News in brief: Costa Blanca North

Benidorm’s Top Treks Image: Shutterstock/ Pe3k

Benidorm Trails

BENIDORM, known for its stunning beaches and vibrant nightlife, also has great options for hiking fans. Beyond the bustling nightlife lies plenty of trails that offer an immersive experience in nature.

One of the most beloved routes is the Sierra Helada Natural Park. This coastal trail provides breathtaking vistas of the Mediterranean Sea, with rugged cliffs and secluded coves dotting the landscape. As you trek through its winding paths, be prepared to encounter diverse flora and fauna unique to this region.

For a more challenging adventure, the Puig Campana awaits. Dominating the skyline, this majestic mountain offers panoramic views of Benidorm and beyond. The ascent may be steep, but the reward of reaching the summit is unparalleled.

If you prefer a leisurely stroll, the Serra Gelada Cross is ideal. This gentle route meanders through pine forests and aromatic shrubs, finishing in a tranquil cross overlooking the azure waters below.

Whether you seek adrenaline-pumping thrills or stunning strolls, Benidorm’s hiking trails promise an unforgettable journey.

Tourism trends

FROM January to April, the Valencia region saw a significant boost in tourism, welcoming 3,037,689 international visitors—a 22 per cent increase from last year. These tourists spent a total of €3,702 million, marking a 17.75 per cent rise compared to 2023.

In April alone, the region attracted 1,007,531 foreign tourists, up by 16.2 per cent from the same month last year, with spending reaching €1,114.76 million. This made Valencia region the fifth most visited region in April and the fourth most visited overall this year.

The average tourist expenditure was €1,219, with a daily spend of €127 and an average stay of 9.62 days. Nationally, Spain nearly hit 24 million international visitors by April, with the UK, Germany, and France leading the numbers. These trends highlight Spain’s continued appeal as a top global tourist destination.

Valencian Tourism Thrives Image: Shutterstock/ Martin Valigursky

Spot Fines

IN Costa Blanca, undercover police will patrol the streets, ready to issue fines to shoppers caught buying from unlicensed sellers. The illegal vendors, known as ‘manteros,’ or blanket sellers, sell items like trainers, sunglasses, and counterfeit ‘designer’ goods at tempting prices. However, those who fall for these bargains could face fines of up to €200.

This move is part of a broader effort to combat illegal street selling, which affects legitimate businesses. Recently, the Guardia Civil seized tonnes of counterfeit goods intended for these vendors. Local councils for towns along the Costa Blanca have called for increased police presence this summer to enforce the new rules.

In Costa del Sol, there’s a push for stricter penalties against those who buy from these unlicensed sellers. These vendors, selling trinkets and knock-offs to beachgoers, operate without licenses, impacting local shop owners, who claim significant losses due to this illegal trade.

Spain fines buyers of illegal goods Image: Shutterstock/ davide bonaldo

Hotel Bookings

THE Costa Blanca, is experiencing an increase in hotel reservations post-Easter, signalling a promising summer for tourism. Between May 13 and 19, destinations across Spain witnessed significant year-on-year growth, with the Valencian Community showing a 13.6 per cent increase compared to 2023.

The region ranks fifth in the country’s hotel reservation market share. Alicante province, a key player in the Costa Blanca, recorded a hotel occupancy of 78 per cent in April, outperforming previous years. Notable destinations like Benidorm and Elche saw substantial increases in occupancy rates.

The British market dominates international arrivals, holding 12 per cent along the Costa Blanca and nearly 46 per cent in Benidorm. However, as tourism flourishes, towns are dealing with balancing resident needs and increasing visitor numbers. Strategic planning, as advocated by Alicante’s mayor, is essential to manage growth effectively and sustainably.

Costa Blanca Hotels Image: Shutterstock/ Florin Cnejevici

Hogueras 2024

THE Alicante area came alive on Saturday, June 1, as the official opening ceremony for the Las Hogueras de San Juan 2024 festivities took place. The event, which marked the beginning of a week-long celebration of music, fire, and tradition, was filled with vibrant displays, heartfelt tributes, and a sense of excitement that set the stage for an unforgettable fiesta.

The evening began with a mascletà, a traditional firework display that filled the air with dazzling colours. The highlight of the ceremony was undoubtedly the Pregón, or opening speech, delivered by Sergio Gómez, a renowned artist and performer. Gómez’s speech was a blend of personal anecdotes, heartfelt remembrances, and passionate declarations of love for Alicante and its Hogueras traditions.

The Desfile del Pregón, a grand parade featuring all 89 Hogueras commissions, their respective barracas, and accompanying bands, added a visual spectacle to the festivities. The parade’s vibrant costumes, lively music, and infectious energy further amplified the atmosphere of the event.

As the night drew to a close, a spectacular display of fireworks illuminated the sky. The evening concluded with a grand verbena, or open-air dance party, where everyone danced the night away.

The opening ceremony of the Hogueras de San Juan 2024 set the stage for a week-long celebration that promises to be an unforgettable experience for all who participate.

Alicante ignites with a dazzling opening ceremony Image:

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Written by

Catherine McGeer

I am an Irish writer who has been living in Spain for the past twenty years. My writing centers around the Costa Cálida. As a mother I also write about family life on the coast of Spain and every now and then I try to break down the world of Spanish politics!