La Ribera Market in Bilbao

I’ve just been for a few days to one of my favourite Spanish cities: Bilbao. In fact, I’ve just got back; I’ve just this minute walked through the door.

La Ribera Market in Bilbao is far from spectacular and is certainly not famous. But as I’m going to be sharing some events from my recent trip to Bilbao, I thought it fitting to conclude our latest Destination of the Month, which is Markets of the World, with a little visit to La Ribera Market in Bilbao.

La Ribera Market in Bilbao

La Ribera Market in Bilbao

When I visit Bilbao, it is normally for gastronomic purposes, as this city is one of the cities in Spain that has the most to offer in terms of gastronomy: there is a great tapas scene, and the people are no strangers to the good life; plus there are many highly considered Michelin star restaurants, two of which I visited during this trip.

So as you can probably imagine, the local food market is a very important source of high quality material for the people of Bilbao who are so into their food.

La Ribera Market in Bilbao

Wall art on La Ribera Market

La Ribera Market in Bilbao

La Ribera Market in Bilbao is located right by the ria (the huge estuary upon which the city is built) in a building designed especially to house the market that was built in 1929 by architect Pedro Ispizua in art-deco style. Important renovations took place in 2012, and in fact, these renovations were taking place during my last visit to the city.

There are claims that La Ribera Market in Bilbao is actually the largest indoor market in Europe, though I’m sure there will be many protestations to this claim by the inhabitants of Leeds in the UK, who are fiercely proud of their own enormous indoor market. Personally I would never have thought that La Ribera Market in Bilbao was bigger than Kirkgate Market in Leeds.

The building that houses La Ribera Market in Bilbao was purpose-built as a market, so during the planning stages, it was made very clear that a very important part of the design was the use of natural light. There are, therefore, high windows through which the sunlight can enter, and a massive skylight which occupies much of the ceiling.

La Ribera Market in Bilbao

la ribera market in bilbao

The stalls are set out on two floors, and are grouped together according to what they sell. For example, the seafood and fish stalls are together, the butchers are all together and the fruit and veg stalls are all together.

If you visit Bilbao, you will almost certainly be passing the market at some point or another so I highly recommend that you take the time to walk through it. Something to remember is its curious timetable: it still conserves the traditional siesta timetable, which means that on weekdays it opens 0800-1400 and 1700-1900. On a Saturday it is just open in the morning 0830-1430 and on a Sunday it is closed altogether.

I hope that you have enjoyed this month’s Markets of the World theme for our Destination of the Month. You can read about other markets of the world here. Or… stay tuned for our next exciting destination which is a true adventure starting tomorrow…

Filed Under: BilbaofeaturedMarkets

About the Author: Lisa, born and grew up in England, live in Mallorca, Spain... Have visited more than 20 countries, have twice as many to yet visit, love sharing experiences....

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