Markets can be found throughout the Costa Blanca's villages, towns and cities. These serve the local residents well, many choosing to do their fresh produce shopping at their local market rather than a supermarket or grocery store. It's surprising the savings that can be made when choosing your goods from a market, especially if you avoid the washed and pre-packed items. Most holidaymakers browse markets for clothes, toys, gadgets and gift ideas to take home. Should they fancy some fruit or vegetables they really couldn't be bothered with loose goods that need to be washed. It's a shame as they're cheaper and more environmentally friendly.
Central Produce Markets
The majority of towns and cities in Costa Blanca will have at least one central produce market. These are usually indoor markets and mainly sell fresh produce. Some are just fruit & veg but others have bakery, meat, fish and delicatessen counters. You will also often find a selection of tinned goods and bottles of jam, pickles and preserves. Delicious cooked foods feature in some central markets and tempting tasters are often offered at the delicatessen counters.
Central produce markets are open daily, but some will close for siesta between around 2pm – 5pm then re-open for a couple of hours. They may also operate reduced hours on weekends or close altogether on Sundays. Some such as Alicante City central market are located in beautiful old buildings. Others, like the one in Torrevieja will hold occasional free cooking lessons.
These are the ones favoured by visiting holidaymakers. Really keen market browsers who are prepared to travel can find one practically every day of the week. However, the majority are held on weekends. This is in order to get as many people through the gates as possible, hopefully with their weekly wage burning a hole in the pocket. They are found the length and breadth of Costa Blanca. They enjoy an even mix of authentic street settings or countryside locations. Two of the most popular countryside ones are Lemon Tree Market and Zoco Market near Orihuela Costa.
The city of Torrevieja until very recently had a huge Friday street market with up to 1,200 stalls. However, to the relief of nearby residents the market has now been re-located to the outskirts of the city. Another large and popular weekly market is held on Saturday mornings in the Orihuela Costa residential area of Playa Flamenca. Further north in Benidorm is a large Wednesday and Sunday market. These are hugely popular and attract coachloads of visitors from far and wide. Things to look out for when visiting a weekly market during a holiday in Costa Blanca are gift ideas to take home. Shoes and leather goods are usually good quality and value for money as are the excellent selection of olive oils, and especially extra virgin olive oil.
You don't need to be an antiques expert to enjoy browsing antiques markets. These are very popular with local bargain hunters and holidaymakers alike. You never know what you're going to find which just adds to the fun. One of the most popular ones is El Cisne Flea Market. This is held every Saturday and Sunday morning on the outskirts of Benidorm. Both indoor and outdoor areas make it a pleasure to visit, even in the winter months when they crank up the space heaters. The atmosphere is vibrant, with a good selection of cooked food and live music. Located in the Jalón Valley wine growing region, Jalón Market is another place to pick up rare hidden bargains. Pop into Bodegas Xaló across the road for wine tasting or take some bottles home.
If you are visiting at the right time of year, a Medieval market is not to be missed. These are grand affairs that take months to organise and set up. Stall holders and street performers all dress up in traditional costumes for the occasion, as do some of the market goers. This creates an authentic feel of the Middle Ages with many traditional cooked food dishes depicting the era. They provide super family fun with pony and cart rides, falconry, glass making, farriers shoeing horses, silversmiths, stonemasons and woodworkers. You will also see characters of the period such as squires, scribes, stilt walkers, jugglers and the children's favourite, jesters.