In a world that is dominated by supermarkets, shopping malls, outlet centers and online shopping – getting back to basics can be a fun trip through the past. From food markets to flea markets, Madrid is covered in these wonderful bazaars to explore and shop the old fashioned way. Check out some of Madrid’s most popular and unique markets.
1. Mercado San Miguel
San Miguel is one of Madrid’s most popular food markets for tourists and locals alike! It is located just off of Calle Mayor – a 1 minute walk west of Plaza Mayor. It was named after the original church that occupied the property called San Miguel do los Octoes, and operated as an open air fish market in 1835. By 1911 it was converted into the closed market that you see today. Although San Miguel is slightly on the expensive side, its 33 stalls offer a variety of fresh produce, fish and meats. As well as some prepared cuisine – the upscale design of the market makes for a food lovers paradise.
If you are interested in learning about wine, Mercado San Miguel is the place to go, with mini bodegas and wine bars scattered throughout. The best times to go to the market is late in the evening and early morning to avoid the hoards of tourists that pass through each day.
2. Mercado Ildefonso
Food market by day, youth hotspot by night. Mercado Ildefonso is a super hip market in Malasana located right around the corner from Plaza de San IIdefonso. The market is a great mixture of fresh and prepared foods as well as a beautiful roof terrace and gastro bars. It’s got a very bohemian vibe to it, which attracts a really fun and social crowd during all hours of the day. It gets crowded fast at night, as many people make the market their first stop on a night out.
The market is set up with many places to sit and relax while enjoying your food, which makes it more of a hangout than a shopping market. When you are planning your next night out: add Malasaña on your list and start the evening with Ildefonso!
3. El Rastro
El Rastro is Spain’s largest open air flea market. Located in the heart of La Latina and open every Sunday morning from 10:00am-3:00pm. Unlike the other markets on this list, El Rastro is not a food market. But, instead it offers a wide range of antiques, clothing (both new and used) and many other trinkets and doodads. The market makes up for its lack in fresh produce by being located within a neighbourhood with some of the best and most authentic tapas bars in the city!
A local tradition at Rastro is to gather with friends, eat some food and have some drinks – don’t forget about the dancing and singing too! You can’t be in Madrid and not experience one of the cities best markets!
4. Mercado San Antón
Mercado San Antón is a very modern food market situated in Madrid’s most vibrant neighbourhood – Chueca. The market is divided into 3 different levels, all with different functions. The main floor is for those looking to shop for fresh produce, fish and meats – though the price is not low, you can be assured that the food is of good quality, sold to you by local merchants. The second floor is laid out with various food vendors – from Asian to Italian to typical Spanish tapas. People will gather and chat while they snack on these delicious foods.
The third and top floor is where the real fun begins! The rooftop terrace at San Anton is usually packed with fun loving locals getting together for a drink…or two. Its got a great atmosphere with a very alternative vibe – Chueca is home to many young, free spirited people and it is also known as the central hub for the LGBT community. With such a popular atmosphere, comfy seating and good music, it gets crowded fast!
5. Mercado de la Paz
Madrid’s barrio Salamanca is a great neighbourhood. With designer clothing stores, expensive flats and high-end businesses, it is very exclusive. So, naturally a market set within Salamanca would be no different! Mercado de la Paz is an indoor/outdoor market that is tucked away within the barrio – I actually walked right by it when I went to do some research for this post – and is mostly visited by local families. There is a great sense of community at la Paz, as families stop to chat with all of the merchants as they make their way through the stalls. The set up is similar to a typical Supermarket, and most people visit to stock up on fresh products.
Though the atmosphere of la Paz may not be as exciting as the other markets in the city, the food is incredible! The market is known for its seafood and its fresh produce and meats are fresh from local merchants. If you find yourself shopping or having lunch in Salamanca make sure you stop by Mercado de la Paz for some fresh fruit or a coffee! Especially the “Spanish tortillas” at Casa Dani are a must-try!
6. Mercado de Motores
Another large flea market in Madrid, Motores is held inside the Museo de ferrocarril every second weekend of every month. Located within a 19th century railway station, this beautiful vintage market also features some handmade clothing, live music and food. The unique location and the items for sale really make for a perfect thrift hunt for all those people who just love to get lost in the possibilities of artisan products!
The sale stalls themselves are placed within the old trains of the museum and along the platforms where the people of Madrid once went on with their everyday lives! Motores is open from 11:00-22:00 and it’s free to enter!
7. Platea Madrid
Located in Salamanca and offering an entirely unique dining experience in Madrid, Platea is also the most expensive option on the list. This gourmet dining experience was a movie theatre but has been renovated to offer patrons a glamorous and relaxing atmosphere inspired by Hollywood’s golden era. This hip market offers restaurants, stores, bars, restaurants, bakeries, and lounges – don’t miss it!
8. Mercado de San Fernando
Right in multicultural Lavapiés, you will find another gem and one of the best food markets in Madrid worth checking out: Mercado de San Fernando. This market, like its surrounding neighborhood, offers a little bit of everything. From traditional Spanish delicacies, international cuisines, other fresh produce, clothes and books – San Fernando will dazzle your mind!
9. Mercado de la Cebada
Mercado de la Cebada in La Latina is, like the area itself, considered to be one of the must-visit places for food lovers. This local food market has been operating since 1875 and stands out with its colorful facade, budget friendly prices and lush servings.
You haven’t been to La Latina yet… and don’t know about Madrid’s beautiful neighboorhouds in general? Then check out our article about the amazing neighboorhouds of Madrid.
10. Mercado de Los Mostenses
Even though Mercado de Los Mostenses is located right off Gran Via in Malasaña, only one block North, this food market feels very local. It is actually one of the oldest markets in Madrid. From fresh meat, fish and vegetables, but also some unexpected international delicacies, like great Latin American and Asian products and dishes – this place includes over one hundred food stalls and also offers various services.
11. Mercado de Vallehermoso
The northern neighborhood Chamberí offers another jewel: Mercado de Vallehermoso, located on the corner of the streets Vallehermoso and Fernando el Católico. With its colorful and traditional facade, great range in products and reasonable prices, it stands out. Here, 62 vendors offer locally sourced and environmentally- friendly foods. But also other international products can be found here, as well as several leisure and entertainment activities.
12. Mercado Barceló
Also to be found in the Chueca neighborhood is the Mercado Barceló, at, as the name suggests, Calle Barceló 6. The building has been remodelled for five years, but previously this location hosted what was once regarded as “Spain’s first supermarket”. Today, it is a modern farmers market that offers all kinds of food stalls and services, but also great restaurants. It also includes a beautiful rooftop terrace with a garden (the Azotea Forus Barceló) and sports complex located at the top floors of the building.
13. Mercado Antón Martín
At the northern tip of Lavapíes, just a couple of minutes walking distance from Sol, is another amazing market to be found: Mercado Antón Martín. Old street stalls with butcher shops lead the way to this food heaven. The building itself is two-stories high and definitely has an “indie”-vibe to it, as its environment it finds itself in. It offers organic foods, wine bars and all different kinds of Spanish delicacies. You are also able to witness small cooking shows or art exhibitions. Definitely worth a visit!
14. Mercado de Maravillas
Three miles north of the city center in the Tetuán area, Madrid’s biggest municipal farmers and food market (as well as one of Europe’s largest markets overall) can be found – Mercado de Maravillas. The market includes about 210 stalls, offering a wide range of fresh products from all around the world. Considering its location, visiting Mercado de Maravillas will feel very local and charming, since not many of the city’s tourists will make their way out there. And if you ever look for something special, Maravillas will most certainly have it – or, as an old Madrileño saying says “otherwise it doesn’t exist”.