In Spain and the Costa Blanca, the longest-standing traders of the area tend to sell their wares at local markets.
They can normally be counted on for quality products and their customer attention combines a friendly, familiar attitude with professionalism. This type of business
combines many of the standards of the old days with the advantages of modern times (quality and health and safety conditions) to provide fresh, healthy and tasty food.
Those are the conventional markets, usually focused on food. There are, though, other types of market which arose and started gaining ground after vendors noted the power of joining together to share a common space. They are dedicated to other sectors and the ones which interest us the most today are those focused on selling second hand products, the so called flea markets. There are quite a few in the area but the ones in Polop and La Nucia have central roles due to their age and personalities.
But… what defines a flea market?
- They tend to be outside the town centre. Normally they occupy streets or open air areas adjacent to the main streets. This allows them to be easily reached by public or private transport.
- Being on the outskirts doesn’t mean they don’t have all the municipal services such as drainage, cleaning and electricity.
- The prices tend to be very affordable, lower than at other markets and shops or conventional commercial centres.
- They invite us to explore. As opposed to normal markets which tend to sell just clothes and food, at a flea market you can find almost anything. Even antiques of the most diverse and unexpected nature.
A flea market, therefore, isn’t just a place where certain products can be purchased, it is actually a place where you can lose yourself and find things you were looking for, things you had given up looking for or things you never expected to look for and suddenly are surprised to have found.
One of the ones that stands out the most is the flea market in La Nucia, which is the result of two aspects which have lived marvellously hand in hand for some time on the Costa Blanca: entrepreneurism and integration. In short, the power of the foreign community. It was thought up by Jorge Beer, a Swedish man who had a karting business and, in 1982, decided to set up a market, at that point with a provisional permit, to attract more people to his bar on the outskirts of the town centre. He chose a Sunday to encourage more people to visit.
And he achieved it. Probably for various reasons: because it was a day off and because the good weather invites one to get outside, wander about and look around almost all year round.
La Nucia and its flea market have become an unavoidable tourist attraction
Moreover, as time went by and more and more traders arrived the chances of finding almost anything increased.
In short, that apparently slightly crazy idea of Beer’s was such a great success that, not long afterwards, it became a tourist attraction. As time went by it became an example for others and one of the most important markets in the area. The markets of La Nucia and Polop are a magnet which attracts visitors to the inland areas which, not too far from the sea, enjoy tranquillity and all them advantages of being quite close to the sea and the beaches without the crowds of tourists.
That’s why at ModernHouse we quickly realised that, with that extra attraction, it was the perfect place for a project to meet the requirements of the most discerning customers.
Polop is also a good place to lose ourselves. Its flea market isn’t as big as its neighbour La Nucia’s, but crafts, antiques and curious objects are among its strong points. That’s why it’s the most authentic of the flea markets and remains faithful to the spirit of exploring which is such an important part of the attraction of this type of market. Another attraction is its specific section for fresh country produce, from the so calle La Marina vegetable garden, which is one of the best ways to promote the area. Another characteristic of Polop’s flea market is that it attracts visitors from all over the region, especially from nearby Altea and Benidorm even though the latter has its very own unique market, El Cisne (the swan).
El Cisne, in Benidorm, is another fine example on the charming market route
The diversity of this flea market guide can take us, among other places, to Xábia, Pedreguer, El Verguer, Dénia or el Xaló. They are smaller markets but they all have their own personality and
- Xábia: a great variety of textiles and clothing can be found.
- Pedreguer: food, clothes and music have found their place.
- El Verguer: fresh food from the vegetable plot are a good reason not to miss it.
- Dénia: this one opens two days per week: Mondays are more dedicated to clothes, food and household goods while Fridays used (second hand) goods and antiques are sold.
- El Xaló: as well as antiques, it’s ideal for collectors (it has many stalls specialising in stamps, coins or notes) and its location, close to the local ‘cooperative’ visitors can stop off for reasonably priced wine and local oil at the same time.
But the El Cisne flea market is, without a doubt, another reference point on this unusual guide of charming markets. Held in Benidorm, it is a place where many foreigners go. Both those who have already decided to live here and those who are visiting the Costa Blanca and don’t want to miss any of the charms of a land which is about much more than just sea and sand.
Traditionally, at El Cisne, a large portion of customers are of British, Irish and Dutch nationality. That’s why they decided to honour both communities by celebrating two annual festivities.
One is held to honour Holland Day on May 1 and the other is St Patrick’s Day on March 17.
Two days of parties for two nationalities which have lived in harmony on the Costa Blanca for some time and which are increasingly setting up home in the northern area, with Alicante as the capital, Benidorm as the tourist magnet and the inland region with villages like Polop and La Nucia ever more consolidated on the tourist attraction routes. Because the sea doesn’t stop at the beach and the seafront promenade, its essence reaches the inland areas which are close to hand and provide that attractive and necessary counterpoint.