Specialist markets needn't be just for collectors and antique dealers. They really are great fun for all and make for a pleasurable day out during a holiday in Elche. Specialist markets can also refer to those with a certain theme such as the famous Elche Medieval Market held each year. The daily markets in Elche city centre mainly offer fresh produce and a selection of cooked food. However, the surrounding markets offer a broad range of products and attract locals and holidaymakers in their droves. If you fancy a day on the beach followed by a tasty seafood BBQ, head for Santa Pola.
Santa Pola Fish Market
The lovely seaside town of Santa Pola is less than 30 minutes drive from Elche and offers superb beaches, water sports and family fun. It also happens to have the largest fishing boat fleet of any port on the entire Mediterranean coast. Yes, this is a seriously fishy town, and we mean that in a good way. Santa Pola's fish market is one of the most famous on Spain's southern coastline. It is located next to the port and is open Monday to Friday from around 05:00pm – 09:00pm.
Get yourself down to the port early to watch the fishing boats race for the harbour with the day's catch. It looks like a fisherman free for all, but is actually a well regimented operation. As soon as one boat pulls into the harbour the day's catch is loaded into crates and weighed. This is all done on a state of the art conveyor system. Buyers sit in tiered stands and the crate's content and weight is displayed on digital screens. These screens also display the initial price deemed by the auctioneer. The price then starts to drop until a buyer shouts their acceptance of a price they think is fair. This is fascinating to watch as, if buyers leave it to late to bid, they quickly lose out. Around the main building are market stalls for the general public to buy some seafood delights.
El Cisne Antiques Market
Also known as Rastro Flea Market, this is a bit of a drive from Elche but can be coupled with a day in Benidorm. The market is located just off the N-332 near the Benisol camping ground. This is on the outskirts of Benidorm when heading north. This is one of those specialist markets that attracts all comers. Not only does it offer delightful antiques, but also local crafts, bric-a-brac, trinkets, clothing, gadgets, plants and flowers. Really, it can be likened to one large car boot sale but without the cars. Main market day is Sunday but it is also open on Thursday and Saturday. Although the antique hunters arrive early, the general public tend to turn up around 11am.
A great feature of the market is the fact that it is held both indoors and outdoors, offering some warmth in winter months. There are two lively bars with a great social scene. Here visitors can also enjoy a choice of snacks or delicious paella. Tuck into a free plate of paella on Thursday's when buying a drink. What is also free is the superb entertainment. Local and guest DJ's spin tunes. Local bands and solo artists also perform, including the ever popular Pablo Bloom. When making the journey from Elche, why not make a day of it. Be sure to check out the excellent beaches, great value bars and restaurants, and vibrant entertainment of Benidorm.