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Tempting though it may be to spend your entire holiday moving between the sun soaked beaches of Playas Levante and Poniente, and the fun filled Avenidas D’Alcoi and Madrid, somewhere in between a golden tan and saddle bag brown there’s a different world waiting to be discovered. This is my pick of the best of that world:
Jeep excursion to Guadalest
Beyond the skyscrapers of the Benidorm skyline lies the the Puig Campana Mountain and beyond that, a beautiful interior of blue Sierras, cultivated valley floors, traditional villages and natural beauty spots. Letting a jeep take the gip while you enjoy the cooling air, you climb to 1400 metres above sea level on Puig Montana to enjoy the magnificent views. From there the trail leads to the idyllic village of Altea with its blue domed church of Nuestra Señora de Consuelo and its art and crafts shops which ply their trade from the elegant white houses that line the streets running down from the plaza.
An off road track takes you onwards to the stunning waterfalls of Las Fuentes del Algar where you can enjoy lunch on a terrace overlooking the pools and weirs before continuing to your destination – the picturesque fortress village of El Castell de Guadalest. Towers, dungeons, pretty plazas and mountain vantage points unfold in a location which is about as far removed from Benidorm as it’s possible to get without actually leaving the Spanish mainland altogether.
Marco Polo Tours offer full day jeep excursions for €59 excluding lunch.
Wine tasting tour
Driving through the arid landscape between Alicante and Benidorm, you’d be forgiven for thinking that nothing grows here but in fact the region is home to 50 vineyards producing 12 million litres of wine annually. Some of the best of the wines are Moscatel, Merlot, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon and you can taste some award winning examples at the Enrique Mendoza Vineyard in Alfaz del Pi, just a 20 minute drive outside Benidorm.
An introduction to the grapes and growing methods, a tour of the cellars and a tasting of some fine wines accompanied by aperitifs takes around an hour and a half and costs €20 per person.
Boat trip to Benidorm Island
The large, triangular rock that lies beyond the endless expanse of white beaches, looking for all the world like a piece of cheese, is the protected marine reserve of benidorm island and Nirvana for divers. Boat trips take you speeding across the water in just 20 minutes before cruising off shore to let you observe the world down-under from the sanctuary of observation rooms.
The transparent, turquoise waters are a magnet for divers and you can watch them flipper and bubble their way around the seabed trying to seek out the Yellowtail, Barracuda and Red Snapper who inhabit these waters and the moray eels and octopus who hide in the rock crevices.
Once disgorged onto dry land, you can climb to the top of the island where Storm Petrels and gulls circle overhead and you can try to capture that unbelievable skyline on the horizon with your panorama setting.
Boats leave from the port every hour from 10am and cost €12.50 for adults and €10 for children. Be sure to get the one with the observation windows.
Cable-Ski and Wakeboard
Anchored off the south east end of Playa Levante is a platform which operates a cable pulley in a large square circuit. After some tuition and clad in a life jacket, you can descend to the launch pad below the platform and wait to be handed a passing handle which will then pull you across the waves on either skis or a wakeboard. That’s the theory anyway. Unless you’re already an experienced water skier or wakeboarder, prepare to fall, several times, while those with more experience glide effortlessly by you as you bob helplessly in the water, your face getting splashed with their wake.
Having a crack at cable-ski and wakeboard is great fun, if a tad time-consuming as ironically, the better you are at launching and staying on your skis or board, the further you travel so you have to wait to be rescued by the pick-up boat and returned to the platform to try again.
Tickets are €20 an hour for adults and €12 for children, or you can buy four attempts for €12. The ticket price includes use of equipment, life jackets and the briefest of instruction. If you find it rings your bell you can book courses from two days to a month.
Andrea (Andy) Montgomery is a freelance travel writer and co-owner of Buzz Trips and The Real Tenerife series of travel websites. Published in The Telegraph, The Independent, Wexas Traveller, Thomas Cook Travel Magazine, EasyJet Traveller Magazine, you can read her latest content on Google+
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