Mercado de San Miguel (Madrid)
As you wander around among the monuments in the most castizo area of Madrid - the traditional heart of the Spanish capital - you'll almost certainly find yourself at the San Miguel market, near the Plaza Mayor. The building itself retains its original Parisian-style iron structure, which dates from the early nineteenth century, but it has recently been renovated and now serves as a gastronomic cultural centre. The historic space is loaded with literary associations, and houses 33 stalls which are bound to delight food fans. It's a perfect place to do the daily shopping, as well as an ideal meeting place where epicures can take part in food-related activities, sample the produce before buying, or even enjoy a bite to eat with friends.
Mercado de la Boqueria (Barcelona)
Right on Barcelona's famous las Ramblas, we find Spain's flagship market. Now famed for its gastronomic offer, the space has always been linked to the city's history, and it's a must-see attraction on any tourist route. Admire the modernist exterior architecture of the multi-windowed structure, look up at the shield over the main door, then go inside and walk along the aisles between the three hundred stalls and you'll realise that there is no better showcase for the pulse of this vibrant city. It's a paradise for the senses that will make your mouth water with the variety and wealth of products on display. Before you leave, be sure to sample the local specialities in one of the bars that also find a home under the same roof.
Mercado Central (Valencia)
This modernist-style building, built in 1914 by two followers of the school of the renowned architect Domenech i Montaner, is perfectly located in the coastal city of Valencia, alongside the Lonja de Seda - the World Heritage Site Silk Exchange - and the Iglesia de los Santos Juanes - the church of the two Saint Johns. Inside you'll find an enchanting scene of local fruits from the fertile fields of Valencia, eels from Albufera and fish and seafood from the Mediterranean. The tradition and history of the market and the beauty of the construction - a perfect synthesis of metal and glass with a large central dome topped by a weather-vane - combine to make a visit a truly memorable experience. A trip to Valencia isn't complete without a trip to the market.
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