From the famous flea market “the Rastro” to the foody paradise of Mercado San Miguel, Madrid offers a multitude of options and experiences to cater to all tastes and needs

Madrid is a big modern capital and therefore is full of all the things you would expect in any metropolis. Supermarkets and shopping centres are everywhere often a stone’s throw from one another, catering for everything you might possibly want. But, what do you do if you want a more authentic experience in Madrid? Simple! You go and explore the many markets strewn across the city.

Mercado de San Miguel

If you’re looking for somewhere to get a quick lunch or a bit of high-end shopping San Miguel has what you are looking for. It isn’t the most budget friendly option in Madrid but you won’t be sorry you tried it. Not only does it offer fresh produce and restaurant quality food but it also has a selection of mini wineries and places for a quick drink. It can get pretty busy in the middle of the day and at peak eating hours as you’d expect, so my recommendation would be to get there earlier in the morning or later in the evening to avoid the crowds. These crowds are almost guaranteed due to the location in the heart of Madrid. It’s very close to the Plaza Mayor and Sol, so great even just to take a look and do some window-shopping and soak in the atmosphere.

Mercado de San Antón

If the more historical and traditional San Miguel doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, why not visit the Mercado San Antón in one of Madrid’s most distinctive and exciting neighbourhoods – Chueca. The market itself is a great experience. It is divided into three different floors. On the ground floor, you have a traditional market selling the freshest and tastiest products for cooking at home. Go up a level and you’ll be greeted with a foodies’ paradise of mini restaurants and quick takeaway dishes. It has a great international selection so there is something there for all tastes. Finally, if you are after somewhere to sit down and enjoy a drink at sunset with some friends, the rooftop bar is the place for you. Don’t leave it too late as this hotspot is popular with tourists and locals alike and space isn’t easy to come by.

Mercado de San Fernando

Nestled in the heart of Lavapies, Madrid’s most multicultural neighbourhood, is the San Fernando market. It has a little bit of everything from foreign food and fresh produce and even a few bookshops.

El Rastro

If you are less interested in food and more interested in curiosities and bits and bobs, why not visit the Rastro on a Sunday morning in La Latina. El Rastro is famous across Spain for being the largest open air street market and has no end of interesting things to find from fossils to coins and of course its famous antiques. It is a great way to spend a Sunday morning in Madrid, idling away the morning looking to buy all manner of things you never even knew about or really needed! Ha ha!

Mercado de Motores

If flea markets are your cup of tea, Madrid also plays host to the Mercado de Motores which takes place on the second weekend of every month. Though the Rastro is a great open air market, the Motores is located in Delicias (very close to the metro or the train station – Renfe cercanías)) in a beautiful old train station. It’s worth checking out just to see the place and the stalls which are set out in vintage train carriages. All aboard for a market?!

Useful Vocabulary

Un puesto
(A stall)

Buscando una ganga
(Looking for a bargain)

Comprando recuerdos de España
(Buying souvenirs)

Tapear en los bares de alrededor
(Having tapas in the surrounding bars)

Cómo regatear
(How to haggle)

¿Puedo pagar en efectivo o con tarjeta?
(Can I pay by cash or card?)

Cuidado con los carteristas
(Beware of the pickpockets)

Buscar un regalo original
(Looking for an original present)

¿Quién da la vez?
(Who’s the last in the queue?)

¿Tienen más tallas?
(Do you have more sizes?)

Hablamos - full-on Spanish! ☺