Staying in Benidorm and looking for something to do? I’ve got just the thing for you! You may have spotted the islet in the middle of the ocean in front of the city. Did you know you can actually visit it? It’s just a short boat ride away.
Keep reading for everything you need to know about organizing your Benidorm Island day trip, what to do on the island, how to snorkel it (a must!), and more.
What is Benidorm Island?
Known locally as Isla de Benidorm (or l’Illa de Benidorm in the Valencian dialect), Benidorm Island is a small islet located about 3.5 kilometers (2.2 miles) from the shores of the city of Benidorm. It’s the perfect cheap, easy and fun day trip if you’re staying nearby!
At only around 7 hectares (around 17 acres), the island is very small. Still, it boasts quite a rich history, and it’s very popular among snorkel enthusiasts, divers and nature lovers for its rich wildlife. In fact, it’s a protected nature reserve.
There is no permanent population, and the only real building is a restaurant.
What can you do here?
Despite its tiny size, there is plenty to do on Benidorm Island. I live nearby and have visited multiple times, but I always spot something new that I hadn’t noticed before.
There’s something here for everyone:
- Beach bums can bring an inflatable pillow and catch a tan on the rocky shore
- Hiking enthusiasts will enjoy the variety of short trails
- Ocean lovers will find loads to see below the surface
- Bird watchers will appreciate the various species that nest here
Even if you just want to have a beer and sit in the sun, this is a great place to do it: the view of Benidorm itself from the island is gorgeous. Order a local rice dish at the restaurant and relax!
How to get to Benidorm Island
Getting to Benidorm Island is easy enough, and it’s not too expensive either. If I’m going for a regular day trip, I use a company called Excursiones Benidorm. They charge €19 at the time of writing (remember to pre-book and print your ticket).
Boats depart hourly until 3 pm from the marina (Puerto Deportivo, located on a street called Paseo de Colón). It only takes around 20 minutes to get to the island, so even if you’re prone to getting seasick, at least it’ll be over soon! The ticket includes a little trip around the island on a glass-bottom boat once you’re there.
If you’re not staying in Benidorm, you can make your way over from most nearby towns and cities by using the local tram system.
Snorkeling Benidorm Island
One of the main attractions of Benidorm Island is its marine life. If you’d like to go snorkeling, which I definitely recommend, there are two ways to go about it.
The first is to book a snorkel trip with one of the local dive centers, which is a good option if you’re not very experienced or would like to go with someone knowledgeable who can explain all about local conditions and wildlife.
Your second option is to just take the ferry as described above and organize your own snorkel experience. This should work out perfectly fine, but I do want to touch on safety for a second before I tell you more.
There is heavy boat traffic around the island, so you should always respect the barrier floats. If you cross them, you’re in boat territory. Additionally, you should pop your head out of the water to check for traffic regularly. A swimming float can offer extra safety by making you more visible to passing boats.
Now on to the fun part. As you’ll recall, the islet is very small, so you’ll be able to explore pretty much all of it. I like to divide it into three parts:
Part A you don’t want to miss. It’s right next to what are pretty much the only man-made structures on the island, the restaurant and the attached boat dock, so it’s quick and easy to get to after you step off the ferry.
The water here tends to be calm and shallow. I recommend making your way across Part A along the shore, as the wall offers better safety in terms of the boats and also happens to harbor the most interesting sea life. You’ll spot all sorts of funky colorful seaweeds and hydroids growing on the rocks, interspersed with a variety of invertebrates and fish.
Once you reach a point where the shore juts out, you’re crossing over into Part B. The snorkel here is not bad either, but the sea can be a bit rougher and the barrier floats are quite close to the shore. This means you don’t always have a lot of space to work with. If you leave the water, though, you’ll find yourself wonderfully alone here a lot of the time.
Part C is the sheer side of the island, with high walls that drop straight into the depths. The waves here tend to be significantly more powerful, so if you do end up here, keep your distance from the sharp walls to avoid being smashed into them. You might find it preferable to visit this spot with a guide.
While snorkeling at Benidorm Island, among plenty of other species, you may come across:
- Ornate wrasse (Thalassoma pavo; very colorful)
- Mediterranean moray eel (Muraena helena; no touchy!)
- Fried egg jellyfish (Cotylorhiza tuberculata; it doesn’t sting)
- Common octopus (Octopus vulgaris)
- Cow bream (Sarpa salpa)
- Saddled seabream (Oblada melanura)
- Common two-banded seabream (Diplodus vulgaris)
- Five-spotted wrasse (Symphodus roissali)
- Painted comber (Serranus scriba)
- Different blennies
- Various crabs and shrimp
- Starfish, anemones and sea urchins
- Various types of (macro)algae, hydroids and other funky formations
Tip: If you’re visiting outside of the months of May-October, you may want to bring a wetsuit.
|Water temperature high||27.5 °C (81.5 °F)|
|Water temperature low||12.5 °C (54.5 °F)|
|Characterized by||Rocky with colorful walls, though heavy boat traffic near shore|
|Amenities?||A restaurant for snacks, drinks and toilet|
|Anything else?||Affected by bird flu when I last went. Don’t touch dead seabirds.|
If you like diving as well as snorkel, Benidorm Island is a fantastic place for a little excursion. Right at the marina, you’ll find Diving Stones dive center, which organizes dives at the island on the regular.
I’d done a scuba course with Diving Stones years ago and loved the center, so when I wanted to dive Benidorm Island, they were my first choice. It was a great little trip: the island is a hop, skip and a jump away in their quick small boats, and the Divemasters were pleasant and knowledgeable.
Most dives are done at the sheer side of the island. There’s plenty to see – I spotted lots of octopi, Mediterranean moray eels and scorpionfish – and it’s suitable for divers of different experience levels. If you’re certified, give it a try!
Other things to do in Benidorm
Finished your visit to Benidorm Island? No worries, you won’t have to sit around being bored once you’re back in the city. Benidorm itself and the surrounding areas have loads to offer, no matter what you’re looking to get out of your trip.
Aside from the nightlife Benidorm is so well-known for, you can consider:
- Going to the beach: aside from the famous beaches of Levante and Poniente, you can consider smaller and more private coves like nearby Cala Tio Ximo.
- Exploring the old town: don’t forget to check out Tapas Alley (Calle de los Vascos), which houses a variety of places that serve northern Spanish style tapas.
- A day of adventure: Benidorm has a water park (Aqualandia), animal park (Terra Natura) as well as a theme park (Terra Mítica) right around the corner.
- More adventure: you can also go parasailing, rent a jet ski or go on a quad tour.
- Visiting surrounding towns: go for white-and-blue Altea, historical Guadalest or the larger nearby city of Alicante. Many are easy to reach by tram.
- Going hiking: visit Sierra Helada National Park, go for the easy Albir Lighthouse route or try your hand at the Bernia Ridge.
Tip: Did you enjoy Benidorm Island? Don’t forget to also visit Tabarca Island, a larger islet located off the coast of nearby Santa Pola.
If you have any more questions about organizing your own day trip to Benidorm Island or if you’d like to share your own experiences visiting this gorgeous islet, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!