Visit Valencia’s Central Market (Mercat Central) to experience the sights, sounds and smells of a bustling food market. Sample everything from fresh fruit and vegetables to cheeses and cured meats. Opened in 1928 by King Alfonso XIII, today the market is home to around 1,000 stalls and is one of the oldest-running food markets in Europe.
A good time to visit the market is during the morning when you can watch the traders meticulously set up their stands. While enjoying a pastry from one of the bakeries, observe as the market fills up with both locals and tourists.
The market has sections dedicated to each different type of fresh food products. In the fruit section pick up a tray of mixed fruits or a freshly squeezed juice to enjoy as you walk around the market. Find salmon, lobsters and crabs in the fish market. Meat lovers will appreciate the stands offering cured hams and salamis; ask for a sample before you buy. Pass by the offal stands to see every imaginable part of the pig.
Take a seat at the food stands outside the market and try traditional Spanish food, including tapas and paella. You’ll also find candy and artisanal ice cream stands plus traders selling cookware and souvenirs.
Architecture enthusiasts will enjoy taking photos of the market’s building, characterized by stained-glass windows and iron and glass domes. Alejandro Soler March and Francisco Guardia Vial, two Barcelona-trained architects, built it between 1914 and 1928. Look for the green parrot perched atop one of the building’s domes; it symbolizes the conversations and bustle inside the market.
Located in Valencia’s Old Town, Central Market is within walking distance of major city attractions. If you are driving here, use the market’s indoor parking lot. Collect points while you shop and exchange them for a parking ticket before you leave. See the market’s official website for further information.
Central Market is open from Monday to Saturday from early morning to mid-afternoon. Admission is free.