With so many holidaymakers visiting Benidorm each year and an ever increasing amount of foreign expats making the city their home, there are excellent shopping opportunities throughout the city and Old Town. Spain is still a country steeped in tradition, and although it has a modern infrastructure with large shopping complexes and efficient, well stocked supermarkets, many Spaniards still favour speciality shops and local produce markets for buying much of their weekly shopping.
Surprisingly for the size of the city, Benidorm only has one main shopping Complex called Centro Comercial La Marina. The shopping centre is a pleasure to wonder around with great services, wheelchair access throughout, seating areas and a whole host of shops, boutiques, cafes, bars and restaurants.
The centre boasts a good selection of high street brand stores such as C&A, Zara, Zara Home, H&M, Oysho, Mango, Jack & Jones, Guess and Sprinter. The lower level has a coffe shop, ice cream parlour and popular Foster’s Hollywood Restaurant but it is the upper level that offers the most restaurants and entertainment. Here you will find a good selection of restaurants and popular fast food outlets such as Burger King and Mr. Kebap. There is also a large children’s play area with entertainment, 10 pin bowling and a cinema complex.
Commercial Centres seem to be a popular trend in Spain and offer a different shopping experience to other countries such as England for instance. England has its cities surrounded by small towns and villages, all with a selection of services and shops, often located on the high street. Many of Spain’s cities and towns are spread wide apart with large residential areas, each having at least one commercial centre where all the services and shops are in the same complex.
This provides for handy shopping and most centres will have a small supermarket, shops, banks, hair dressers, estate agents, pharmacy and a good selection of bars and restaurants. Most visitors to Benidorm stay in or close to the city centre so they are within walking distance to beaches, shops, bars and restaurants but if you are staying in one of the outer lying residential areas, i’m sure you will become familiar with your local commercial centre.
Many first time visitors to Benidorm make the mistake of wasting luggage space by filling their suitcases with their favourite treats from home, thinking they won’t find similar items in Benidorm’s shops and supermarkets. Well, for most items this is not the case and Spanish supermarkets have a surprising amount of imported goods on their shelves or the exact same items produced locally.
The larger supermarkets such as Carrefour, Mercadona, Consum, Masymas, Lidl and Aldi all have excellent fresh produce departments such as fruit & veg, dairy, bakery, delicatessen, meat and fish. The outlets are usually modern and bright with well stocked shelves, large refrigerated and frozen sections, wheelchair access and in some cases free parking. Benidorm also has a good amount of 24hr mini marts which are handy to do a bit of late night shopping or grab a bite to eat or some beers if your plane has arrived in the early hours of the morning.
Speciality shops are much loved by Spaniards and they will travel across the city just to find a certain variety of Serrano ham, cheese or olive. These type of products can be bought in supermarkets but not to the standard and quality of a charcuteria (delicatessen) that stock a delightful selection of decadent produce. Funnily enough, we class pharmacies and tobacconists as speciality shops due to the fact that any type of medicine or tobacco product cannot be bought in a shop or supermarket in Spain.
With the great mix of nationalities visiting and living in Benidorm, there are a number of shops catering to individual countries and you can find British newsagents, Polish shops, Scandinavian shops and the good old ‘Chino’ which are found throughout the city and range from small corner shops to huge warehouse like structures that stock a mind boggling assortment of goods, from groceries and toys to homeware and garden furniture. There are also specialist toy shops, organic health shops, olive oil societies and cannabis clubs.
Spain is famous for its markets which can be found even in the remotest villages and still play an important role in Spanish day to day life. Benidorm’s main market is held on Wednesday and Saturday mornings and brings in crowds from far and wide. Located near Hotel Pueblo, the market is huge and its stalls are filled with everything from Traditional Spanish flamenco dresses to designer ‘knock off’ gear.
There is an indoor market located on the corner of Calle Gerona and opposite the KFC. This is more of a collection of small specialist shops than actual market stalls where you will find a British bakery/cafe, butchery, fashion shops, hair & beauty salon, postal service, money exchange and a leather goods and accessories shop. A favourite market with collectors and antique dealers is the delightful El Cisne Flea Market held every Sunday and one Saturday of the month that offers all sorts of trinkets, arts & crafts, jewellery, clothing and antiques.