Alicante’s thriving industrial sector has in no way acted as a brake on its deep-rooted handicrafts tradition,
which continues to produce goods with great tourist appeal. The oldest artisan activity is that of pottery and
ceramics, with production centred on the towns of Biar, Onil, Agost and Orba. While a visit to these parts is
interesting in itself, the local handmade products can be acquired in many of the province’s resorts.
The catalogue of items produced includes everything from traditional two-spouted water jars (botijos) to large
amphora-like earthenware wine vats (tinajas), not forgetting to mention pitchers (cántaros), mortars (morteros)
and water ewers (aguamaniles). The same applies to basketry items made of esparto grass, osier, rush and palmetto.
Gata de Gorgos is the main manufacturing and sales centre, but wickerwork furniture, straw hats and baskets can be
purchased all along the coast. Elx produces the symbolic palm decorations for Palm Sunday, while Callosa de Segura
and Cox make the typical esparto-grass and canvas alpargatas (Spanish version of the French espadrille).
Similarly, where textiles are concerned, an attractive range of handiwork is on offer. Shopping for embroidery and
needlework is typical in San Juan, whilst the towns of Monóvar, Algueña, Novelda, Pinoso and La Romana sell handmade
lacework (encaje de bolillo). In Guadalest and the surrounding area, knitted garments made of brightly coloured wool
are the main mementos on sale.
Wrought ironwork tends to be localised in the Denia, Agres, Villena, Torrevieja and El Campello areas. Using traditional
techniques, Alcoy continues to manufacture blunderbuses (trabucos) for use in fiestas.
Santa Pola and Torrevieja specialise, in the former case in objects made of seashells, and in the latter case, in
tiny boats overlaid with salt crystal taken from the neighbouring salt-pans. The old Pinoso and Monóvar wineries
produce wines which, thanks to the quality of the barrels, bouquet and taste, are the most famous of those sold
under the Alicante Seal of Origin (Denominación de Origen, equivalent to the French Appellation d’Origine Contrôleé).
Other items to be bought on the Costa Blanca include dolls from Ibi and Onil, rugs and carpets from Crevillente,
turrón and ice-cream from Jijona, and footwear from Elche, Elda and Villena.