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siteIn a surprise move, Benidorm will be offering free parking directly on the Levante beach front on the site of the old Las Terrazas building at the junction of Avenida Mediterraneo and Avenida Europa, opposite the Hotel Cimbel. The mayor signed an agreement with the owner of the site on Monday, giving the council temporary use of the plot to offer free parking to residents and more importantly, visitors.

diggers inThe 3,700 square metre site is meant to be operational by the end of the week and today diggers and plenty of workmen were already on site, clearing and levelling. Old asphalt from ongoing roadworks on the Avenida Europa opposite will be reused in the new parking area and mounds were already waiting to be spread out.

clearingWhat has not been made clear however is whether there will be restrictions on length of time vehicles can park there for. The potential problem will be hightened in August, when Spaniards from Madrid drive down for the entire month and hog spaces, which is a really contentious issue with locals who work in town and spend ages looking for spaces.

free parkingCurrently many of the blue Pay & Display bays across the resort are suspended until July 1st but don’t assume that all of them are. If the metre is covered then you’re ok and can park for free – but the main Avenida Mediterraneo and streets heading towards the beachfront are never free. However, it’s not like parking charges in the UK – with 2 hours only costing €1, that’s the maximum!

parking metreThe machines are fairly self explanatory but you need to remember to make a note of your car registration as that needs to be entered. Easy tip if you have a hire car, take a picture with your mobile before heading off to find the metre, which can be a bit of a walk rather than realise once there. If you happen to lose track of time and arrive back to find a parking ticket stuck to your windscreen, don’t panic. If you are 30 minutes or under after the expiry time you can cancel the fine at the parking meter for a cost of 25 cents – yes really. Press option 2 , enter your car registration, pay the 25c requested and your fine will be void – you get a receipt.

WhooshHowever, if you are longer than 30 minutes you don’t get that option.

If you are a regular visitor then you can download a mobile app called ‘Whoosh’ and pay from your mobile – much easier than looking around for coins and it gives you a reminder 10 minutes before your time is due to expire. If you need more time you can top it up from wherever you are instead of rushing back to get another ticket to display on your dashboard.