No trip to Benidorm—especially in the winter months—would be complete without a visit to the Indoor Market located at Av Ametlla de Mar in the Rincon de Loix.
Apart from featuring a vast array of stalls offering everything from bling to bed linen, and curtains to candy, the Indoor Market is the place to visit should you need help with a mobile phone or computer problems, want to sink your teeth into a delectable, Brit-styled meat pie or simply go bargain-hunting.
The first thing you’ll notice when you enter the building via the main entrance is the five-star rated Carnicería Melchor, run by father and son—Melchor and David.
Melchor, who opened his butchery in 1979 has been witness to many changes in the indoor market over the years.
He told me that the original market—called Mercaloix— was totally Spanish in ambiance when it opened half a century ago. It was home to butchers, fishmongers, and shops selling a variety of other comestibles. It also had cafes, bars and restaurants—and still does.
But from 2000 onward Brits, and people of other nationalities started renting stalls and began giving the market an international flavour.
Andy, the Phone Man
One of the earliest newcomers to the market was Andy Fernando Alverez Brown, above, who set up a stall 25 years ago, and today is Benidorm’s go-to guy for anything to do with mobile phones and computers. Few in the ex-pat community are unaware of “Andy, the Phone Man”, and many—myself included—have called on his expertise and walked away happy.
Health and vape store
My next port of call was to a health and vape store, Nova 89, run by Albir resident, Joan, Nicholson, who set up a store selling mainly German lotions and other health-related products. Then, 12 years ago, when people started cottoning onto the fact that smoking was far more dangerous than e-cigarettes, she began selling vaping products. Hers was one of the first vape stores to open in the city.
Then, to meet the demand of those wanting vape juices that contain health-giving CBD oil which can be inhaled with e-cigs or taken orally, she introduced a variety of cannabidiol oil products that complement her wide range of “mods”, a term used to describe electronic cigarettes.
Benidorm Top Trips
My tour of the market this week of the 100 or so stalls led to the discovery of Benidorm Top Trips, run by market newcomers Gail Jewkes and Geoff Gartland.
Gail has a wealth of experience in the travel industry. After she settled in Spain 13 years ago, she decided to branch out on her own and launched a business that sells tickets to all of the many attractions on offer in Benidorm and its surroundings.
“We are in full post-Covid recovery mode,” Gail told me, “and we are attracting a lot of attention from visitors to the market. Those who have made use of our service have returned to book the excursions we offer, and tickets we sell for a variety of attractions.
Exploring the market further, I found that, although very much British in appearance, it is home to many enterprises run by a variety of people of nationalities other than British or Spanish. They sell perfumes, Aloe Vera products, fashion, souvenirs and books, or operate bars, restaurants, hairdressers, key cutters, shoe repairs and more.
There’s even a section containing a large Garra Rufa foot spa, where “doctor fish” nibble dead skin from one’s feet.
You may enter not intending to spend a cent at the Benidorm indoor market, but I guarantee you leave with something you couldn’t resist, even if it’s just a fridge magnet … or one or more of Melchor’s succulent pies.
Today more than 1,000 people visit the Benidorm indoor market each day. It is open six days a week from 9 am to 6 pm.
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