I find it quite endearing the way a lot of Spanish people still retain many of their traditions in day to day life, and one area where this is evident is in the amount of speciality shops that are still found in every city, town and village. Spain is by no means lacking in modern services, with just as many supermarket chains as there are in the UK, but they somehow still maintain a good presence of the old way of life, living side by side with the new.
Costa Blanca Speciality Shops
It is not uncommon for the matriarch of a family to get the weekly fruit & veg shopping from a greengrocer, bread from a bakery, meat from a butcher, fish from a fishmonger, and only buy the necessary non perishables and household products from a supermarket. In some instances speciality shops are a necessity such as pharmacies and tobacconists, as it's illegal to sell any medicine or tobacco products in a general store or supermarket. Visitors to the Costa Blanca will be happy to know there are a number of speciality shops stocking goodies from home.
British Newsagents – A number of towns and cities on the Costa Blanca are extremely popular with British and Irish holidaymakers, and have large expat communities who can usually find a general store or British newsagent that stocks many of the essential favourite groceries, sweets, newspapers and magazines.
Scandinavian Shops – Probably the second largest expat communities living in Costa Blanca are Scandinavian or northern European. Here you will find favourites such as gravlaks, lutefisk, fenalar, Swedish meatballs, a variety of black and rye breads as well as a good selection of beverages, and in some shops, a variety of eastern European and Russian products.
Chino Shops – If you can't think of where to find a certain item, chances are you will find it in a Chino shop. Some just tiny corner shops, and others vast warehouses, Chino shops are found the length and breadth of the Costa Blanca and stock a staggering variety of products, from gadgets and nik-naks to household goods, clothing, groceries, toys and everything in between.
Delicatessens – If you are a lover of meat, cheese and all things cured, don't enter a Spanish delicatessen on an empty stomach unless you are prepared to walk out with a much lighter wallet or purse! The good things in life don't come cheap but, oh my they are good, and no more so than the fantastic variety of cured hams, sausages, dried fish, cheeses, bread, olives, pickles and preserves that are proudly displayed in Spanish delicatessens.
Pharmacies & Tobacconists – Pharmacies in Spain are excellent, usually stay open until 22:00 and sell a number of products that require a prescription in Britain and northern Europe such as antibiotics, strong pain killers and asthma inhalers. Tobacconists are equally as well stocked and, as I mentioned earlier in this article, you cannot purchase medicine or tobacco products from any other retailer, except for some bars and nightclubs that have cigarette machines.