You haven’t seen Valencia until you’ve visited the 1920s Mercado Central to marvel at the beautifully displayed meats, fish, and produce, and to purchase bomba rice, smoked paprika, and a paella pan to bring home.
If you are in town on a Sunday morning, head to the open-air market at Plaza Redonda, near the cathedral. Vendors offer traditional Valencian handicrafts, including ceramics, ironwork, silver items, and inlaid marquetry. You’ll also find equally colorful items from other parts of Spain and even Morocco. If you’re more interested in seeing what Valencianos have been storing in their attics, reserve Sunday for the flea market on Avenida de Suecia.
Spain’s ubiquitous El Corte Inglés department store has several locations in Valencia, including Calle Colon, 1 and 27 and Calle Pintor Sorolla, 27 (tel. 96-315-95-00; www.elcorteingles.com). We like the fact that these stores stock local handicrafts and other goods along with more general merchandise. They are always a good bet for one-stop shopping.
Serious shoppers will enjoy browsing around the Plaza del Ayuntamiento and along the streets of Don Juan de Austria, Colón, Sorní, and Cirilo Amorós. The Mercado de Colon (Calle Jorge Juan, 19; tel. 96-352-54-78), a Gaudi-inspired fantasy dating from 1916, is a good stop for a break at one of its cafes. Several streets around the market also attract shoppers, including Calle Conde de Salvatierra, home to Cacao Sampaka (Calle Conde de Salvatierra, 19; tel. 96-353-40-62; www.cacaosampaka.com), a branch of the original co-founded by Ferran Adrià's brother Albert in Barcelona.
Valencia is known for its embroidered shawls, and Nela (Calle San Vicente Mártir, 2; tel. 96-392-30-23) has an excellent selection, along with fans, leather goods, and other items. Spain’s famous Lladró porcelain figurines are made in a factory just outside the city. For a full range displayed in an elegant setting, seek out Lladró (Calle Poeta Querol, 9; tel. 96-351-16-25; www.lladro.com). If you wish to visit the Lladró Museum in the suburb of Tavernas Blanques, ask the shop staff to assist with reservations.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.