Benidorm and bikinis

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Benidorm and bikinis
PEDRO ZARAGOZA: Brought bikinis to the Costa Blanca Photo credit: Museo Vespa España

IN 1953 Benidorm’s mayor Pedro Zaragoza Orts persuaded Francisco Franco to allow bikinis on the local beaches.

Aware that he had to go to the very top to override complaints about bikinis from the Guardia Civil and the Archbishop of Valencia, who wanted to excommunicate him, Zaragoza decided to undertake the eight-hour journey on his Vespa to Madrid.

Here he met Franco, explaining his vision for Benidorm and the need to bring tourists – and their bikinis – to the town’s beaches.

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The late dictator was impressed and told him: “If you have any more problems, come directly to me.”

There were no more hindrances to Zaragoza’s plans, recalled his daughter Pepa Zaragoza Ivars in a recent interview with the provincial daily Informacion.

But she also admitted that Zaragoza’s tolerance did not extend to his own family.


“He understood that it was necessary for tourists to be able to wear bikinis,” she said.  “But what he wanted my sister and I to do was a different matter.”

Linda came to Spain to live when she was 24, just over 52 years ago, and her husband is Spanish. She began writing for English-language local newspapers in the mid-1970s and hasn’t stopped since! She leads a Spanish life, which she believes is vital when conveying the news to English-speaking residents, and along the way she produced two editions of Expand Your Spanish, helping English-speakers to enlarge their knowledge of the language. She was excited to be in at the birth of the Euro Weekly News in 1999 and is still passionately writing for the paper 22 years later.

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