If you’re considering moving to Spain, you almost certainly know of Benidorm. But maybe the legend outweighs some of the facts!
This trendy tourist destination is one of the most popular locations for expats in Spain to call home, and there are some excellent reasons why.
With its beautiful beaches, warm climate, and affordable cost of living, it’s easy to see why so many people choose to live in Benidorm.
One of the big attractions of being an expat in Benidorm is the welcoming community of people from all over the world. Making new friendships and enjoying an active social life is very easy in Benidorm.
The city has a large expat population, with more than 3,400 British expats, so you’ll have no problems finding fellow English speakers.
Benidorm has something to offer everyone, whether you’re retired, working remotely, or looking for a new adventure.
From its lively nightlife to its laid-back beach culture, there’s never a dull moment living in Benidorm.
Why choose Benidorm
If you are deciding where to live in Spain, Benidorm is a great choice.
Benidorm has some benefits that make it stand out; located on the Costa Blanca, known for its sandy beaches, sunny weather, and stunning mountain views.
Benidorm’s most significant advantage over other locations on the Costa Blanca is that it has things going on throughout the year. Other Costa Blanca towns are more seasonal and can be very quiet out of season.
Here are some other reasons why you may want to consider living in Benidorm:
Benidorm is famous for its beautiful beaches. With over 5km of coastline, you can choose from two main beaches: Levante and Poniente.
Levante Beach is the busiest and most famous beach, while Poniente is quieter and more relaxed. Both have plenty of amenities, including restaurants, bars, and shops.
Benidorm enjoys a Mediterranean climate, with some of the highest average temperatures in the Mediterranean region.
Its favored location on the east coast of Spain provides a sheltered environment perfect for soaking up the sun.
The average temperature in summer is around 30°C, while winter rarely drops below 10°C. Most of the rainfall happens in winter. January is the wettest month, with about 12 days of rain.
Benidorm has some spectacular mountains. The Puig Campana reaches over 1400 meters and is the most famous and striking landmark in the area, visible from all corners of the Costa Blanca.
You’ll live with stunning views and plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities. You can go hiking, mountain biking, or picnic in the hills. If you love nature, Benidorm is the perfect place to live.
Benidorm is located on the Costa Blanca, one of Spain’s most popular areas for expats, especially retirees.
If you’re British, you’ll love the ease of access from the UK. The Costa Blanca offers just about the fastest way for Brits to escape grey skies and wet weather.
The region is known for its beautiful beaches, charming towns, nature, and delicious food. Expat communities throughout the region are well established, with clubs offering all activities, including golf, bowls, walking, cycling, tennis, and watersports.
As an expat in Benidorm, you will be ideally located to explore the rest of the Costa Blanca and discover all it has to offer.
For more information, read our guide, Living On The Costa Blanca In the Alicante Province.
The expat community
If you’re considering living in Benidorm, the well-established expat community, there can be a great help as you settle in your new country.
The expat community is a tight-knit group, and many groups and organizations cater specifically to the community. Various groups support and assist new expats and offer a way to meet other expats and make new friends. The Benidorm Forum is an excellent place to start.
Being part of a well-established expat community means you’ll be able to enjoy the many events and activities organized throughout the year. The events provide a perfect opportunity to socialize and make new friends.
Being in a location with a large expat community can be comforting, as it provides a sense of familiarity and makes it easier to adjust to life in a new country.
However, moving beyond tight-knit communities of expats with the same nationality as you can really broaden your social life.
Why move abroad to spend all your time with the same people you did back home?
To make the most of your new country, you really should immerse yourself in the Spanish culture and enjoy friendships with expats of all nationalities who call Benidorm home.
Overall, the expat community in Benidorm is a broad and supportive group. Whether you’re looking for social events, support, or a friendly face, you’ll find it in Benidorm.
Residential areas and properties in Benidorm
If you’re planning to live in Benidorm, the good news is you’ll have plenty of residential areas and property options.
Whether you want to rent or buy, plenty of apartments, flats, and townhouses are available.
One of the most popular areas for expats is the Playa de Levante Beach area. The area is known for its lively atmosphere, with plenty of bars, restaurants, and shops.
The area is home to some of Benidorm’s most modern and luxurious apartments, with prices for the most exclusive apartments above 1 million euros. Simple one-bedroom apartments start at around €80,000.
Levente is well worth considering if you dream of owning a beachfront property.
If you’re looking for a quieter area, the Poniente Beach area may be more your style. Known for its long 3km sandy beach, ideal for strolling along while enjoying stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea.
Poniente has a more relaxed vibe than Levente. The beach has a modern promenade designed by the highly regarded Spanish architect Carlos Ferrater.
There’s a perfect mix of restaurants, bars, and clubs to enjoy.
There is a good range of properties available in this area, from modern apartments to traditional townhouses.
Like Levente, you can expect to pay more than 1 million euros for high-end apartments and homes. Studio apartments start at around €100,000.
Benidorm’s property range is extensive. There’s something for every budget, from small apartments that you can purchase for around €40,000 to incredible luxury villas at over 5 million Euros.
Don’t ever rush into buying a property. It’s essential to do your research and work with a reputable real estate agent to find the right property and to understand additional charges you may have to pay both during and after moving in. Our guide to Buying A Property In Spain is a perfect place to start.
If you’re not ready to buy a property, renting is a great option. You’ll find plenty of apartments and flats available for rent in Benidorm, ranging from small studios to large, luxurious apartments.
If keeping rental costs down is essential, you can find nice one or two-bed apartments around 50-60 square meters for around €650 monthly.
For more comfortable larger apartments in the nicer areas, expect to pay €1500 monthly and upward.
House rentals start at around €2000 monthly, with luxury homes at over €10,000.
To know how the rental market operates in Spain, read our guide on Renting In Spain.
Overall, there’s something for everyone and every budget. Just be sure to research and work with a reputable real estate agent who will help you understand the market and the areas that best fit your needs.
Cost of living in Benidorm
If you plan to move to Benidorm as an expat, you need a good idea of your living expenses. The cost of living in Benidorm is lower than in some of the other popular locations in Spain for expats.
While it is more affordable, don’t expect it to be massively cheaper than your home nation; make some comparisons of essentials like utilities and weekly shopping before you go so that you can plan your budget accordingly.
Planning your budget
Benidorm is home to everyone from retirees on relatively small pensions to millionaire business tycoons. Your budget will depend on your lifestyle and the type of accommodation you choose.
If you have a tight budget, you should allow €650 per month for a small rental apartment. Utilities such as electricity, heating, water, garbage collection, and internet will cost you around €180 per month.
Minimum cost of living
Using resources like Numbeo and our knowledge of property prices and other living costs, we estimate that a single person’s minimum monthly cost of living is around €1,250.
This includes accommodation, food, transportation, and other expenses. Of course, some will manage with less; we’re assuming you’re moving abroad for a certain quality of life.
These are only estimates based on a few data points, which is quite frugal. You know more about the lifestyle you want. If golf club membership and regular evenings at fine restaurants are mandatory, you’ll need to budget accordingly.
Navigating the language barrier
As an expat living in Benidorm, the good news is you’ll probably never be more than a few feet away from someone who can speak English.
However, you may still encounter some language barriers, especially concerning the bureaucracy of living in Spain. There are several ways to navigate this challenge and make your daily life easier.
Learning Spanish is the most effective way to end the language barrier in Benidorm.
If you’re planning to live in Spain for some time, you should try to learn Spanish; it will open up a whole new world of communication and fun.
You can take Spanish classes at a language school, hire a private tutor, or use language learning apps like Duolingo or Babbel.
Use translation apps
Translation apps like Google Translate or iTranslate can be invaluable in a difficult situation.
The learning curve is relatively painless, and you can translate text, voice, and even images, making navigating menus, signs, and other written materials much more accessible.
Remember that these apps are not always precise, so it’s always best to double-check the translation before you punch the waiter.
Join language exchange groups
Joining a language exchange group is a great way to practice your Spanish skills and meet new people.
Immersing yourself in the Spanish language and culture is another effective way to improve your language skills.
You can watch Spanish T.V. shows, listen to Spanish music, and read Spanish books or newspapers. Get Spanish people to talk to you in Spanish, even if it is slow and painful. This will help you learn Spanish at a much faster rate.
Find a friend
It’s a bit of a cop-out, but in the beginning, having a friend who speaks Spanish can be invaluable.
Experiencing the local culture
Living in Benidorm as an expat sets you up perfectly to experience and enjoy the Spanish lifestyle and culture. The locals are welcoming and friendly, making integrating into the community and learning about their traditions easy.
One of the easiest ways to experience the local culture is by attending the many festivals and events throughout the year.
The most famous is the Benidorm Fallas festival, a traditional celebration commemorating San José (Saint Joseph) in the Valencian Community.
The festival takes place between the 15th and 19th of March every year; you’ll see plenty of locals dressed in traditional costumes and giant sculptures that are built and then burned in the streets.
Other festivals include the Moors and Christians Festival in April and the Benidorm International Song Festival in July.
There are many other cultural sights to enjoy, such as visiting museums and art galleries.
And, of course, Spanish culture is famous for its delicious cuisine. What better way could there be to absorb Spanish culture at its best?
You can try traditional dishes such as paella, tortilla española, and churros con chocolate at local restaurants and tapas bars.
Another cultural event that quite a few locals still enjoy is the afternoon siesta. You will be doing yourself a disservice if you don’t opt for this excellent cultural opportunity to relax and experience the laid-back Spanish lifestyle.
Food and dining in Benidorm
If you’re an expat living in Benidorm, you’ll be happy to know that the city is home to diverse food options. From Spanish cuisine to international dishes, you’ll find something to suit your taste buds.
Spanish cuisine is known for its use of fresh ingredients and bold flavors. Some must-try Spanish dishes include paella, gazpacho, and tortilla española. You can find these dishes at many local restaurants and cafes. Here are a few to get you started La Mejillonera and Taberna Andaluza Benidorm.
In addition to Spanish cuisine, Benidorm also has a thriving international food scene.
You can find Italian, Chinese, Indian, and Mexican restaurants. If you’re in the mood for pizza or pasta, head to one of the many Italian restaurants in the city.
Leisure and entertainment
Living in Benidorm offers a wide range of leisure and entertainment options to suit any preference.
There’s always something to do, from bars and nightlife to golf courses and hiking.
If you enjoy a good night out, Benidorm has a thriving bar and club scene that caters to all tastes. You’ll find it all here whether you prefer a quiet drink in a cozy pub or a night of dancing in a lively club. The city is known for its party atmosphere, particularly during the summer when tourists flock there.
If you’re a golf enthusiast, you’ll be pleased to know that Benidorm has several excellent golf courses. These courses offer stunning views and challenging holes, making them a great way to spend a day in the sun. Some popular courses include Villaitana Golf and Las Rejas Golf.
If you love to explore the great outdoors, Benidorm offers plenty of hiking opportunities. The city is surrounded by mountains and natural parks, providing stunning vistas and a chance to exercise.
One of the most popular hiking routes is the Sierra Helada Natural Park, which offers breathtaking coastline views.
Safety and security
As an expat in Benidorm, you may be concerned about safety and security. While Benidorm is generally a safe place to live, taking precautions to protect yourself and your belongings is still essential.
Crime in Benidorm
Like any city, Benidorm has its share of crime. However, most crimes in Benidorm are non-violent, such as pickpocketing, theft, and fraud.
Despite some scaremongering online, Benidorm has a comparatively low crime rate compared to other cities in Spain and Europe and is relatively safe.
To avoid becoming a victim of crime, it’s important to stay vigilant, especially in crowded areas like markets, shopping centers, and concerts. Keep an eye on your belongings, and be aware of your surroundings.
The most common crime in Benidorm is theft. Thieves target tourists and expats, especially those who appear wealthy or carry expensive items.
To avoid becoming a victim of theft, keep your valuables out of sight, especially in crowded areas. Don’t carry large amounts of cash; be wary of anyone who tries to distract you or get too close to you.
Overall, Benidorm is a safe place for expats to live. However, taking precautions to protect yourself and your family is still important.
Avoid walking alone at night, especially in poorly lit areas. If you’re out late, take a taxi or use public transportation instead of walking.
Healthcare and wellness
As an expat living in Benidorm, you can access public and private healthcare options.
The public healthcare system in Spain is highly regarded, with many expats choosing to use it.
However, it is essential to note that you may experience language barriers if you don’t speak Spanish, and longer wait times are standard for non-emergency procedures.
Private healthcare options are also available, with many expats taking out private health insurance.
This can provide quick access to medical care and more English-speaking doctors. Researching and comparing different insurance options is essential to find the best fit for you.
Many expats prefer international health insurance. International health insurance can be quite expensive. To make sure you get the best value for money, compare international health insurance options from various providers to find the best deal.
As an expat family living in Benidorm, you have various education options available for your children.
Whether you prefer public or private schools, there are many opportunities for your children to receive a quality education in Benidorm.
Spanish state schools
The public schools in Benidorm are known for their high standards of education. An interview is required for your child to start in a state school. If your child already speaks some Spanish, they may complete an examination to understand your child’s knowledge of Spanish.
Spanish will be the primary language of instruction, but many schools offer classes in English and other languages.
The curriculum is based on the Spanish educational system, known for its rigor and high academic standards.
If you prefer a more specialized education for your children, there are several private schools in Benidorm.
The schools offer a range of educational programs, including international baccalaureate, British, and American curricula.
Some private schools also provide bilingual education programs, which can be a great option if you want your children to learn both Spanish and English.
For expats who want their children to receive an education more tailored to their home country’s educational system, there are several international schools in Benidorm.
These schools offer a range of educational programs, including the International Baccalaureate, British, and American curricula.
They also provide English and other language classes, making it easier for your children to adjust to their new environment.
Popular international schools – Benidorm
If you prefer to homeschool your children, you can do so legally in Spain. However, you must follow specific guidelines and register with the Spanish authorities.
Homeschooling can be a great option if you want more control over your children’s education and tailor it to their needs.
The UK-based homeschooling college Wolsey Hall Oxford has expertise in homeschooling for children in Spain.
Overall, Benidorm offers a variety of education opportunities for expat families. Whether you prefer public or private schools or even homeschooling, you can find quality education for your children in Benidorm.
Transport and accessibility
You don’t need to own a car to live in Benidorm. You can quickly get around the city and its surroundings using public transportation.
The city has a well-developed bus network that covers most parts of the city and its outskirts. The buses are frequent, reliable, and affordable.
You can buy a rechargeable bus card that gives you discounted fares and makes it easier to pay for your trips.
If you need to travel to other cities in the region, you can take a bus from the Benidorm bus station.
The station has regular connections to Alicante, Torrevieja, La Nucia, Polop, Alfaz del Pi, Rojales, Elche, and Calpe. The buses are comfortable, air-conditioned, and equipped with free Wi-Fi.
If you prefer to drive, you can rent a car from one of the many car rental agencies in the city.
Buying your own car and driving in Spain is a very popular option with expats too. However, parking in the city center can be challenging, especially during the high season.
If you live on the outskirts of Benidorm, you will find it easier to park your car and use public transportation to get around the city.
If you have mobility issues, you will be happy to know that Benidorm has significantly improved its accessibility in recent years.
The city has installed new ramps, elevators, and accessible public toilets in many parts of the city.
The city council has also created new accessible bays for public bus transport, making it easier for people with disabilities to use public transportation.
Working in Benidorm
If you consider working in Benidorm as an expat, you will be happy to know that the town is a bustling tourist destination with plenty of job opportunities.
However, you must obtain a work visa if you’re from the UK, the US, or another non-EU country. Before applying for an employment visa, you must already have a job offer from an organization in Spain.
Here are a few things you need to know about working in Benidorm:
Types of jobs
There are plenty of job opportunities in Benidorm, especially in the tourism industry. Some popular jobs include bar, hotel, and restaurant work. You can also find jobs as a tour guide, entertainer, or in customer service.
Finding a job
One of the best ways to find a job in Benidorm is to visit the town and start networking. Many employers prefer hiring people already in the area who can start working immediately, which can be tricky for non-EU nationals.
You can also check online job boards and local newspapers for job listings.
Taxes for expats
As an expat living in Benidorm, you may have some questions about taxes. Here are some essential things to keep in mind:
You will be considered a tax resident if you live in Benidorm for more than 183 days per year. This means you must pay taxes in Spain on your worldwide income. You must also declare any assets outside of Spain worth more than €50,000.
In Spain, income tax rates vary based on your income level. As an expat, you will be subject to the same tax rates as Spanish residents.
The tax year in Spain runs from January 1st to December 31st, and tax returns must be filed by June 30th of the following year.
Wealth tax is a tax on the value of your assets, including property, savings, and investments. The tax targets those with fortunes of €3 million or more (on worldwide assets for Spanish residents).
The tax rate varies depending on the value of your assets.
In Spain, inheritance tax, also called successions tax (or “impuesto de sucesiones y donaciones”), is one of the direct taxes paid by the heirs of an estate rather than the estate itself.
The tax rate varies depending on the relationship between the deceased and the heir and the value of the inheritance.
Spain has tax treaties with many countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom.
These treaties are designed to prevent double taxation, which can occur when a person is taxed on the same income by two countries.
If you are a U.S. or U.K. citizen living in Spain, you can take advantage of these tax treaties to reduce your tax burden.
They can help you navigate the complex Spanish tax system and ensure you meet your obligations.
If you are unsure about your tax obligations as an expat in Benidorm, it is recommended that you consult with a tax professional.
For more information, read our Taxes In Spain guide.
Dealing with Spanish bureaucracy
As an expat living in Benidorm, dealing with Spanish bureaucracy can be challenging.
However, understanding the system and following the correct procedures can make the process smoother and less stressful.
Here are some tips to help you navigate the bureaucracy:
As a resident
If you are a resident of Benidorm, you will need to obtain an NIE number, a Spanish identification number for foreigners.
This number is required for official transactions, such as opening a bank account, buying a property, or getting a job.
You can apply for an NIE number at the National Police Station in Benidorm. Be prepared to provide your passport, a completed application form, and proof of your reason for needing the number.
When dealing with other bureaucratic processes, such as renewing your residency permit or applying for a Spanish driver’s license, having all the necessary documents in order is essential.
This may include proof of income, health insurance, and a criminal record certificate from your home country.
Make sure to double-check the requirements before you go to the relevant office.
Find out more about an NIE and other paperwork in our guide on Spain Residency, Registration On A Padron, NIE And Other Paperwork.
As a retiree
If you are retiring in Benidorm, you may be eligible for a non-lucrative residency visa.
Spain’s non-lucrative visa allows non-EU citizens to live in Spain if they can demonstrate that they have the financial resources to support themselves and their families. You will also need proof of health insurance.
This visa allows you to live in Spain without working and is valid for one year, after which it can be renewed.
To learn more about the non-lucrative visa and other residency options, check out our Spain Residency, Registration On A Padron, NIE And Other Paperwork.
When dealing with Spanish bureaucracy, be patient and persistent. The process may take longer than expected, and you may need multiple trips to the relevant offices.
Sometimes it is worth getting professional help. For an affordable fee, you can hire a professional assistant, a gestor, who can help you with the paperwork or even do the biggest part of it for you.
To learn how exactly gestors can help, read our guide on Using Gestorias In Spain To Help With Your Paperwork.
Making new friends is one of the most challenging aspects of moving to a new country. However, many expats in Benidorm have found it easy to make new friends. The city has a large expat community, and many social events and groups cater to them. You can join groups like the Benidorm International Friendship Club to meet new people.
Family life with children
Benidorm is a great place to raise a family. The city has excellent schools, many parks and playgrounds, and a safe and welcoming environment.
Many expat families have found that their children thrive in the city, and they enjoy the outdoor lifestyle that Benidorm offers.
Final thoughts on living in Benidorm
Living in Benidorm as an expat can be an exciting and enjoyable experience. However, being aware of the challenges of living in a foreign country is essential.
Learning Spanish can help you to integrate into the local community and make new friends. It is also essential to know the cost of living in Benidorm. The city used to be considered a very affordable place to live, it’s still possible to live well for less, but you need to research well before you commit to moving.
Whether you are retiring to Spain or looking for a new adventure, with its friendly locals, lively expat community, and fantastic climate, it’s no wonder that so many people choose to make Benidorm their home.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the job opportunities for expats in Benidorm?
Benidorm’s economy heavily depends on tourism, so there are many job opportunities in the hospitality industry, such as hotels, restaurants, and bars. However, competition for these jobs can be fierce. If you are looking for employment in other sectors, finding a job as an expat may be more challenging. It is advisable to research job opportunities before moving to Benidorm.
What are the best neighborhoods to live in near Benidorm?
There are several neighborhoods in and around Benidorm that expats find appealing. Levante is the most popular area for tourists and expats, with plenty of amenities and a lively atmosphere. Poniente is quieter and more residential, with a long beach and stunning views. La Cala is a small, peaceful neighborhood with a beautiful beach. Albir is a quieter area with a large expat community, and it is popular with retirees.
What is the cost of living like in Benidorm?
The cost of living in Benidorm is relatively low compared to other European cities. Accommodation is affordable, and food and drink prices are reasonable. However, the cost of living can increase during the peak tourist season. It is important to note that salaries in Benidorm are generally lower than in other European cities.
Is it possible to live in Benidorm year-round, or is it a seasonal destination?
Benidorm is a year-round destination, although the population swells during the summer months. Many expats choose to live in Benidorm year-round, thanks to its mild climate and affordable cost of living.
What is the expat community like in Benidorm?
Benidorm has a large expat community, particularly from the U.K. and northern Europe. There are many social groups and clubs for expats to join, making it easy to meet new people and make friends.
Are there any English-speaking services available in Benidorm for expats?
Yes, there are many English-speaking services available in Benidorm, including doctors, dentists, lawyers, and real estate agents. Many businesses also have English-speaking staff, and there are several English-language newspapers and radio stations.
Other popular cities in Spain to consider:
- The Insider Guide To Living In Malaga As An Expat
- The Essential Guide To Living In Valencia As An Expat
- Living In Barcelona – The Expats’ Guide
- Living In Marbella – The Pros & Cons For Expats
- The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Living In Madrid
You might find useful:
- Living In Spain As An Expat – the ultimate relocation guide full of practical information and tips on moving to Spain, from the pros and cons to visas and residency, to the cost of living, healthcare, banking, and more.
- Best Places To Live In Spain – the best and most popular expat locations in Spain.
- The Expat Guide To The Spanish Costas
- Planning & Organising Removals To Spain
- Didn’t find what you were looking for or need further advice? Comment with your question below, and we will do our best to help.