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Spanish Lullaby – LGBTQ Fiesta In Benidorm

When I first got the invitation to join a group of LGBTQ bloggers and vloggers – Wandering Wives, Alvaro LaforetDutchiefied, and Live Like Tom – travelling to Benidorm Pride, I honestly had no idea where I’m heading to. I’ve been to Spain countless times – from Calella through Barcelona to Sitges – but no one ever told me about this town close to Ibiza.

Hell I said yes – this is how I found myself with a bunch of complete strangers in a city stranger than fiction, yet having so much fun, by the third day I was a true #benilover at heart.

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Never Ending Summer In The City

Once you check out the website of  Visit Benidorm, you’ll find out what this city is about – it’s a super liberal holiday spot with wonderful weather all year around, mostly visited by British tourists – partially because of the success of the sarcastic TV show, “Benidorm”. Yet who follows the official Visit Benidorm Facebook page will find himself realising: it is so much more than a giant beachside disco: the pictures on their Insta account tell a story of a diverse, surprising, and friendly city surrounded by incredibly beautiful nature, offering activities for everyone, regardless from age or gender.

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Who saw an episode of the British show, or ever googled Benidorm is probably thinking: the whole city is a jungle of skyscrapers and tower houses built in the 60s – yet the once-upon-a-time sleepy fishermen’s village has a beautiful old town, showcasing classic Spanish architecture. The centre of the old city is around the The Church of San Jaime, looking down to the concrete jungle of the new town.

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Pool Parties and Beauty Naps Around The Clock

Our hotel, Marconfort Benidorm Essence was just a stone’s throw away from these magical sights. The tower building was renovated in style, channelling chilled vibes, offering rich breakfast, lunch and dinner for everyone – including me, the hardcore vegan. Sometimes I was just laying in bed, enjoying the international movie hits on Marconfort‘s entertainment system, presented in Spanish. It was quite a treat watching my favourite movies, Chicago and Addams Family dubbed for the locals. But what was even more exciting: hotel‘s the pool bar was open all day long for delicious cocktails.

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A Vegan in Benidorm – Is It Possible?

From a vegan traveller’s point of view Benidorm is a true treasure – there are no strictly vegan eateries, but the best restaurants are happy to put together plant based delicacies. Tragantúa Restaurant, a tapas bar in in the old town created a mini veggie burger for me, Ulía, a fab restaurant at Poniente Beach prepared a vegan paella, while in La Señoría BenidormMal Pas Bar they surprised me with perfectly grilled organic, homegrown vegetables. Punto de Sal, a contemporary and cool restaurant on the beach got me a superb vegan stir-fry noodle, while in wine-heavenEnrique Mendoza‘s Winery I enjoyed some freshly prepared hummus with bread sticks alongside the mouthwatering wines – no coincidence that I brought back home four bottles. We also tested the local street food at Talo Tako, a busy Mexican eatery offering vegan and non-vegan takos and spreads.

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Vegan Fine Dining at Villa Venecia

But without any doubt the most fascinating meal was brought to us by Villa Venecia Hotel Boutique *****. They have taken the most authentic elements of Mediterranean cuisine with the best raw materials and has defined new dishes that elevate their gastronomic level. “With wines to match, the perfect marriage between sea, food, views and good company manages to enjoy the purest and most exciting Mediterranean.” – they say on their social media sites, but a picture tells more than a 1000 words… The start of the 7 course meal was the tomato conflit and the chocolate vulcan cake with hot and mushy choco inside, cold and creamy ice cream on the top.

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Get Outta Yer Comfort ZoNe – Waterpark, Jeep Tour, Bike Ride, and So Much More…

But we were not only eating and drinking… or at least we did other things as well, while we were doing so. The most groundbreaking experience was awaiting for us at WaterPark Aqualandia Benidorm – the slides took me back to my childhood (except this time I enjoyed the rides combined with Gin and Tonic). I even gave a go to the most scary slide, Verti-Go, where I experienced free falling, and frankly, I screamed so loud and high pitched voice, only dogs and bats could hear me.

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Marco Polo Expediciones Jeep Tour‘s cool cat Dannis took us to an unforgettable trip to the top of the surrounding mountains, showcasing the rich nature – the hills are filled with pomegranat and carob trees – it really reminded me on the climate of Israel’s North hills, the Carmel mountains. We also took an electric bike trip to the hidden shores of Benidorm – many don’t know that the busy city has a nature reservoir right next to it, aligning natural beach shores where bathing pants are optional, but beautiful sights are guaranteed. Riding a Tao Bike made it fun and easy to spin up to the top – actually I’m now considering getting an e-bike in Tel Aviv.

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Bendorm Pride, Here Comes The Whitecity Boy!

If anyone dares to think after such daytime activities we burnt out for the night, you are so wrong. Benidorm Pride is not an event to miss – and being tired from drinking, eating, and beachin’ all day is no excuse. Benilovers declared their favourite city as an LGBTQ destination throughout the dictatorship of Franco, when this lovely beach town became the first ever city in Spain where wearing bikinis and speedos was allowed in public.

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The first night we kicked off the celebration with an opening party, then we just never stopped going out, night after night. The Pride Parade was such a treat! Being on the top of a bus dancing for hours, just purely enjoying the moment with British radio station, Gaydio‘s übercool hosts, Emma, Chris and Toby, I was hoping this afternoon will last forever – just like Atomic Kitten did, a gay reference joke for whoever remembers them apart from me.

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White Party in the old city – I was happy to discover: Benidorm Pride is open for all. I ran into elderly and golden aged trans and gay couples, curious teenagers, families with kids, and of course classic Pride-goers with their muscles and tank tops, and confused tourists as well who had no clue what they got into, but they enjoyed it anyway. Some of the outfits were super creative and sexy, while others, let’s just say, quire revealing… yup, that’s me rolling my eyes down there.

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¡Hasta luego! Till Next Year

Now back in Tel Aviv I’m thinking about these past few days with such nostalgia and warm, fuzzy feelings, as if I spent my holiday  with best friends at some place close to my heart for years. This is the true magic of Benidorm: it brings together people, and before you’d notice, you’re hooked. Big heartfelt thank you to my fellow bloggers for making this trip such joy (and of course for picking me up from the street as I fall asleep by the gate of a club, and helped me remembering my room number back at the hotel – oh, fun times!). Gracias from the bottom of my heart to Lucho Perez from the Visit Benidorm team (and to his lovely Marta), you are such a beautiful couple! Big thanks to Auston Matta at OUTfluential for picking me to experience the Beni-magic, and of course thank you for the Spanish Tourist Office of Italy for making it possible for me to fly across the world to do so.

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Benidorm, I’ll be back – next year with my boyfriend, who this time had to stay home, but next year nothing can save him… #MadeInTelAvivDestroyedInBenidorm 😉

 Follow me on Instagram @whitecityboy and keep up with the blog on Facebook as well. xo Kristof Steiner




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