Markets Around Algorfa
Most people love a Spanish market, and Around Algorfa, we’re fortunate to have several within easy reach. In this feature, we’re going to look at what’s on our doorstep, so we’ll concentrate on our nearest markets, within 10 – 15 minutes’ drive of Algorfa. If you’re looking to explore further afield, there’s a pretty comprehensive list here. If any of the details are incorrect, please take it up with the site owners not me! For more information, check out the local Facebook pages of the area you want to visit, where there’ll be someone who can tell you what you need to know about your planned visit.
As you can see, if you have the time and the inclination, you can go to one or more markets every single day of the week. I choose to concentrate on the local ones, though some of them are small, because, well, this website is called Around Algorfa, and I try to do what it says on the tin! I’ve visited all of these, and I like them all for different reasons. When I first came to Spain, I pretty much marketed myself out, visiting most of the ones within an hour’s drive, but now I tend to stay local, both to save time and fuel and to support local traders as much as possible.
Each Spanish market has its own personality, but they all open around 8.00 am and close by 2.00 pm. Bigger doesn’t always mean better – I’ve been to the small street market in Algorfa and come away with a trolley full of stuff, and gone to the much bigger Zoco market and bought nothing much other than fresh fruit and vegetables. It’s all about what takes your fancy at the time, and if you’re in a spending mood or not. At least, it is with me!
Here’s a run down of our local markets, and my impressions and recommendations. You might have other ideas, of course, so let me know in the comments if you agree or disagree or have a particular favourite stall.
Sunday: El Zoco
The main go-to market for residents and visitors to Algorfa is El Zoco, just off the CV940 San Miguel road. From Algorfa, take the main road past La Finca and Montemar, then head for Montebello. After that, it’s the first exit from the next roundabout. Tip: there are two entrances. If you are disabled, or don’t want to walk too far, ignore the first car park sign on the right and carry on to to the next entrance, past the car park. Along the first aisle are a number of disabled spaces, but only take these if you have a blue badge. The marshalls do check!
I like Zoco for its variety of stalls, including a number of craft stalls you don’t see on other markets. Not a huge selection of fruit and veg, but it is all in one aisle, making it convenient to check out the prices first before purchase. They can vary a lot. A good choice of pit stops for drinks and food too.
I read a lot, and visit the second hand book and jigsaw exchange at the top of the first aisle on the right whenever I go to Zoco. It’s €2.50 per book, and if you take it back in good condition – or any other paperbacks you’ve finished with for that matter – you’ll get €1 back on your next purchase. The stall holder has a memory like the proverbial elephant, so once she knows you, she’ll go straight to the pile of your favourite authors and will also source books if possible. Nothing wrong with the other book swap stalls, which have similar arrangements, but this is my favourite.
Benijofar market is much smaller than Zoco, but it’s easily accessed from the main Algorfa – Benijofar road with plenty of parking in the service road adjacent to the market area. This is a good one for people with mobility scooters as the ground is level and the aisles between the stalls are nice and wide. It doesn’t attract the big crowds like Zoco, and although there’s only one refreshment stall, just up the road in Benijofar there’s plenty of choice of eateries and some lovely independent shops. It’s close enough to walk into the town, so you don’t have the headache of parking conveniently.
Benijofar is a market to take in as part of your day, rather than a destination for a dedicated shopping trip, but the prices are good, and for the size of the market, there’s a good selection of fruit and veg and other goods. It tends to grow bigger in the summer months.
Algorfa’s midweek market is just off Calle Mayor, in Calle Fernando Rojas, on the opposite side of Calle Mayor to the Cultural Centre. It’s small, yes, but the prices and selection of fruit and veg are excellent, and if you live in Algorfa, you’re sure to meet up with familiar faces. When the shopping’s done, head into the square for something to eat and/or drink. We can actually spend longer away from home on a trip to Algorfa market than at Zoco! Only a few stalls, but a good mix of products.
Size wise, Rojales is about midway between Zoco and Benijofar. Keep to the right of the river on the Benijofar – Rojales road then you’ll find the market on the left as you make your way towards La Marquesa Golf Course. Parking can be a bit hit and miss, and you may have to pass the market and turn around at the golf course for a second stab at parking, or park a bit of a distance away, so it might not be convenient for those with mobility issues.
Rojales is a typical Spanish market, with a good selection of fruit and veg, clothes, bags, shoes and stuff for the home. There’s a big stall with cushions for outdoor furniture at excellent prices, which are typically cheaper than other markets, as are many of the clothes and shoes.
Benejuzar is the next town to Algorfa, in the opposite direction to Benijofar. Head along Avenida Maria del Mar Rodriguez, past Cecilia Apartments and the Ermita. Confession time here – I lied when I said I’d visited all the markets. Only found out about this market recently, but I’m told it’s excellent. Like Algorfa, it’s small but good on prices, and there are some good independent shops, cafes and bars to check out locally too. It’s in the Plaza de España, and I’m in the UK as I write, but as soon as I’m home in Algorfa, I’ll do a research trip and update this section.
Coming from La Finca, go across the traffic lights at the bottom of the hill in Algorfa and keep going and you’ll be in Almoradi in just a few minutes. The Saturday street market is one of the biggest in the area, and the choice of fruit and veg will blow your mind. You’ll probably come back with enough to feed your whole urbanisation for a week with change from €20! Well, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the picture.
If you’re into crafts and sewing, there are a number of good material and haberdashery stalls. Plants and flowers are very good and reasonably priced too. We have a fig tree in the garden that visiting friends bought us almost 15 years ago for not much more than the price of a pot plant, and it’s still going strong. Our lemon tree came from there around the same time and that’s very productive too.
You can buy pretty much anything you can think of, as well as lots you never thought you needed in Almoradi market, so take plenty of cash and allow a whole morning to do it justice. Don’t want to cook after all that shopping, and can’t find a seat in a bar or cafe you like? Pick up a paella or a cooked chicken to eat at home. My neighbour is a great cook and very fussy about buying ready prepared food, but they always come away from Almoradi market with a paella or a chicken – sometimes both!
As you can see, we’re fortunate with our selection of markets Around Algorfa. Remember they can be crowded, so make it difficult for the pickpockets by keeping your cash and cards safe. And if you’re going to Almoradi or Zoco for the first time, it’s a good idea to look for a landmark to remind you where you parked the car. Maybe take a photo of a street sign or a distinctive feature as a reminder. On our first trip to Almoradi, it took us almost an hour to find the car afterwards!