- Written by Irena Bodnarec
Ask any bargain hunter where to head on a Sunday and the unanimous answer will be El Cisne Rastro come Flea market – like a giant car boot but without the cars! It is also on every Thursday and Saturday – but Sunday is by far the busiest and most popular day. Located on the N332, the main road out of Benidorm and next to Benisol Camping, it is very easy to find.
Getting to El Cisne
There are a number of options for getting there: No 10 bus stops right outside, just watch when everyone else gets off; The tram - go to Alfaz del Pi and it is less than 10 minutes to walk or if you are driving, head in the direction of Alfaz/Altea and you will find a huge FREE car-park next door.
Most people start appearing around 11am, after a leisurely Sunday lie-in, but apparently the real bargain hunters are there before 9am, with stall holders already setting up between 7.30 and 8.00am!
El Cisne - a market with a difference
There is certainly something for everyone here; ranging from rare antiques, clothing, a coin dealer, china, electrical items to general junk - you could spend an entire morning riffling through all the stalls.
There is a real cross section of people that visit too - from well dressed local Spanish to casual short & t-shirt British and Dutch holidaymakers, everyone mingles side by side. Many of the stall holders have been there for years – for some it´s a hobby for others a business. You will find quite a lot of antiques at the rastro – with many of the stalls run by ex-antique dealers from the UK... it´s in their blood!
August is probably one of the quietest months visitor wise, as many ex-pats tend to go back to the UK during the very hot Summer months, but all the stalls are still open. One of the most attractive has to be the colourful plant and flower stall or a Dutch cheese stand - which is refridgerated. There is a private security man patrolling the aisles – with so many people pushing and shoving it´s a pickpockets ideal scenario – so be on your guard as you would be at any market.
2 bars at El Cisne
As you spend the morning browsing you can pop by to one of the 2 bars located at the front of the rastro for a much needed drink and snack. There you can have a plate of Spanish paella with bread and I must say there were many people tucking in - it certainly smelt good. If you go on a Thursday the paella is free when you buy a drink!
Free entertainment at El Cisne
To add to the festive atmosphere there is even free entertainment laid on every Sunday. From noon till 1pm there is the ever popular Pablo Bloom - what an amazing voice and entertainer that young man is! His love is 50's music and he wows the audience with renditions of Jersey Boys, Beatles, Chuck Berry as well as current hits in the charts - his range is huge. Those in the audience sing along and even dance as he throws out one toe tapping number after another. Its certainly worth popping along just to hear Pablo sing – but I am sure you´ll be tempted by something too!