The Central Market
A visit to this market is one of the top food experiences in the city, and the impressive art nouveau building itself is worth checking out, too. Colorful Mediterranean fruit and veg is piled high in stunning displays, countless rows of jamons hang above the heads of stallholders, and the aroma of fresh bread, coffee and oranges hangs in the air. With over 1,000 stalls it’s near-impossible to navigate, but wandering around and not quite knowing what you’ll find next is part of the fun. Every day from Monday-Saturday the market is packed with locals armed with shopping carts beneath the market’s ceramic tiles and its stunning high-dome centrepiece.
Mercat Central, Plaça de la Ciutat de Bruges, Valencia, Spain, +34 963 82 91 00
To the south of the Old City you’ll find the trendy Ruzafa neighborhood. You can’t miss the curious market building – once a drab concrete rectangle, now decorated in all the colors of the rainbow. Inside there’s plenty of color, too. Though this market is much smaller than the central market, it’s said to have a more traditional feel. You’ll find the same excellent-quality fruit, seafood, charcuterie and much more. Make time to stop for a café con leche at one of the many independent café-bars on the surrounding streets and squares.
Mercat de Ruzafa, 11, Plaça del Baró de Cortés, 9, Valencia, Spain, +34 963 74 40 25
Rojas Clemente Market
If you fancy checking out a small market with a very local feel, this is an easy-to-find, central spot (not far from the Central Market) that’s great not only for fresh food, but for its lively surrounding cafés, which use market produce for hearty, traditional tapas and breakfasts. It was built in the ’60s to meet the neighborhood’s apparently insatiable demand for fresh goods, and it looks very ’60s, too; but the atmosphere is the big draw. Don’t expect anything high end or tourist-oriented – or anyone who can speak English – but do expect lots of delicious flavors and friendly stall holders.
Rojas Clemente, Plaça de Rojas Clemente, 1A, Valencia, Spain, +34 963 91 71 97
El Cabanyal Market
While you’re visiting the charming old fishermen’s quarter of El Cabanyal, behind the city beach, take the chance to visit the small, lively neighborhood market and pick up some of the freshest fish around. Of course, it’s not just seafood on offer – you can also find the same great-quality fresh meat, fruit and veg that Valencians expect to find at any local market hall.
A slightly different kind of market, start your Sunday morning in style with a stroll through this vast, weekly, outdoor flea market. Similar markets can be nothing but mounds of bootleg “designer” clothing, but there’s no such problem here as vendors need to be licensed. Dig around for some local treasures: ceramics, fans, traditional wooden toys and even the occasional antique Valencian tile can be unearthed among the jumble of household clutter and VHS tapes. Plus, it’s a great chance to practice your Spanish with the colorful characters at the stalls. Be aware that this is one part of town where you’ll want to take care with valuables. Whatever the weather, the market occupies the immense Mestalla Football Club car park – convenient for any fans wanting to check out the home of Valencia CF.
El Rastro de Valencia, Av. del Cid, 30, Valencia, Spain, +34 963 61 99 45
Fans of architecture and fancy food will love this spot. This beautiful market building south of the Old City district is no longer a working food market; the old stalls have been replaced with rows of chic cafés, craft stalls and a pop-up event space hosting bands or photo exhibitions. Downstairs you’ll find an upmarket deli selling all kinds of amazing charcuterie, cheese, wine and olive oil. Soak up the architecture and atmosphere, enjoy a coffee, pick up some gifts, and if you’re lucky there might be live music, too.
Mercado Colón, Carrer de Jorge Juan, 19, Valencia, Spain, +34 963 37 11 01