If you are looking for a real, authentic market, where you rarely find other tourists, visiting the Mercado Cabanyal would be a great idea. In Valencia you will find several food markets. Those markets serve the people of Valencia in their need to enjoy fresh, local products. The Mercado Central, or Central Market, is the most famous one and possibly the most beautiful. But let’s find out more about the Mercado Cabanyal!
The New Town of the Sea
Mercado Cabanyal is located in the neighbourhood El Cabanyal-El Canyamelar. This used to be an old fishermen’s district and it is not far from the beach. The traditional fishermen’s houses still mark the street scene. Some people think the name of the entire district next to beach is Cabanyal, but that is not entirely true. You will find here the neighbourhoods of El Grao, Malvarrosa, Beteró and Nazaret as well. Cabanyal used to be a municipality on its own between 1837 and 1897. Back in those days it was called Pueblo Nuevo del Mar or Poble Nou de la Mar in the Valencian language, which means New Town of the Sea. At that time this small town only had three neighbourhoods: Cabanyal, Canyamelar and Cap de França.
Building Mercado Cabanyal
In former times, when Cabanyal was called Pueblo Nuevo del Mar, the decision was made to build a food market. Every village or town used to have its own market. The authority in those years felt the need to offer the citizens a central place where they could buy all their fresh products and everything else they might needed.
Before this plan, a few outdoor stands were the only places where to buy groceries. You could go there to buy for example some meat, wine, vinegar, spirits, olive oil and soap. There existed one big disadvantage for the habitants of the Canyamelar neighbourhood. They had to walk quite far to reach those stands. The small town of El Grao or the centre of Cabanyal were the nearest options, but this was some struggle, especially during the summer under the scorching sun.
In 1867 a local architect named Joaquin Calvo was asked to design a building for the market, but at the end his plan turned out to be too expensive. Another architect, Vicente Bochons, was given the mission, but his project was likewise too costly. But in the end, third time’s the charm, José Lorca Vidal’s elementary design was chosen as the one.
A market hall for only 180 euros
Mercado Cabanyal has been the heart of the neighbourhood for about 90 years now and measured 1,800 square meters. The costs to build the market were 30,000 pesetas. Converted in euros this means only € 180. Hard to imagine nowadays, right?
Mercado Cabanyal was and still is known for its good quality products. For example the fish you will find there is the best of its kind. The location close to Alboraya makes the market also famous for its espadrilles, a sort of sandal. Alboraya is well known for its horticulture and especially for the cultivation of ‘esparto’, a typical type of Spanish grass where the espadrilles are made from.
Buy your food and they will prepare it for you at Mercado Cabanyal
Because of the growth of the population, in 1958 a bigger market was opened. It is almost twice as big as the initial one and the market has pretty modern facilities such as toilets, air conditioning, security cameras and a free Wi-Fi connection. With more than 400 stands you will probably find everything you are looking for inside this amazing market. The usual stands with fish, meat, vegetables and fruit are accompanied by more specific ones with flowers, dried fruit, bread, wine and other delicacies such as snails.
Inside the market you will find a bar, named Bar Mercado. They have a really cool concept. Whatsoever you buy at the market, they will prepare for you a lovely meal using those fresh ingredients. Don’t worry if you’re not bringing anything, they have delicious tapas as well. Try for example their home made ‘croquetas’.
Carrer de Marti Grajales
Monday until Saturday (except Friday): 07:00 – 14:30
Friday: 07:00 – 14:00 and 17:00 – 20:30