across the entire Spanish east coast? Snorkelling or scuba diving at the island is a must do when you’re here.
6. Good Connections Elsewhere
This was a major pull factor for us. Being able to explore other places. One of my concerns when moving to Benidorm was giving up being so close to so many airports. Though looking back, I was silly. I was giving up knowing that London was a few hours away, and Birmingham and East Midlands were both close. But, what I was forgetting was that in England I had a car.
It took a while for us to get a car, but once we did it opened up so many further travel opportunities for us. Now, we have Alicante Airport which is a 40 minute drive away or you can get a bus relatively cheap. But we’ve opened up the possibility of flying from Madrid, Valencia and even Barcelona too. Not to mention we did an epic road trip back in the summer where we managed to visit 13 countries (all were open to Spanish tourists). Being already on Europe makes it so easy to visit other countries in Europe.
Now, don’t get me wrong here because you can absolutely travel without a car in Benidorm. The tram connects you to Alicante and Calpe meaning there are villages and cities to explore along the Costa Blanca. Alicante airport has good connections to many cities, plus the connection flight to Madrid is easy. Valencia is also easy by train from Alicante. We have good train connections from Alicante to other Spanish cities, plus our coaches are cheap and great to get to other places in Spain.
Before we had a car, we flew to Ibiza from Alicante, we flew to Madrid, we took a bus to Sevilla, Granada and Cordoba, we took a bus to Barcelona and we visited lots of Spanish villages by local tram or bus.
7. A Good Nightlife Scene
Nightlife doesn’t appeal to me in the slightest. Sorry, I just don’t see the pull to go to a sticky nightclub where my feet stick to the floor and hundreds of bodies are sweaty and drunken people are floating around in a daze. I get that it’s for some people, but it just doesn’t appeal to me.
So knowing this, people are always quick to ask us why on earth we chose to live on one of the party capitals of Europe. And it’s simple. We don’t see it.
People who visit Benidorm as a holiday maker tend to stick to the party area of Benidorm. I don’t say this to say every holiday maker is the same, because they aren’t, but most people who come to Benidorm come for the strip. That’s not to say lots don’t come not for the strip, but it’s actual facts and figures that most tourists travel to Benidorm and spend time in places on the main strip.
That area of Benidorm is not Benidorm. It is a part of Benidorm. There is a huge difference.
There are bars and restaurants that offer tribute acts and free entertainment. There are bistro bars that offer jazz nights or acoustic nights. There is an auditorium that offers theatre and shows. There is a bustling old town with great tapas and wine deals. Hotel Madeira Centro has a great rooftop bar with cocktails and sunset views. Karaoke and a cocktail or two. Quiz nights. This is my idea of perfect nightlife. And Benidorm has it all.
Benidorm has the option for both. If you’re a party lover, you’ll love the strip. If you like somewhere that isn’t dead once 7pm comes, then you’ll love Benidorm too.
8. Open Every Single Day
Benidorm is the city that never sleeps. Except during lockdown and the current curfew between midnight and 6am…
Something that is often asked is “Does Benidorm get dead in the winter?” And the short answer to that is no, not at all.
There are many coastal resorts or holiday towns that once winter comes, everywhere closes up and shuts shop. That is not the case at all for Benidorm. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Mid November or Mid July, the bars will be busy and the shops and restaurants will be doing business as normal.
It’s not a stereotype that Spain has a laid-back atmosphere. I love it early evening when the sun starts to go down and an array of colours bounce across the sky. We really are blessed to see a gorgeous sunrise and sunset for over 300 days a year.
It’s easy to get accustomed to eating when the locals eat and nibbling on some tapas early evening with a glass of wine. The sounds of the Spanish music filling the air and the broken conversations that get louder as the drinks flow are enough to make you never want to leave.
Whilst it’s easy to fall in love with Benidorm, it’s possibly more important for digital nomads to know that Benidorm has a thriving start-up scene and is becoming increasingly popular with remote workers. Whilst nowhere near a complete digital nomad destination yet, Benidorm is putting in the time and effort to get the facilities and amenities available. The internet connection is generally really good, we have fibre optic in the apartment and bars and restaurants on the whole offer a good free WiFi connection.
I’ve also spotted that a coworking space in Benidorm called Tourist Lab is available near to the Hotel Belroy (who offer deals for business travellers and longer term apartment stays). The co-working environment is a great option for setting up your laptop and getting to know the local digital nomads.
Of course, there’s always my favourite option and that is heading to a hip cafe, setting up my iPad, enjoying a nice bite to eat and a coffee and indulge in a less work-orientated atmosphere.
I am so privileged to have been able to make the switch to becoming a digital nomad in Benidorm and it’s one of the best life decisions I’ve made. I have a wonderful work-life balance and live in such a beautiful destination.
I’m very proud to be an Ambassador for Benidorm. Find out more about being a digital nomad in Benidorm by visiting the Visit Benidorm website for digital nomads.