Shopping in Orihuela is a pleasurable experience, with many shady squares and plazas to sit for a while and rest aching feet. Being a predominantly Spanish working city, many locals still visit traditional specialist shops for certain items. They may visit the daily produce market for their fruit and vegetables. Delicatessens are hugely popular in Spain and stock a fantastic choice of produce compared to the local supermarkets. Even pharmacies are frequented by some locals for their health & beauty products. Other locals however, and the majority of holidaymakers choose the convenience of supermarket shopping where nearly everything can be found under one roof.
There is a very good reason we mention specialist shops in this article. The fact being, certain daily shopping products in Spain cannot be purchased in a supermarket. Although supermarkets stock health & beauty products, they are forbidden by law to sell any medicines. This includes basic medicine and pills easily available in UK supermarkets like cough syrup or headache tablets. Yes, even paracetamol, asprin or ibuprofen can only be purchased in a pharmacy. On the other side of the coin, certain items that require a prescription in UK can be bought over the counter in Spanish pharmacies. These include strong pain killers and asthma inhalers.
The other shopping products that catch out many a holidaymaker is cigarettes and tobacco. Yet again, these cannot be purchased in supermarkets or even convenience stores. Other than in an official tobacconist, cigarettes can only be bought from dispensing machines in some bars. The most popular specialist shops in Spain are delicatessens. Although all the major supermarkets in Orihuela have a butchery and delicatessen department, they don't have the superior choice found in delicatessens. Spanish delicatessens are a spectacle to behold. Huge haunches of different grades of Serrano hams hang from counter tops. These are interspersed with coils of delicious cured sausages. Other tasty products include cheeses, pickles, preserves and all sorts of olives.
There are three major supermarket chains that service Orihuela City. These are the Spanish owned Mercadona and Consum. The third is the French chain Carrefour that also have Express outlets and large Hypermarkets. Other smaller chains include Dia, Dialprix, Spar and the German owned Lidl. Shopping in Orihuela's supermarkets is a similar experience to most UK ones. General opening hours are 09:00 – 21: 30 with extended hours during peak summer months. The only chain that remains open all day Sunday is Carrefour. Supermarkets are generally modern with wheelchair access and well stocked shelves. Various in-store departments include fresh produce, bakery, butchery, fishmonger and delicatessen. Most staff only speak a little English.
Ociopia Shopping Complex
Being on the outskirts of the city, Ociopia Shopping Complex is somewhat overlooked in favour of the stores and boutiques in the city centre. Due to this many of the centre's new shops do not stand the test of time, often closing within a couple of months of opening. However, it is trying to improve its image and houses a variety of well known high street chains. These include H&M, Bershka, Mango, Fifty Factory, Pull And Bear, Kiddy's Class, Springfield and Stradivarius. Well known sporting goods stores include Sprinter, Decimas and Decathlon. Many of the popular mobile phone stores are represented such as Orange, Vodafone, Game and The Phone House.
For a break from shopping, Ociopia is home to several dining and entertainment venues. A great selection of tapas can be enjoyed at 100 Montaditos. Bombon Boss is a favourite with the young ones and serves sweets, cakes and sandwiches. Bocatería offers a good selection baguettes with a variety of fillings, and for popular fast food there is a Burger King. For day to day foodstuff, the complex houses a Dia Maxi Supermarket. Fun for children can be found in the adventure play area, and Cines Axion boasts multiple screens and favourite movie snacks in the cafeteria.