There are times when all you want from a beach holiday is space and solitude. Some people are prepared to fly thousands of miles to seek out that deserted strand, with just the one hotel or two overlooking a sandy beach and a blue sea.
But if you want more to do each evening than finishing off your books-to-read list, playing yet another game of table tennis, or staring at the sunset over a fruity cocktail, it’s a good idea to check out what your destination has to offer once the sun goes down.
I’ve found from experience that it’s all too easy to fall between two stools, especially when travelling outside high season. You opt for what looks to be a not too busy resort, one that’s easy to get to and with a choice of places to stay, only to find there’s far too little to do when it comes to eating out, shopping and entertainment.
So that’s how I found myself back in Benidorm.
There’s not much missing from the classic sun-kissed sea view, I thought, as I strolled barefoot along the water’s edge on the Poniente beach. It’s the longer of the town’s two main beaches, and an exhilarating walk whatever time of year.
Going there outside peak season, as I did on my latest visit, you can almost feel you have the sands to yourself. Then you turn around….
OK, for the ultimate in space-seekers, Benidorm is not the place to go. This is a resort that has been popular for more than half a century, and the high-rise skyline is there to prove it.
Yet the town, now a city, that has built up over the years means you’re never going to find yourself at a loss for something to do, from evening time onwards or on that occasional rainy or cloudy day.
Even on a winter’s evening we found no shortage of shops and bars open in the centre, the area that stretches inland from the original Old Town, sat on a rocky promontory that divides the more westerly Poniente (sunset) from the Levante (sunrise) beach.
With much of the area turned into a pedestrian-only zone, it’s also the heart of the town’s entertainment scene.
Pick a hotel just on the edge, like the Fiesta Park on Avenida Foietes, and you can get the beach and the town within a few minutes’ walk in either direction.
During the day you can stroll down to the yacht marina, perhaps take a boat ride round the rocky island out in the middle of the bay.
If you feel like doing more than trying out some water sports or lying down on the first bit of beach you come to I can recommend walking right the way along to the western end of Poniente.
In summer, it’s the area where you are likely to find more space on the sand. But, whatever the time of the year, it’s worth it to keep going up to the tiny hermitage on the headland above for the best bird’s eye view of Benidorm and its beaches.
Come the evening, and you can retrace your steps to the marina, only turn the other way and walk up to the open cliff-top plaza that is the Balcon del Mediterraneo to watch the lights come on at either side.
Strolling down the slope behind the San Jaime church into the Old Town enables you to enter the night in stages.
Just behind the church is the Calle Santo Domingo, better known as Tapas Alley, where you can have a few drinks and try out delicious tidbits of food from all over Spain.
Eat enough, and you might well decide to skip dinner altogether, before seeking out that bar, disco, show, or perhaps in summer an outdoor concert down by the beach or at the bull-ring.
Solitude you won’t find in Benidorm. But one thing you won’t have to worry about is getting bored in the evening.
Katie is the baking and travel addicted blogger behind delightso.me where she writes about her adventures in cake and on foreign shores.