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The Most Beautiful Food Market in Europe

The Mercado Central in Valencia, Spain, is one of the biggest food markets in Europe. Vendors have every kind of fresh fruit and vegetable you can think of, and some you’ve never heard of. There’s also meat butchered on site, imported foods of all kinds, liquor, and an entire wing for fresh seafood.

 

The market dates from 1918, and while climbing the stairs to its main entrance, it’s nearly impossible not to stop and admire the facade. Ceramic tiles are set above the arches, framing a massive circular window which bears Valencia’s coat of arms. And after entering the market, you’re likely to once again stop in admiration. Brightly lit, deafening and chaotic, with thousands of veggies and fruits creating an intoxicating blend of smell and color, the first impression of Mercado Central is paralyzing. But don’t stand still for too long, or an army of irritated old ladies will plow you down with push-carts employed like battering rams.

Juergen Horn and Mike Powell shop there as often as they can while staying in Valencia. Let them take you on a tour of the Mercado Central in words, videos, and a mouth-watering gallery of photographs, at For 91 Days.  


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If you want sheer scale Bacelona's La Boqueria Food Market has Valencia's Mecado Central licked! 13,600 square metres for Barcelona, 8,100 for Valencia. There are almost twice as many fish stalls and butchers at Barcelona. The outer edge of la Boqueria has many, many bars, cafes etc. where you can rest and get a drink and a bite to eat. The place is so busy that tourist groups of 15 or more are banned so that the locals can get around quickly!
I have visited both several times and will concede that Valencia is far more attractive. They also have many bars so you won't go thirsty! And if you can't find it in Valencia market, you probably won't find it in Barcelona either. On balance I prefer Valencia but the size of Bacelona's La Boqueria has to be seen to be believed.
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