Valencia is the third-largest city in Spain, after its neighbors Madrid and Barcelona. It is known for its stunning architecture, rich culture, history, and vibrant nightlife scene. One place where this is most evident is the Valencia Central Market (or the Mercado Central de Valencia in Spanish).
No visit to Valencia would be complete without a visit to the Valencia Central Market . This market is the largest of Valencia’s markets and is one of the best free things to do in Valencia. Located in the heart of Valencia’s Old Town, the market is one of the oldest markets still in use in Europe, and it has been declared a “Heritage of Cultural Interest” by the Spanish government.
Whether you’re looking for a culinary adventure, want to be impressed by stunning architecture, or shop for souvenirs, the Valencia Central Market will definitely not disappoint you.
Brief History of the Valencia Central Market
The Valencia Market started out as an open-air market in 1839 (known then as the Mercat Nou). But towards the end of the 19th century, the city’s authorities were looking to build an indoor market space. They sponsored a contest for the construction of a new roofed market.
In the end, the competition was won by architects Alexandre Soler and Francesc Guardia Vidal who collaborated with Lluis Domenech i Montaner. Construction began in 1910, but was put on hold for a while. The market was finally completed after 14 years in 1928 by Valencian Architect, Enrique Viedma Vidal. The result is a stunning cathedral-like space that combines modern Valencian Art Nouveau and Valencian Gothic architecture styles.
About the Valencia Central Market
Below you’ll find a few interesting facts about Central Market Valencia that may be useful for your visit.
Valencia Market Location
The Valencia Market is located in the El Mercat neighborhood of Valencia, a 2-minute walk from the Unesco World Heritage Site of La Lonja de la Seda. The market covers over 86 000 square feet over two floors. And from a distance, the market looks more like a Cathedral than a public market.
The market building combines a unique mix of materials, including ceramics, wood, steel, and stained glass to give it its unique look.
Stalls in the Valencia Market
The market has over 1200 stalls that sell fresh produce, especially tomatoes, oranges, and beans. You’ll also find meat, fish (including some exotic species such as live Eel), cheese, spices, nuts, perfume, and a few souvenir shops.
The Market is also one of the city’s most important culinary destinations. Here you can experience some of the finest cuisine from the Mediterranean, made with the freshest produce in Valencia. It is also the largest market in Europe that sells fresh fruit and vegetables.
The Valencia Market has a number of fragrant food stalls, restaurants, and bars, including the Central Bar. This is popular with both locals and visitors and serves up an assortment of tapas, sandwiches, and dishes such as Paella. This Valencian original is sure to get your mouth watering from the moment you step inside.
General Information About the Valencia Market
Location: Placa Ciutat de Bruges, s/n, 46001, Valencia Spain
Neighborhood: El Mercat
Opening Times: The market is open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Getting to Valencia Central Market
There are numerous ways to get to Valencia Market, including:
Take the local number 7 bus which stops next to the market. Alternatively, take a bus to Town Hall and walk (2-minute walk).
You can take the red or green line (3 or 5) to Xativa. With the station behind you, walk to City Hall Square (2 minutes). Then continue to the left for a couple of minutes to the Central Market. You’ll find it opposite the Silk Exchange or La Lonja de la Seda.
Taxi rates usually start around $1,48 plus $ 0.91 per mile. On the weekend rates are a bit more and start at $1,9 plus $1,06 per mile. If you would prefer to use the same driver, the waiting time usually starts at around $16,62 per hour. Alternatively, you could also request an Uber, but note that local drivers might not take too kindly to this.
Things to Do Near the Valencia Central Market
There are plenty of things to do in Valencia, but here are some of the best things to do near Valencia Market.
Valencia City of Silk Tour
Through this tour, visitors can discover the historical legacy left on Valencia through one of the most important industries between the 14th and 18th Centuries, The Silk Trade.
The Valencia City of Silk Tour starts out at the Valencia City Hall. It makes its way through the city, passing by the La Lonja de la Seda and Museo y Colegio del Arte Mayor de la Seda. You’ll end the tour at the Museu I Col·legi de l’Art Major de la Seda
Times: Saturday, 11 am.
Duration: 2 hours.
Price: From around $28 per person (Free for children up to the age of 6)
Valencia City Sights Bike Tour
Through the City Sights Bike Tour, visitors can explore and see more than what is possible by foot. With this tour, you’ll pedal past Valencia’s most interesting attractions (Including the Valencia Central Market) while learning the rich history of the city.
Times: Various departure times
Duration: 3 hours
Price: From about $30 per person.
Valencia Old Town Tour with Wine & Tapas in 11th Century Historic Monument
This half-day walking tour showcases the best of Valencia’s cuisine, culture, and history. Feast on a delicious 10-course tapas lunch, with wine. Then explore Valencia’s Old Town, Central Mercado, town squares, and Church of San Nicolas.
Price: From around $78
Duration: 4 Hours
Final Thoughts on Valencia Central Market
The Valencia Central Market (or Central Mercado) is a highlight of Valencia’s Old Town and is not to be missed. It is the one place that showcases the best of Valencia’s rich history, culture, architecture, and cuisine.
Whether you want to explore Valencia’s spectacular cuisine, immerse yourself in the local culture, pick up a souvenir or two or take a step back in time and marvel at the architecture of 19th-century masterminds, the Valencia Central Market has something for everyone.