Exploring Madrid’s Markets

If there’s one thing that seems to capture our attention when travelling in a foreign country, it’s the supermarkets. For some reason, it’s just fun to wander the supermarket and see the different food that’s on offer. Well, it’s not different when it comes to the bigger markets, and Madrid has many on offer to cover all your market needs! From fresh produce to ready to eat dishes, clothes and household goods, you can pick up pretty much anything, and also have a lot of fun exploring Madrid’s markets.

Mercado de San Anton

Just a short walk from Gran Via, or Chueca metro station, this market is hidden among the quieter backstreets of Madrid’s centre. Mercado de San Anton is a modern, vibrant market that offers a one stop shop for all food needs! With 3 floors to explore, you can pick up fresh produce to cook at home on the ground floor, street food style stalls on the second floor or a proper restaurant experience on the top floor. The street food stalls are on the more expensive side, but still affordable and with a huge range of option available. Plus, there’s a bar.

Mercado de San Miguel

Possibly the most well-known market in Madrid, the building for this market is just as attractive as the market held inside. The glass structure reminds visitors of the Glass Cathedral in Retiro Parque,  and once inside there’s a real hustle and bustle as people squeeze past each other to check out the different stalls. This is a market you’ll want to visit if you’re looking for food ready to eat, and there’s a wide variety of seafood plates as well as empanadas, fruit and pastries. Prices reflect the tourist attraction to this place, but given its proximity to Plaza Mayor you’d expect nothing less. If you can find a place at one of the central tables, this is a great place to enjoy some food. 

Mercado Anton Martin

Recommended to me by a local, this market is spread across two floors. While there are plenty of stalls offering the standard market fare of raw and cooked meats, cheese and drinks, there are also a number of places to enjoy a meal here, both inside the market building but also in the stalls surrounding it on the street. The ready to eat food stalls are small and charming, often having just a few tables at each one. As this market isn’t close to many tourist hotspots, the prices are reasonable, it’s not hugely busy and there’s a much more authentic Spanish feel to it.  

Mercado de la Paz 

Take a wander through the upmarket shopping area of Salamanca and you’ll stumble across Mercado de la Paz. A decent size market built in 1882, this place has a wide variety of stalls and places to stop and grab some food or drinks. Even though I visited in holiday season with many stalls closed, there were still plenty of people milling around doing a bit of shopping at the open stalls, or taking a break to enjoy some food at the cafes. Just outside the market you’ll find a number of cafes, perfect for a post-perusing coffee. 

El Rastro

A weekly flea market held on Sundays, there is so much to look at that you could easily spend hours exploring the stalls. Head to Calle de la Ribera de Curtidores for the main strip of stalls, but you’ll likely hit the market before you make it to that street as it spreads out into neighbouring streets and squares. It gets really busy, so be careful of your bag and pockets, but have fun perusing the many, many different stalls offering a huge range of, well, everything! Don’t be afraid to shop around, as you’ll find that some stalls offer the same thing but at different prices.

Mercado de San Fernando

Located in the Lavapies neighbourhood, there’s a great, diverse vibe in this lesser explored neighbourhood. The market itself is off the traditional tourist trail of the city, which often leads to a more authentic market experience.

Mercado de San Ildefonso

Hidden away in plain sight, Mercado de San Ildefonso has a very modest entrance that you could easily walk past. With three floors to explore, there are a number of different street food stalls on offer and a couple of terraces to enjoy the food on. I saw it described by Google as ‘hip’ and ‘happening’ and although I found that funny, it is actually a trendy place that offers good food just a short walk from Sol and Gran Via.

Mercado de la Cebada

A huge market in the La Latina neighbourhood, this place has everything you could need from a market. Spread out over two floors, I visited this market during August when most local people head off on holidays. Although many of the stalls were closed, the market still had a lively vibe with the number of locals enjoying fresh seafood.

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Greg
    September 12, 2019 at 10:38 am

    Ahhh yes, san Anton. We got the best service there from an older stall holder who gave us a tasty selection of cheese and cold meats. Top that off with fresh bread and a perfect picnic was had at El Retiro park. A nice local market worth the effort.

    • Reply
      Becks
      September 12, 2019 at 12:28 pm

      I think the local markets are so much better for that kind of thing than the chains, and you get the bonus of knowing you’re helping the local businesses. Sounds perfect though, wish that was my plan for today!

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