A trip through the best markets in Madrid

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They’re one of the principal food draws in Madrid. The change from the traditional food markets to a more gourmet concept is here to stay. Here, we’re going to take a quick look at some of the capital’s best markets where you can enjoy the very best atmosphere and produce.

Food markets continue to be a very important meeting point in large and small cities throughout Spain. Traditional markets are capable of binding economic activity and social life together in the main neighbourhoods all over Spain.

with hundreds of them spread all over Madrid, but the city centre brings together the most important and well-known ones. Markets that have been transformed into food markets and gourmet tasting centres with products of the highest quality.

They’re a fundamental piece in the way of understanding the life of the people of Madrid, as well as a ‘must-visit’ for tourists and onlookers from all over the world. Indoor, outdoor, maximum design, traditional, urban youth… there’s something for all styles and tastes, but always with a common denominator – they can all boast of having the best fruit, vegetables, meat and fish in Madrid.

Here’s a brief history lesson, before starting with a tour of the city’s best markets. In the 19th century, the city of Madrid wanted to put an end to selling food on the streets and the health problems caused by it, and this is how and when they began to construct the markets as we know them today. The first ones were in Plaza de la Cebada, Los Montenses and La Paz.

Hold on a second, before you start snacking, why not take a stroll along Madrid’s Golden Mile. A square kilometre in the very heart of the Salamanca district that’s ideal for shopping, and where you can find the most select, exclusive brands of clothing, accessories, footwear and jewellery.

Now it’s time to check out the most popular and sought-after markets in the city.

Mercado de la Paz

Located just a stone’s throw from the posh Golden Mile, this market is a glamorous mix of wine shops, food stalls and local gourmet foodstuff.

Built at the end of the 19th century, its Art Noveau aesthetic is more than obvious. With close to 60 stalls open to the public, its canned Spanish anchovies, white asparagus and foie gras are all hugely popular.

Despite being in one of Madrid’s most expensive neighbourhoods, you can still find many stalls run by Madrid residents who’ve been there for generations who offer quite affordable prices. All the stall owners are friendly and more than happy to help.

San Ildefonso

The market is situated just a few metres from the original site of the first covered food market in Madrid, which was demolished in the 1970s.

Today, it offers a modern concept in food-based leisure, entertainment and socialising, with a prototypical food market style found in London, New York and Bangkok.

A great place to meet up after work, due to its location on Calle Fuencarral, between the neighbourhoods of Malasaña and Chueca.

Mercado de la Cebada

Located in a central neighbourhood in Madrid, Mercado de la Cebada is one of the largest food markets in the city. The market currently covers more than 6000m2 spread over two floors, where you can buy almost everything you need.

In addition to its top-quality commercial offer, it also has a children’s rea, Cebada Kids, where activities related to seasonal products and eating healthy and seasonal food are organised every weekend.

The location is one of its strong points, as the Madrid neighbourhood of La Latina is one of the most popular and busiest in the city.

Mercado de Antón Martín

Open since the 1940s, the Mercado de Antón Martín was completely refurbished in 2011. Located in the Lavapiés neighbourhood, the market has more than 60 stalls selling affordable, top-quality products.

Spread over two floors, you’ll find everything from organic food stalls to traditional bars serving Iberian ham and great cheese. It also has a specific area for cooking demonstrations and art exhibitions. The atmosphere is mainly indie and is a faithful reflection of the pecularity of the neighbourhood where it’s located.

Mercado de San Miguel

Located very close to the well-known Plaza Mayor, this is the most popular tourist market in the city. It used to be a traditional food market but has been reinvented to position itself at the forefront in the significant transformation of this type of premises.

Its tempered iron structure is the only one of its kind in all of Madrid. Inside, you can find all kinds of top-quality gourmet products, along with hoards of tourist from different countries enjoying the most typical Spanish dishes and creative and exciting food.

San Miguel has 33 stalls with extended opening hours, which makes it ideal for locals and tourists to enjoy.

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