“Brilliant …we loved the authenticity” “I could come here everyday” “Every kind of food you can imagine! Always fresh and delicious!” These are just some of the comments made by visitors to Valencia’s Central Market, which has proudly taken first place on Trip Advisor’s list of attractions in the city.
Housed in a breathtaking historical building beside La Lonja and offering a very large slice of authentic Valencia life, it’s no wonder the market is so popular. This is a place where the food is delectable, the activity is buzzing and the surroundings are just beautiful. The market’s exterior features a towering arched façade with exposed brick- and stonework and intricate ceramic tiles, while the interior Modernist style features colourful tiles and beautiful arched stained glass windows reminiscent of a cathedral. Iron, glass and ceramic domes also feature within the beautiful architecture, showing why so many flock to see this landmark building.
As one of the oldest markets in Europe and the largest of its kind on the continent today, there’s also a great history here. Initially used as the site for a travelling street market, the outdoor Mercado Nuevo opened in 1839 and the current Mercat Central was built from 1914 and inaugurated in January 1928.
“If you’re a foodie, don’t miss this!”
Indeed there is a great atmosphere and real sense of history permeating the market today. It’s home to nearly 400 small boutique and artisan traders, who come six days a week to sell their range of fresh produce from 7 in the morning until 3pm.
From fruit and veg in every colour of the rainbow to the mountains of fresh fish lying across beds of ice and some rather explicit meat displays, the market is a foodie heaven. It’s the ideal place to soak up the personality of Valencia past and present and buy some local specialties – spices and olive oil are a great choice if you fancy taking home a souvenir. Also take the chance to try some orange juice and a local specialty from one of the many patisseries in the bakery section.
If you fancy a visit to tapas heaven, and all the free samples from the stallholders haven’t filled you up, a visit to Central Bar is a must. As the brainchild of celebrated chef Ricardo Camarena, it offers wonderful, imaginative food at a great price. There are also a number of coffee shops and cafes around the market where you can sit and enjoy the very bustling world go by whilst street entertainers do their utmost to impress you.
And as a final tip, why not experience the market the way these happy TripAdvisor reviews did; in the cafes around the centre, mingling with the locals. “We started each day with tea, toast with tomato and fresh orange, a traditional local breakfast, watching market workers and tourists go about their business.”
That sounds pretty good to us.
The Central Market is open Mondays-Saturdays from 7am-3pm