Nathalia Jeffries

Written by Nathalia Jeffries

Modified & Updated: 03 Mar 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett


Mercado de la Ribera in Bilbao is a vibrant and bustling marketplace that captures the essence of the Basque Country’s rich culinary heritage. As one of the largest covered markets in Europe, it attracts both locals and tourists alike with its impressive selection of fresh produce, gourmet delicacies, and lively atmosphere.But there’s more to Mercado de la Ribera than meets the eye. Behind its colorful façade lies a treasure trove of intriguing facts and stories that add to its allure. From its fascinating history to its architectural wonders, this market has a lot to offer beyond just shopping and dining.In this article, we will delve into 11 intriguing facts about Mercado de la Ribera that will give you a deeper appreciation for this iconic landmark. Whether you’re planning a visit or simply curious about its wonders, join us as we explore the hidden gems of Mercado de la Ribera in Bilbao.

Key Takeaways:

  • Mercado de la Ribera in Bilbao is a historic and vibrant market, offering a wide array of fresh produce, seafood, and local delicacies. It’s a must-visit for food lovers and history enthusiasts alike.
  • With its stunning riverside location, cultural events, and panoramic views of Bilbao, Mercado de la Ribera is not just a market, but a cultural landmark that embodies the rich traditions and flavors of the city.
Table of Contents

The Mercado de la Ribera is one of the largest covered markets in Europe.

Spanning over 10,000 square meters, this magnificent market offers a wide array of fresh produce, seafood, meats, and local delicacies. Its impressive size is a testament to its significance in the region.

The market dates back to the 14th century.

With a rich history spanning centuries, Mercado de la Ribera has witnessed the evolution of Bilbao. Originally established as an open-air market, it has grown and transformed over time to become the vibrant market we see today.

It is located on the banks of the Nervion River.

The market enjoys a picturesque location by the Nervion River, offering stunning views and a relaxing atmosphere for visitors to enjoy while exploring the various stalls.

The Mercado de la Ribera is a food lover’s paradise.

From fresh fruits and vegetables to mouthwatering pintxos and traditional Basque cuisine, this market is a haven for food enthusiasts. You can indulge in a gastronomic adventure, sampling local flavors and experiencing the rich culinary heritage of the region.

It houses a wide variety of vendors.

With over 60 stalls, the market showcases the best of what the Basque Country has to offer. From small family-owned businesses to renowned purveyors, the Mercado de la Ribera presents a diverse range of products for visitors to explore.

The market is renowned for its seafood.

Being in close proximity to the sea, the Mercado de la Ribera is known for its fresh and delicious seafood. From succulent prawns to mouthwatering tuna, you can find an array of seafood options that will satisfy even the most discerning palate.

It is a cultural hotspot.

Beyond its culinary delights, Mercado de la Ribera is a cultural hub where locals and tourists come together. Various cultural events, including live music performances and art exhibitions, take place within its walls, creating a lively and vibrant atmosphere.

The market offers a unique shopping experience.

Whether you are looking for artisanal products, handmade crafts, or traditional souvenirs, the Mercado de la Ribera has it all. Explore the maze-like corridors and discover hidden treasures that will serve as mementos of your visit to Bilbao.

The market underwent a stunning renovation.

In 2010, Mercado de la Ribera underwent a major renovation project to restore its grandeur and preserve its historical significance. The renovation transformed it into a modern marketplace while maintaining its traditional charm.

It is a paradise for photographers.

The Mercado de la Ribera’s vibrant atmosphere, colorful stalls, and stunning architecture offer endless opportunities for photographers to capture beautiful moments. From stunning food displays to candid shots of market vendors, every corner of this market is a photographer’s delight.

The market offers a panoramic view of Bilbao.

Head up to the market’s rooftop terrace and be rewarded with a breathtaking view of Bilbao’s skyline. Take in the beauty of the city while savoring some delicious local treats from the market.

In conclusion, the Mercado de la Ribera is not just a market; it is a cultural landmark that embodies the rich traditions and flavors of Bilbao. Whether you are a food lover, a history enthusiast, or simply someone who appreciates vibrant atmospheres, a visit to Mercado de la Ribera is a must. Immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and tastes of this remarkable market and create unforgettable memories of your time in Bilbao.


In conclusion, Mercado de la Ribera in Bilbao is a fascinating landmark that offers a unique and rich cultural experience. From its rich history as one of the largest covered markets in Europe to its modern transformation into a vibrant gastronomic hub, there are many intriguing facts that make it a must-visit destination. Whether you’re a food lover, a history enthusiast, or simply interested in exploring bustling markets, Mercado de la Ribera has something to offer everyone. So, be sure to add this iconic landmark to your travel itinerary and immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere and delicious flavors of Bilbao’s beloved Mercado de la Ribera.


1. What is the history behind Mercado de la Ribera?
Mercado de la Ribera has a long and storied history dating back to the late 19th century. It was originally built as an open-air market and later converted into a covered market in the 1920s. Over the years, it has served as a gathering place for locals to buy fresh produce, meats, and seafood.

2. What can I expect to find at Mercado de la Ribera?
Mercado de la Ribera is a food lover’s paradise. Inside the market, you can find an incredible variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, and cheeses. Additionally, there are numerous stalls and bars where you can enjoy delicious pintxos, traditional Basque tapas.

3. Is Mercado de la Ribera only a food market?
While food is undoubtedly a major highlight of Mercado de la Ribera, the market also houses other shops and services. You can find specialty stores selling spices, local products, and souvenirs. There are also small boutiques and craft shops where you can browse for unique items.

4. Are there any events or activities happening at Mercado de la Ribera?
Yes, Mercado de la Ribera often hosts events and cultural activities. From live music performances to cooking demonstrations and food tastings, there is always something exciting happening at the market. It’s a great way to experience the local culture and mingle with both locals and tourists.

5. Is Mercado de la Ribera easily accessible?
Yes, Mercado de la Ribera is located in the heart of Bilbao and is easily accessible by public transportation. There are also parking facilities nearby for those traveling by car. It is a popular tourist spot, so you won’t have any trouble finding your way there.

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