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Alicante - Shopping

Shopping in Alicante compares favourably with other international cities, with most essentials readily available. Food-wise, Alicante is conscious of its many foreign residents and visitors and favourites from home are easily found, either through the main supermarkets or specialist expat shops. Some specific foods may prove to be a bit more expensive than traditional Spanish items, but food shopping generally is often cheaper than many British or American residents are used to at home, although with the increasing strength of the Euro, this is becoming less so. However, after a few months earning euros rather than the home currency, this difference becomes unimportant.

Among the larger hypermarkets in the area are Carrefour and Al Campo which are situated within the main shopping centres. These have specific sections which include international food and items not available in the smaller supermarkets. Some familiar European names can be seen locally such as Aldi, Lidl and Spar, as well as a number of other spanish supermarket chains such as Mercadona, Maxcoop and Mas y Mas. Even some of the smaller supermarkets have an impressive range of fresh produce, many including large meat and fish counters.

Many supermarkets offer free home delivery for purchases over a certain amount, usually 50 euros. Internet shopping is also becoming more popular with some supermarkets such as Mercadona offering a full ordering service online, and delivery for a nominal charge and at a time chosen by the buyer.

English reading material, such as international newspapers and magazines, are widely available, often in small newsagents on street corners as well as the larger shopping centres. English language books are also available within department stores and hypermarkets, where separate sections are often set aside.

For markets and traditional items, visit La Rambla, which has a host of smaller boutique shops selling jewellery, clothes and shoes. For high street chain stores, the area of Maisonnave has the major chains, including Spain's largest chain of department stores, El Corte Ingles which sells everything from electrical items to designer clothes labels.

There are also a number of shopping centres in Alicante. The most impressive is The Panoramis Complex situated in the marina, and is open 24 hours a day. As well as shops, the centre has a cinema, bars and restaurants, all with a panoramic view of the sea.

For the freshest in produce, a visit to the Mercado Central (Central market) in the Avenida de Alfonso el Sabio is a must, which sells fruit, vegetables, meat and fish from local providers and is housed in an impressive modernist building built in 1921. Behind the Mercado Central is the city's flower market and a range of cafes in which to take in the view, and the scent.

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Bupa Global

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