The appeal of buying second-hand and vintage is yet to reach much of Spain. So you might be surprised to find that Valencia is home to many good vintage clothing shops, clustered along the cobbled lanes around Plaza del Doctor Collado, close to the Mercado Central
. But if you really have the eye of a magpie, or are looking for cheap antiques, you may prefer to go bargain hunting at the city’s vintage flea markets. There are only a handful so far, but they seem to be growing in popularity.
Topping our list and a great place to start a lazy Sunday morning is this huge weekly outdoor market. Vendors are licensed – which eliminates the usual mounds of bootleg clothing – and the market retains a very authentic and eclectic feel. You’re likely to unearth unusual toys, traditional ceramics and even antique Valencian tiles among the usual, amusing mix of 80s’ LPs, one-euro garments and rusty farming implements. The vendors are as colorful as their stalls so it’s a glorious place to meet a few local characters and soak up the atmosphere while you’re checking out the antiques and house-clearance dealers. There’s no food for sale but the nearby streets have a plethora of cafés. The market is policed, but be aware that this is one part of town in which you’ll want to keep one eye on your valuables. Come rain or shine, the market occupies the immense Mestalla Football Club car park – so it’s also 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
Second-hand market in Valencia © Alison Allum
The artsy district of Ruzafa is a natural starting point for any curious vintage shopper, and it doesn’t disappoint. A monthly pop-up market is held on Sunday mornings at El Patio, a versatile space next door to the much-loved UBIK café and bookshop. Called Il Market, it’s run by local event organizers Il Quartiere. The narrow corridor leads you to a sunny hideaway packed with table-top stalls mainly selling second hand women’s clothing, shoes and bags. Good finds include leather jackets, denim, designer labels and up-cycled vintage fabric bags and purses. El Patio is famed for its Sunday lunch paella and you can enjoy watching the chefs cooking up a feast on giant gas rings at the back of the garden. Ruzafa is delightfully peaceful on Sundays, so this is the perfect time to stroll around and soak up its famous pueblo (village) atmosphere.
Calle Literato Azorín, 13-Bajo Derecha, Valencia, Spain, +34 665 15 18 94
Il Market, second hand market in Valencia. Photo courtesy of Il Quartiere
Well known throughout the city for its live music, Radio City is a popular night spot. Sunday afternoons have recently seen the club open its doors to another type of event, welcoming shoppers who want to browse a wide range of vintage and craft stalls. There’s a good choice of retro clothing, especially 80s’ wear, as well as prints and postcards, and the stalls are well presented. You can grab a drink from the bar while you wander, or chat over a dish of house paella. The schedule for this relatively new event is somewhat erratic, so check the website for details of the next market. This is the most central of the markets, although the smallest, but if you’re out and about in the Old City area enjoying the café-bars around Plaza Tossal, pop in and bag yourself an original souvenir from your trip to Valencia.