Markets in Elche and the surrounding areas are excellent, and make for a fun day of bargain hunting. For some of the locals markets are a serious business, and you will see them haggling as if their life depended on it. If you think about days of old when poverty was rife for many, this assumption is not far from the truth. Markets in Spain haven't changed much over the years, and many locals will still do the bulk of their fresh produce shopping at the local market. However, in the popular tourist towns, cities and resorts, the products to be found at market are often geared towards visiting holidaymakers. Regardless of this, they still offer a vibrant and colourful outing.
Elche City Markets
Elche has several good markets, but by far the most famous one is only held once a year. This is the fantastic Elche Medieval Market that is a lively affair and a riot to the senses. For our readers who are interested in finding out more, we have covered this in a separate article. Fresh local and regional produce features highly at most of the city centre markets. These are great in the sense they are helping the local small businesses, and if you are in the know, offer excellent value. A handy and cost saving hint when fresh produce shopping is to stay away from pre-packed items. Go for the rough and ready fruit & veg that you need to wash yourself and you will save money.
Mercado Central – The Central Market is located on Av. de la Comunitat Valenciana close to the Vinalopo River. It is open every day except for Sunday from 08am – 2.30pm. On Thursday and Friday it re-opens in the evening from 5.30pm – 09pm. Visitors will find a good variety of fresh produce as well as some tasty cooked food and tapas. Try the delicious dates when in season.
Plaza de Barcelona – This is a neighbourhood food and fresh produce market. It is located on Carrer Mario Pastor Sempre. Again, this popular market is open every day except for Sunday from 07am – 2.30pm. On Friday it re-opens in the evening from 05pm – 09pm. Aside from fresh fruit & veg this market offers cooked food, bakery, butchery and fishmonger produce. Definitely try the super fresh fish and seafood directly from the fish market in nearby Santa Pola.
Plaza de Madrid – Plazas certainly do make good venues for markets. Many offer welcoming shade and most are surrounded by tempting pavement cafes, tapas bars and restaurants. Also located on Carrer Mario Pastor Sempre, Plaza de Madrid is one such market. It is open every day except Sunday from 08am – 02pm. Grab some food from the market and enjoy a family picnic.
Well there certainly is no shortage of wonderful fresh produce in Elche's city markets. However, for non-perishables head a bit further afield where there are some superb general markets. Most villages, towns and cities in Spain have some sort of market. Those that offer a wide range of different products can quite often be found in rural areas where there is enough land to set up. There are literally dozens within an hour's drive from Elche so we will stick with the favourites.
Lemon Tree Market – Located off the CV-895 on the outskirts of Guardamar del Segura, this market gets its endearing name from the surrounding citrus orchards. The market is open all year round and, depending on the season, boasts up to 400 stalls. Market day is Sunday from around 9am – 2pm. Every conceivable type of clothing is available, as is homeware, kitchen utensils, electrical goods, garden and DIY products, tools and a good selection of toys. Of course there is also fresh produce and a lovely social area selling all sorts of drinks and cooked food.
Zoco Market – Located in a rural countryside area not far from Ciudad Quesada, Zoco Market is open every Sunday from 8.30am – 02pm. Here you will find similar offerings to Lemon Tree, and nearby Quesada has some great bars and restaurants, as well a fun water park the kids will love.
Torrevieja Friday Market – This was the largest market in Costa Blanca when it was still located in the city centre. However, for years it was a bone of contention with long suffering residents. Early morning noise, tonnes of rubbish and congested traffic were just some of the issues. It has now moved to Av. Delfina Viudes, behind Aquopolis Water Park. The previous 1,200 odd stalls have been reduced by about a third but still offer an excellent shopping experience. The market is open all year round from 09am – 02pm. Take time to visit Torrevieja's other superb attractions.
Playa Flamenca Market – This is a busy residential area in the hugely popular and large resort area of Orihuela Costa. Situated along Calle Nicolas de Bussi, this popular market is open every Saturday morning from about 09am – 02pm. Hundreds of stalls line the street selling everything from the humble olive to traditional Spanish flamenco dresses for young girls. Orihuela Costa is most certainly worth taking all day to explore. For the size of the area, its beaches boasts the most Blue Flag Awards in all of Spain. Add to that fantastic water sports, four golf courses, lively British and Irish bars, and the huge Zenia Boulevard, and you have a day to remember.