If you’ve ever wondered what Spanish food markets look like, you’re in the right place. We have five very different videos of food markets in Spain so you can get a sense of the variety of locations, the types of food and some of the more unusual events taking place at these amazing spaces. The most famous market has to be the Boqueria in Barcelona which draws huge crowds every day but more and more of our Totally Spain clients are asking us to include the lesser known food markets in their gastronomy tours in Spain. We’ve been smitten by these places since we started out in the year 2000 and we’re sure you will be too!
Spanish Food Markets – Visit the Best!
1 Why are the Spanish markets so special?
We like to think of them as the pulse or the heart of their neighbourhoods. We beat a path to them when we are exploring a new city. We love how wonderfully they smell and admire how beautifully the vendors display their produce from hanging hams and cured sausages to the often intricately stacked vegetables. It’s amazing to see the level of customer service that’s provided and how local and seasonal produce is championed. And from an architectural point of view – the market buildings are always interesting and in many cases stunning.
These markets are evolving with the times – many Spanish food markets offer an online ordering system and most have a home delivery service – which is perfect if you are staying in one area for a few days. But we love to go in and browse and pick up a few items. Most stalls will be able to vacuum seal products such as cheese and Jamon Serrano for travelling which is perfect for airline travel. And if you don’t want any carry-on, we’d still recommend picking up a snack of almonds, cherries, figs or olives for your day-pack.
Shopping or not, it’s one of the best places to learn about Spanish cuisine. A number of the larger markets now run cookery demonstrations – some even have culinary classrooms where adults and children can learn to re-create Spanish recipes with the help of the best local chefs. And all the markets have a bar (where you can have a coffee or try some tapas) which is a great place to do some people-watching. Get a sense of what we are talking about by clicking play on the videos below
2 Must-See Spanish Food Markets – Mercado de la Boquería – BARCELONA
Originally an open air-market located by the city walls in Plaza de la Boqueria it was re-located to Las Ramblas. In 1840 the Boquería market was roofed and was renovated in 1914. The culinary classroom was added in 2003. Enjoy walking about the stalls and have something to eat at one of the bars.
Open from 6am to 9pm Monday to Saturday. Closed Sundays.
3 Must-See Spanish Food Markets – Mercado de San Miguel – MADRID
The San Miguel market is a beautiful iron structured building located beside the Plaza Mayor (which was the original location for the then open-air market). The current structure was built on the site of a former church of the same name. It’s received a major facelift and its many cultural and culinary events are very popular. We love the birthday video below which features an orchestra from Vienna that plays instruments made from vegetables (yes!) making and playing instruments made from vegetables sold in the market. What a great idea for a market’s anniversary. Open from 10am to midnight with extension until 2am on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. We recommend it anytime day or night for a stroll, a drink or some tapas.
4 Must-See Spanish Food Markets – Mercado de San Agustin – A CORUÑA
An emblematic building for A Coruña, it was completed in 1938 and was the most talked about structure of its time. You can buy fresh fish, meat, poultry, cheeses, bread and flowers. We love the fish section – which is fresher than you can imagine possible. And the building itself is a gem. Open from 9am to 3pm Monday to Saturday.
5 Must-See Spanish Food Markets – Mercado de Colon & Mercado Central, Valencia
Valencia is home to two stunning markets.
The Central Market is home to 400 food traders. Marvel at the iron, glass and ceramic domes that were completed in 1928. It was the first market to offer home delivery services. It’s no stranger to cultural events – you’ll enjoy the charming (although very wobbly) opera recital below. Open from 07.00am to 3pm Monday to Saturday.
After visiting the Mercado Central, why not call over to the Mercado de Colon – a stunning modernist building from 1916 where you’ll find music recitals and lots of other cultural events amidst the shops, cafes and restaurants. Go for a wanderand enjoy a drink or an ice-cream in one of Valencia’s most elegant of spaces. Opening times of the shops vary. The building itself is open from 07.30am until 01:am every day.
6 Must-See Spanish Food Markets – Mercado de Ataranzas – MÁLAGA
Best-known for its 108 stained-glass window panes that run along one end of the iron structured building and its Moorish gate entrance. This market dates back to the 14th century. Its current structure was built in 1879 and it was listed in 1979. Stroll from stand to stand to learn about the fresh local ingredients and have a drink at the bar to sample some local seafood favourites such as ‘cazon en adobo’.
7 Pro-tip: Visit the Local Markets Throughout Spain
Make sure that wherever you are in Spain – you pop into the local market. Remember wherever you find a fair or fiesta, you’ll nearly always find great food stands offering staples such as grilled chorizo, octopus and pies. It’s a great opportunity to try street-food at its best. If you are in Spain for Christmas, try the Christmas markets for seasonal items such as ‘turron’ and roast chestnuts. Keep an eye out for open-air mediaeval markets that move from city to city in the summer – almost half the stands will be food-based – see the video below from Estepona to get an idea of what the stalls are like…
Enjoy reading about Spanish gastronomy? Check out all our blogposts on Spanish Food & Drink!