One of the most special buildings in the historical centre of Valencia is Mercado Central, the biggest indoor market hall in Valencia. Not only the building is fantastic, but also the lively atmosphere inside is amazing. And you can get a simple but delicious breakfast there (keep reading for my tip)!
Mercado Central (Mercat Central in Valencian) opened in 1928 and is the oldest active indoor market hall in Europe. It’s built in the Art-Nouveau period with materials like iron, crystal and ceramics. The dome in the middle of the hall is around 30 meters high and contains the most beautiful colours and patterns.
Offer in Mercado Central
The architecture together with the stalls with colourful piles of fruits and vegetables make the Mercado Central really stand out. It contains around 300 stalls which sell fruit, vegetables, meat, and fish, but also herbs and spices, olives and other goodies. It even contains stalls with drinks (bottles of wine and beer) and souvenirs. I always enjoy checking out the big fruits and vegetables, because it’s way different than we have them in The Netherlands!
The fish is offered in the separate fish market section. That’s nice, in case you don’t like the fish smell, because you can easily skip that part. 😉 In case you don’t mind the smell, it’s really worth the visit because Mercado Central is known for its good fish and many shellfish which you can buy there.
It’s great to just take your time and stroll through the market hall to see al beautiful products. Are you looking for something in particular, then you can check the interactive map.
Our favourite stall
There’s one stall in Mercado Central which we almost visit daily when in Valencia to get breakfast there: Forn Desamparats. It’s a bakery with nice sandwiches, sweets, savouries and… coffee!
Until a few months ago this was the only place inside the market hall where you could get a coffee. Nowadays there’s a second coffee stall, but it doesn’t sell sandwiches, is much more expensive and the atmosphere is not that nice! So.. I’m continuing to talk about Forn Desamparats.
The stall of Forn Desamparats has one long side at which you can stand to drink your coffee and eat your snack. We love to get a Café con Leche (for only €1,20!). I often take a chocolate croissant or a bocadillo con jamón (sandwich with Spanish ham), and my partner loves the pizza for breakfast (yeah, I know… 😆). They also have cookies, pie, and much more. If you only buy a snack, you have to take a number to order. If you’re also ordering coffee, just go to the coffee side and order your coffee and snack at once.
So, please take my advice and go to Forn Desamparats to have a Café con Leche with a snack. And while you’re there, please say hi to Erid for me, the barista. After all those years at Forn Desamparats, he became a really good friend of ours! When you’re sending him my greetings, please do it in Spanish: “Desiré le envía sus saludos a ti”… 😉 And please send me a picture via Instagram: @ValenciaCityTrip? 🤩
You’ll find Forn Desamparats here:
Eat in the market hall
In contrast with the restaurants in Mercado Colon (more about that soon), the stalls in Mercado Central mostly sell ingredients to prepare a meal, they don’t sell complete meals. There’s only one place in Mercado Central where you can sit down to eat something: Central Bar.
This restaurant-like stall, owned by chef Richard Camarena, serves delicious tapas, made with ingredients from Mercado Central. There’s a big chance you have to wait in line to get a spot on one of the two sides of the stall, but it’s worth the wait!
Pay in Mercado Central
Don’t have cash with you? No worries! At most stalls in Mercado Central, you can pay by card (debit and credit card).
The market hall even has an online store to order your stuff and have it delivered at home. However, for a holiday in Valencia, this doesn’t seem applicable… It’s much nicer to just go to the market hall yourself to get your stuff! 😃
Toilets in Mercado Central
Last but not least, a practical tip for Mercado Central: do you need to go to the restroom? No worries! You can find the toilets near the exit on the side of Avenida del Oeste (the corner with Calle de Carabasses) downstairs.
You have to pay €0,50 to use the toilets, but in case you bought something in the market hall and saved the receipt, you can go to the toilet for free. You only have to show the receipt at the service desk across to the toilets. 😄
Address and opening hours
You will find Mercado Central at Plaza Ciudad de Brujas. Mercado Central is open on Monday – Saturday from 07:30h – 15:00h. The market hall is closed during public holidays