Valencia is foodie paradise where fresh, local and seasonal produce has great importance. Locals ditch the supermarkets and source their fruit and vegetables from the city’s popular market halls, where the quality is markedly higher. These traditional markets are supplied by Valencia’s huerta, the miles of lush market gardens surrounding the city. As a visitor, the markets are also a great opportunity to get a taste of local life, and brush up on your Spanish too. Here’s our pick of the best markets in the city.
A visit to this incredible palace of food is one of the top food experiences in Valencia. This huge Art Nouveau building in the Old Town is home to one of Europe’s oldest food markets, opened in 1928. The traditions of the market are still very much alive; every weekday and Saturday the market is packed with locals shopping for fresh produce, and you can’t get better than the fruit and vegetables sold here. Local traders whose families have held stalls here for generations create wondrous displays of produce showcasing the best of every season. Fruit and veg can be a little pricier here than elsewhere, but good deals can also be had, and the experience of shopping here can’t be beaten. It’s worth seeing for the architecture alone, with stunning ceramic tiles on the walls and a grand domed roof as the centrepiece.
Substantially smaller than the Central Market but with a more local feel, this colourful building is right in the heart of the trendy Ruzafa district. Inside, not much has changed in decades and it’s simply a fantastic place to shop for fresh, quality produce and friendly service – though not many of the stallholders speak English. Make time for lunch at one of the cafes nearby, most of which buy their ingredients at the market.
If you want to experience shopping at a smaller city market with a very local feel, this is a central spot selling amazing fresh fruit and veg. Don’t expect anything fancy or tourist-oriented, or anyone to speak much English, but do expect great quality produce and friendly stall holders. It’s just a short walk from the Central Market and the rest of the Old Town sights. In the small, pretty streets radiating from the market square you’ll find no end of excellent family-run cafes, bars and restaurants serving up real Valencian cuisine.
If you’re staying near Aragon on the eastern side of Valencia, make sure to visit your local neighbourhood market. This is probably the friendliest market in town and, while small, there’s a good selection of everything here including fresh fruit and vegetables in abundance. No one’s in a hurry here, so stay a while and sip a cafe con leche with the locals at one of the market’s cafe-bars.
No trip to Valencia is complete without a day at the beach and a stroll around the curious old fishermen’s quarter of El Cabanyal. While there, don’t miss the lively neighbourhood market. As you might expect seafood is the star of the show here, but every Valencian market stocks excellent fruit and veg, and this is no exception.