The Central Market of Valencia is one of the oldest markets still in use in Europe. It’s a popular spot among tourists as well as locals and the perfect location to immerse yourself in the heart of local culture and to get lost in its numerous aisles filled with local products – altogether, it’s a must-see in Valencia.
The Central Market has been declared a Heritage of Cultural Interest site by the Spanish Ministry of Culture. The building is situated in the heart of the historic city centre of Valencia (Ciutat Vella), which is very close to several tourist attractions and numerous shops, bars and restaurants. The Central Market is a masterpiece of modernist architecture in Valencia designed in 1914 by Francisco Guardia and Alejandro Soler and inaugurated by King Alfonso XIII in 1928.
With a surface area of over 8,000 square meters, inside you can find almost whatever in the more than 1000 posts selling fresh fish, vegetables, meat, fruit and local specialties. It is advisable to visit in during the morning, because it’s open only until 3 p.m. Upon entering the building, the sheer scale and size of the market hall itself with its ornate iron vaulted beams and hand-painted patterned tiles of all hues is impressive. The huge windows let in streams of bright sunlight, massive overhead fans and a beautifully intricate stained glass dome depicting the richness of Valencia’s fruit – a staple of the area’s produce.
The market is a true symbol of the diversity of this region which produces internationally renowned fruits and vegetables. The local citrus fruit, for example, is grown in Horta Valenciana, a fertile plain surrounding the city where the largest plantations are located. The quality and diversity of the products in the market is amazing and the majority are locally produced and the market is a veritable gastronomic temple with many different types of food. You’ll find everything from seasonal fruit and vegetables, plenty of fresh fish, to cold meats, cheeses, baked goods, olives and lots of wine as well as saffron, the crucial ingredient for making Valencian paella. The saffron produced in Spain is considered some of the best in the world, also known as “the red gold”.
Cover image by Felivet from Wikimedia Commons