Welcome to La Ribera Market: Europe's Largest Indoor Market

Photo of Esme Fox
26 July 2017

With over 10,000m² (110,000 sq ft), La Ribera Market is Europe’s largest indoor market for market stalls. Located within Casco Viejo (Old Town) in the Basque city of Bilbao, the market is filled with stands of local fresh produce, bars and restaurants – a must-visit when in the city.

History of La Ribera Market

The market, originally built in 1929, was designed in art-deco style by architect Pedro Ispizua. The structure fuses stained glass, latticework and decorative plaster to create a grand effect. It was construction without interior columns and has large open spaces, good ventilation and lots of natural light.

La Ribera Market, Bilbao, before its reforms | ©Jean-Pierre Dalbéra / Wikimedia Commons

In 1983, the whole of the Basque Vizcaya region and Bilbao suffered severe flooding, and the market was badly damaged. The next few years were spent fixing the damages and modernising the market until in was completed in 1990. La Ribera was renovated again in 2008, and the grand structure seen today was finally established in 2010. Repainted in red and white and with gleaming stained glass, it offers over 10,000 metres (110,000 sq ft) of space, plus a terrace and tow path area next to the river.

La Ribera Market Bilbao | ©Zarateman / Wikimedia Commons

Local produce

The market is filled with local produce from all over the Vizcaya region and the Basque Country, much of it sold directly from the farmers themselves. The ground floor is dedicated to fresh and frozen fish and seafood, which the market has become famous for. Go up one level to the butchers and deli counters, which carry everything from Basque cheeses and cured meats to pastries and jams to pickles and olives. Head up another level for the fruit and vegetable stalls, mushrooms stands, a florist and seed vendors.

Mercado de la Ribera, Bilbao | ©Naotake Murayama / Wikimedia Commons
Mercado_de_la_Ribera,_Casco_Viejo,_Bilbao | © Naotake Murayama / Wikimedia Commons

It’s not all about market stalls

The new Ribera Market is, surprisingly, not all about market stalls – it has transformed into somewhat of a gastronomic and leisure centre, featuring bars and restaurants. Its main bar and restaurant offers a wide menu of breakfasts, brunches, pintxos, entrées and cocktails. Live music performances by local jazz bands and a calendar of cultural events are also regularly held here.

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