Everything You Need To Know About Shopping In Valencia
Going shopping in Valencia, Spain's third largest city, is an exciting adventure where you'll be whirled into a stylish retail world of designer shops, big department stores and not quite so stylish markets.
There are several great Valencia shopping areas where you'll want to spend hours exploring the streets and plazas while feasting your eyes on everything from Louis Vuitton handbags in chic boutiques to wicker baskets piled in a higgledy-piggledy fashion everywhere. The more time you spend shopping in Valencia you'll realize it's the diversity of goods on offer that makes the city so unique where retail outlets are concerned. There's everything from international brand name clothes to handcrafted ceramics and silk, not to mention the extensive array of typical products in Spain like leather goods, olives, cured ham, and the world-famous Valencian rice that's used in the preparation of paella.
In this guide, not only will you discover that Valencia is good for shopping, you'll find out what Valencia is known for, plus what the best things to buy as gifts and souvenirs for taking back home are. All you need to know now is where to start your Valencia shopping expedition, so read on. And don't forget to drop off your bags at a Valencia luggage storage facility. You're probably about to pick up some more, so you don't want to carry more than you need to.
Best Place For High Street Shopping
Some of Valencia's main streets are the best places to go shopping in the city. They all have a different atmosphere, their own unique variety of stores which can take hours to browse around, and plenty of restaurants where you can chill out between purchases.
Calle Poeta Querol
The Calle Poeta Querol is a main shopping street in Valencia. It's a broad avenue that runs through the Cuitat Vella, which is the city's historic district, so as well as great shops, there's some incredible architecture and some of the best museums in Valencia too. Luxury stores line both sides of the Poeta Querol so if you're looking for designer fashion wear, this is the place to be. You'll be drawn to the outstanding window displays of familiar names like Michael Kors, Bulgari, Armario, and Hugo Boss to name just a few, as well as shops stocking that ever-popular Spanish porcelain, Lladro, that makes the perfect gift. Whether you go inside any of them to make a purchase will be entirely up to you.
Another of the main shopping streets in Valencia is the Calle Colón. As well as being where the Mercado Colon is, the Calle Colon is full of designer stores and boutiques selling clothes made in Spain or from other European countries like Italy. If you're into high-end fashion and one-off garments then the Calle Colon will have you reaching into your pocket until you've spent the last cent of any Euros you have with you. If you want to avoid vacation bankruptcy, avoid Calle Colón between ten in the morning when the shops open until nine-thirty in the evening and you should be safe enough so long as you don't go to any of the other commercial districts or get tempted into any of the shopping centers.
Avenida de Francia
The Avenida de Francia or the Avenue of France is where you go in Valencia if you love shopping in a department store. On the Avenida de Francia, you'll find one of Spain's biggest department stores, El Corte Inglés. As far as large department stores go, they don't come much bigger than El Corte Inglés. For late night shopping, it's the best as it stays open until ten in the evening except on Sundays so you can make the most of the extended shopping opportunities there.
Ruzafa is a characterful district close to Valencia Nord train station consisting of several streets lined with stores and sidewalk cafes. It's the ideal part of the city to head for if you enjoy browsing artisan shops, small art galleries, and eclectic antique stores, getting lost in a maze, or going out after you've finished your purchases. Rufaza has made quite a name for itself among the city's trendy crowd these days. It's one of the most popular definitely unmissable nightspots in Valencia. When the shops close in Ruzafa the bars open, and the partying carries on until the early hours of the morning.
Calle de las Cestas
Calle de las Cestas, the Street of the Baskets in English, is a famous retail street in Valencia, and one you could spend hours looking for on a map and still not find it as its proper name is the Calle Musico Peydro. Why is it called something completely different? Because, following an age-old Valencian tradition, streets are given a nickname relative to what the main goods on sale in the stores on it are. Wicker baskets have always been an important item in Spanish daily life and as well as being decorative items, are used for everything from storing bread to keeping dirty washing out of sight to carrying shopping before plastic bags were invented. On the Calle Musico Peydro, you'll see wicker baskets and all manner of other hand-woven items that make super souvenirs if you have enough room in your suitcase to pack them.
Markets In Valencia
Markets, or mercadillos in Spanish, are an essential feature of all towns and cities in the country. Valencia has some great food and flea markets taking place most days somewhere on the streets of the city or in special enclosed locations that are a sheer pleasure to shop at.
When you want to go shopping like a local in Valencia, then you need to wake up early and head to the Mercado Central. The Central Market is housed in a century-old grandiose art nouveau building that resembles a cathedral. The only thing worshiped inside is buying and selling though. It's all hustle and bustle from the early hours of the morning when the local restaurant owners arrive to get the pick of the best fresh produce and then they're swiftly followed by housewives on the hunt for something for lunch. The Mercado Central isn't just about food, there are also stalls offering household items, clothes, shoes, pet food, cakes, pastries, bread, and just about everything else you can imagine as well as food pop-ups where you can get pre-cooked meals to take away.
The Plaza Redonda or Circular Plaza hosts an antiquities market every Sunday. From a drone's eye-view the plaza looks like a bull ring or Roman amphitheater, but once you're inside it's more like a village-style mall with a fountain at its heart. It's a cool place to shop any day of the week and even more fun when the market is on. The type of shops you'll find here are artisan shops offering hand-made lace tablecloths and typical souvenirs like fans and ornaments with Valencia stamped on them. Yes, the stores in the Plaza Redonda do cater to the mass tourist market, but they're still worth a visit. On the antiques market though there's no telling what treasure you might come across. You could find silver cutlery from a Spanish noble's house or a plastic fork reputedly used by Antonio Banderas during a visit to the city.
Mercado de Colón
The Mercado de Colón is the largest covered food market in Valencia. Built in the same era and of a similar design to Valencia's Central Market, the Mercado de Colon has been supplying the city's residents and visitors with fresh produce for over a hundred years. The indoor market covers an area of three and a half thousand square meters with numerous produce stalls. While people do go there to shop, they also go to eat and drink in the many cafeterias, horchaterias, and restaurants the market building houses.
Shopping Centers In Valencia
If you're someone that prefers malls to a main street you'll find more than enough malls, or centro comerciales as they're called in Spain, to satisfy your needs. The one difference you will find is that most of the malls are located on the outskirts of the city rather than in the center and most will have a supermarket or hypermarket as their main store. There are plenty of other shops and often a cinema as well as fast food outlets and restaurants in the centers which usually cover two floors, not including the multi-story parking facilities.
The Aqua Multiespacio shopping center is housed in one of the most eye-catching new constructions in Valencia. The state-of-the-art mall forms the base of a modern twenty-two-story office block on the city's Carrer de Menorca. The four floors of this space-age style indoor but open-plan center are separated by stainless steel girders and interconnected by moving walkways. You'll need to check out the floor plans if you want to find any particular shop as this place is vast. Have a wander around at leisure and you'll come across stores like Massimo Dutti, Mango, the Body Shop, Pull and Bear, and Stradivarius, plus hundreds more. Go with plenty of time on your hands as you may well find you end up spending an entire day here.
The Nuevo Centro is an enormous shopping mall on Valencia's Avenida de Pius XII which is relatively central and close to the city's main bus station. The shops open between ten in the morning and ten at night six days of the week. There is only Sunday opening in the weeks leading up to Christmas. It's a two-story indoor mall where you'll find specialist shops selling only cured ham next to nice boutiques with a wide range of women's clothing, men's fashion and sportswear, footwear, and household items. The mall also contains a department store, El Corte Inglés.
If you hate to feel overwhelmed by too many stores and too many luxury goods, try going shopping in the Centro Comercial Gran Turia. This mall is located in the Plaza de Espana of the Xirivella district of the city and while it is close to a metro station, it's well away from the main hustle and bustle of the center. The stores in Gran Turia stock normal everyday items rather than luxury brands and other items of that type so prices are a lot lower, but still of a top quality. You won't go hungry shopping there either as one entire top floor of this multi-story mall is a food hall with all sorts of restaurants serving burgers, tapas, and more.
The Parque Alban shopping center is not far from Valencia Airport on the Partida del Pont Trencat in the Burjassot district of the city and is as much an entertainment complex as it is a mall. The stores in the Parque Alban Commercial Center sell everything from real cars to model ones. Unless you want either of those to take home or a new pet hamster, you might want to leave this shopping center off your list. You won't be missing many shopping opportunities if you do.
Whatever type of retail therapy you're into, whether it's main street, markets or malls, you'll find somewhere to suit in Valencia. The one thing you should do though is make time to sit down and sip a glass of horchata, the local non-alcoholic drink made from fermented tiger nuts, in between stores. At least that way, after visiting all of the designer named shops that are in every big city worldwide, you'll know you've been in Valencia.