You may have visited Benidorm on more than one occasion, but you may not know the history of Benidorm. In fact, in its origins it was very different in every aspect and nothing foreshadowed that it would become not only a tourist paradise, but also a city full of impressive skyscrapers. In the following lines we invite you to find out more about its origins.
What is the history of Benidorm?
Before getting to know the history of Benidorm, we must bear in mind that until just a few decades ago it was a fishing village, with a very different landscape to what it is today, although it is true that it still retains some of that charm. However, nowadays it stands out as one of the most important tourist destinations.
Although Benidorm has both Iberian and Roman origins, it was also populated by the Arabs until the Reconquest. It was King James I of Aragon who conquered this territory, but he gave it to Bernardo de Sarría, who was the feudal lord who founded the town of Benidorm in 1325. He took different measures to ensure that the territory of the town was well defined and also to encourage Christian families to move to the area.
The town’s castle dates from this period, as well as a number of buildings that were intended to protect a coastal town from enemy attacks. In fact, in 1410 and 1448 the town was attacked by pirates. The first attack was repelled with relative success, but the second onslaught was successful and the pirates managed to raze the area to the ground and enslave some of its inhabitants. When the population recovered, new defensive buildings were built again, in an attempt to be safe from possible enemies.
Another noteworthy fact about the town is that in 1666 an irrigation channel was built to extract water from the area, for example, from what is known today as Callosa d’en Sarrià. This allowed the population of the town to continue to grow. It was in 1701 when Benidorm became an independent town, thanks mainly to the initiatives of some of its citizens.
Once it achieved this independence and like other towns in the area, the inhabitants of Benidorm focused on fishing, especially tuna fishing. This was carried out with a tuna trap and was a good starting point for the town to begin to grow, bearing in mind that at that time it had little more than 200 inhabitants.
When did Benidorm become a tourist destination?
During the 19th century, it was thought that the area could be a great place to receive people looking to rest in an unbeatable environment. For this reason, the Balneario de la Virgen spa was built and the tourists of the time began to arrive. It was a turning point, because with time the locality would leave fishing behind and focus on this new activity.
However, fishing continued to be the main activity in the town until the 1950s. From then on, an urban development plan began to take shape in order to take advantage of all the tourist potential of the area. In addition, Benidorm benefited from better communications, which made it easier to reach the city from Madrid.
High-rise buildings also began to be built in the area, to make better use of the city’s space. This was the germ of the current Benidorm skyline.
One of the leading figures of that time was the town’s mayor, Pedro Zaragoza, who was in office between 1950 and 1967. He had a close relationship with prominent figures of the dictatorship of the time and this allowed the town to have some licences. One of the most notable was that tourists could wear bikinis on Benidorm’s beaches, something that was not allowed in the rest of the country at the time.
Another important fact that greatly boosted tourism is that in the 1970s flights began to arrive from different European cities, which allowed the city to receive more and more visitors.
Benidorm and Camping Villasol
All these changes have led to the Benidorm we know today. A city that lives for tourism and takes care of every visitor. It offers a wide range of activities and not only sea and beach, being undoubtedly one of the best offers that the city has to offer.
In recent years the town has become one of the most important tourist destinations, not only in our country, but also worldwide. Whether you know it or not, we invite you to visit the area and stay at our campsite. We offer you to live a unique experience and be part of the history of Benidorm, at least the most recent one.