A holiday à la Spain isn’t complete without a trip to the port city of Alicante on Costa Blanca, famous for its beaches and carnivals. More good news is that it is also a haven for shopping. The numerous shopping districts lined with windows displaying everything from designer leather items to local handicrafts and street markets abuzz with activity, are irresistible for the average shopaholic and tiring as well. It is physically impossible to cover all the shops on foot. Hiring a car for the day can be useful if you are planning to circumnavigate the entire shopping zone! Whether you are a big spender or a more cautious variety of shopper, you won’t leave Alicante without your bags a little heavier and your purse a little lighter!
There is a shop for everything in Alicante. You must not miss the chance to buy genuine Spanish leather goods. Be sure to check the origin to ensure authenticity. There are even a number of stores catering to wedding wear for the aspiring brides and bridegrooms.
A must buy for any holiday shopping is the local handicrafts. Woven rugs from Crevillente, handcrafted ceramics from Agost and baskets from Gata de Gorgos are some of the top items on the list. Shopping for swimwear and carnival wear is only logical for this city of pristine beaches and stunning fiestas.
Turning into the Avenida de Maisonnave is like going to a shopper’s heaven. Here you will find a treasure of luxury leather goods, high street designer clothes and shoes – you can try on shoes more than all the ladies of Prince Charming’s kingdom! Housing high street brands like Zara and Mango, it boasts two branches of El Corte Inglés, Spain’s largest department store chain.
Next, polish those bargaining skills and head off to the Rambla de Méndez Núñez. This lively, more traditional market gives a taste of the local flavor of Alicante. There are also a number of malls around the city, like the Gran Via and the magnificent Panoramis.
The Alicante shopping experience must include a tour of the street side markets that spring up all around the city. The beautiful, marble-tiled Explanada de Espana Boulevard is lined with stalls in the summertime selling leather goods, inexpensive jewelry and all manner of local handicrafts. The street markets of Campoamor, Carolinas and Benalúa y Babel are good for finding the most unique souvenirs to take back home.
Art aficionados can visit the art market at Paseo del Doctor Gadea, while Sunday brings a treat for antique collectors at the Town Hall square.
A day of shopping is incomplete without feeding, quite literally, the foodie in you. The place to go is the Mercado Central or the Central Market, housed inside a deceptively ‘modernista’ building complex, which seems to pay homage to the entire gustatory experience. All your senses will be titillated with the colourful produce – gleaming fruit, polished vegetables and a variety of meats – displayed in every shop front and a delicious aroma wafting in the air. Be sure not to miss the local favourite, the turrón, a Spanish nut nougat. Indulge the fairyland lover in you by lounging about in the stunning flower seller’s market behind the Mercado Central.
Most Alicante markets are up and running in the morning by 10 am and shop hours extend to late evenings. It is quite easy to move around Alicante, while taking in all the beautiful sights and combining it with your shopping spree.