Costa Blanca Markets
If you are fortunate enough to be on holiday on the beautiful Costa Blanca or you live here, you should take the opportunity to visit a street market or a rastro.
Almost every village and most certainly every town, holds a “mercadillo” once a week. Benidorm has one twice a week. This itinerant market which goes from town to town, is a tradition which dates back to medieval times.
You’ll find wonderful fresh fruit and vegetables, carefully laid out to tempt you. The tastes will surprise you and the prices will certainly please you. But the real experience for me is the unique atmosphere of the Spanish market. As you wander amongst the many stalls take time to watch the Spanish people do their market shop with the ever-present trusty trolley.
Beware of these trolleys, as they fill up with tomatoes, potatoes, pineapple, cabbage, cheese, ham, nisperos, and oranges they seem to have a life of their own – so watch your ankles!
A note of caution here markets are notorious for pick-pockets. A friend of mine was targeted as he was laden down carrying heavy loads of produce, hence the use of the ubiquitous trolley by the locals. Tourists are always obvious and therefore stand out as an easy target.
Apart from fruit and vegetables you’ll find a wide range of goods. From old vinyl records, clothing, footwear (mostly made in Alicante Provence), handbags, watches to curtains, carpets, kitchen utensils and many more too numerous to mention.
Variety of goods
Apart from food produce the stallholders expect you to haggle over their prices and in fact will be surprised if you don’t!
Don’t forget there are also special markets at Christmas, Easter week and my personal favourite the Medieval market where the stall holders dress accordingly and there are jesters, craft stalls, children’s rides and plenty of street entertainment to enthrall all ages.
Once you arrive at your chosen market town, just head in the direction of the voluble excitement. The Spanish happily acknowledge that they are the noisiest nation in Europe and second in the world to Japan. Failing that, find a local and try out your Spanish.
“Donde esta el mercadillo?” – “Where is the street market?”
Even if you don’t understand the reply the gesticulations will give you a hint in which direction you should be heading. The Spanish people fall over themselves to be helpful, so be patient while the local explains in great detail, none of which you’ve understood, and when you are sure that he/she has finished speaking “Gracias”, “Thank you” is expected.
Benidorm has two market days, Sunday and Wednesday. On the weekend you’ll find the market near the Hotel Barcelo Pueblo Benidorm on the Avenido Derramador.
This market is tourist orientated and too crowded for me. I always go to the Wednesday market near Foietes Football ground, in the north of Benidorm near the railway station. Here the prices for the same goods are much cheaper and more importantly, this market has a Spanish atmosphere for you to enjoy.
Two other favourite markets of mine are held every Sunday. The most picturesque is situated in the pretty village of La Nucia, an inland village some 6 miles north of Altea. If you are coming from Benidorm take the CV70 road and La Nucia is only a 15 minute ride away. The wonderful scenery surrounding this market is spectacular – so don’t forget your camera!
Go to the northern end of La Nucia and you will see the market signposted as “Rastro La Nucia”. There is a large underground car park in the Avenida Porvilla. At the time of writing the parking charges are 60 cents per hour. While you are in this very typical Spanish village take the opportunity to wander along it’s pretty little winding streets.
Just one mile away, also on a Sunday we have another market, “Rastro de Polop”. This is a huge market, rapidly gaining in popularity with the locals. Some serious bargains are to be bagged here. Along with the usual market paraphernalia, here you will find some Box Brownie cameras, singer sewing machines, old fashioned typewriters and some curious ancient farming implements. If you need refreshments, there are plenty of places where you can stop to rest your weary feet, get a cup of coffee or a beer and have a burger or a hot dog.
To find this market, make your way to the southern end of La Nucia and at “Rotunda 1”, roundabout number 1, follow the roadsigns for Guadalest. The market is approximately 1 mile from the roundabout on the right hand side. Whichever market you choose to visit, enjoy the experience and HAPPY SHOPPING!
Variety of goods Market Day
So that you never miss a market, below you will find a list of the most popular street markets on the Costa Blanca. The markets are usually set up by 8.30 and gone by 2pm.
MONDAY – Callosa, Denia, Elche, Santa Pola, Parcent
TUESDAY – Alicante, Altea, Orihuela
WEDNESDAY – Benidorm, Campello, Ondara
THURSDAY – Alicante, Javea (Xavia), Rojales, Villajoyosa
FRIDAY – Alfaz del Pi, Denia, Moraira, Torrevieja
SATURDAY – Alcoy, Alicante, Calpe, Jalon (Xalo), Santa Pola
SUNDAY – Benidorm, La Nucia, Teulada