Benidorm, Spain used to have a bad reputation. Once known for its influx of low-class British tourists, its cheesy bars and restaurants and its influx of cheap Chinese shops, Benidorm has come up in the world in recent years. Not only does it have some excellent hotels, beautiful beachside bars and cafes, and some incredible restaurants, it’s also a fabulous place to shop. If you’re planning on a trip or a vacation in Benidorm, Spain, ignore all the el cheapo cheesy stuff and shops for these best five things. You’ll get great deals, good quality and have lots of fun.
Leather Shoes, Belts, Bags and Accessories – Even when I used to visit Spain 20 years ago, it was always known for its good quality leather. In the 21st century this hasn’t changed, with Spain boasting some of the best quality leather shoes, belts and accessories in Europe.
In Benidorm, look for shops selling leather shoes and boots, leather belts, wallets, bags, even coats and jackets. Look carefully enough, and you’ll find shops selling leather shoes for as cheap as 3 Euros ($4.10), leather belts for 5 Euros ($6.80) and beautiful all-leather bags for 10 Euros ($13.20). Just make sure you buy the bags made in Spain and not the cheap knock-offs from China.
Cheeses and Sausages – Okay, so I love Spanish food and, when I get to Benidorm, one of the first things I buy is Spanish cheeses and sausages. Look for massive sealed packages of cheeses in Benidorm supermarkets like “Mercadona’, or buy it from one of the city’s many cheese shops. In the cheese shops, you’ll find thirty, forty, fifty or a hundred different types of cheese – everything from smoked to mature – and at a fraction of the cost of the UK or America. There’s nothing like a big slab of Spanish cheese on a fresh, chewy baguette and a cup of cafe con leche. Just lovely.
Spanish sausage too is all over Benidorm. In butcher’s shops, specialty sausage stores or at the supermarket. Buy it cured as full, long sausages, buy it dried in packets at the supermarket, or cut into slices. Perfect for a good sandwich, for pizza topping or just to nibble on with a couple of crackers and a glass of wine. Yum.
Baby Clothes – Another best thing to buy in Benidorm is baby clothing. Absolutely gorgeous, handmade clothing is available all over the city, in lovely European-chic styles and at prices 25% of what you’d pay in the US for similar quality clothes. Look for the little outfits with hand-embroidered skirts, hand-smocked bibs or European designer style. You’ll find outfits as cheap as 3 Euros ($4.10) for something you’d pay at least $15 for in the UK or US. Great for gifts or, if you’re planning a family, stock up on chic baby clothes so your baby-to-be is the talk of the neighborhood.
Costume Jewelry – Look for chunky bracelets, silver earrings, wooden hand-carved bangles, strands of beads, funky rings and even delicate ankle chains. You’ll find bracelets as cheap as 1 Euro ($1.14), beaded necklaces for 2 Euros ($2.28) and even silver earrings for less than five dollars.
Wine and Spirits – Of course, in this day and age with the paranoia about terrorism, it’s a pain in the rear to transport bottles of wine and spirits back on the plane. But, if you’re in Benidorm, buy wine and spirits and make the extra effort to get it back home if you can, even if it means shoving it in your suitcase. It’s worth it.
At Benidorm’s supermarkets and wine shops, you’ll find table wine as cheap as 1 Euro ($1.14) a bottle (and it’s not the gut-rot stuff you find in the US), bottles of good wine for 7 Euros ($7.98), fancy bottles of liquors starting at 3 Euros ($3.42) and even gin, vodka and brandy at less than $6 for a good bottle.
Let’s face it, even if you can’t transport it back home, you can always drink it in your hotel room. It’s so cheap you shouldn’t pass it up.
Photo – Wine bottles at one of Benidorm’s supermarkets