Mercado Central is the large market building in the center of Valencia, Spain. This grand structure in the old town of Valencia houses a large number of market stalls selling all manner of fruits, veggies and meats and even pans and souvenirs. Imagine a farmers market nestled in a crowded plaza outside, but inside under a high roof. It is definitely worth a visit when you are in town.
The architecture alone is worth the walk through town to find the Central Market building, but inside are plenty of snacks as well. I like markets in general. The sense of daily life is palpable, so this was a nice place to spend an hour. Though don’t expect it to be much of a respite from the hot sun. It is is not insane, but definitely not cool inside.
A grand welcoming
Even if you have no need to buy anything, the building itself is still worth a visit. The facade above the main entrance across from the silk market is grand and colorful. The art nouveau style patterns definitely fit with the styles of the early 1900s when it was built. I like this time period and Valencia has a fair amount of it to offer, not just the market building, but also in surrounding streets.
Fruits, Veggies and Meats, oh my.
Markets are one of my favorite ways to feel a part of local life. This one was a great place to wander and still watch people. The piles of fruit in all their colors are also really photogenic. Add that because the market is there to sell the the general public you can usually get a snack for cheap or stock up for a picnic. On the website, there is a section to let local businesses order in bulk. So I can well imagine this is not just a market for the individual, but supports the local gastronomy too.
One of the local treats is called horchata. There are stands like this one that sell it in the market. I had seen horchata stands selling the thick sweet drink all over town, but had yet to try it. I bought a single packet of the concentrate for a few cents and took it home. The instructions (kindly translated from Spanish by my wife) are to mix it with cold water and drink. It was actually nice and refreshing, especially in the heat.
Good place to wander
In short, the Mercado Central market building in Valencia is a great place to come and wander around for a morning. Appreciate the architecture and the daily life going on around you. Pick up some local produce and maybe a horchata and head out for a picnic under the Spanish sun.
English Page from the Valencia Tourboard about the Mercado Central
The central market is open Mon-Sat from 7:30am to 2:30pm.