Step into any Madrid market and embark on a culinary journey that matches the pulse of the city, merging local dishes, regional delicacies, and international favorites. If it’s your first time in a Spanish market, don’t feel intimidated by what might seem like a maze of options. It’s best to first circle around the market to survey the scene, see what sellers have to offer, and take note on which stalls people are waiting orderly in a line with a ticket in hand and which stalls do not before you make any commitments. As you go from stall to stall and thinking about what to order on you second go-around, remember to brush up on your Spanish because an “hola,” “por favor,” and “gracias” will go a long way.
From gourmet food stalls to rooftop views, there are dozens of markets in the capital city of Spain, but each has a distinct feel. When you travel with Journy, your personal trip designer will strategically fit in pit-stops at mercados in your itinerary, making sure to logistically optimize everything so you're not criss-crossing from one end of the city to the next.
But in the meantime, if you need help deciding where to go, here's our guide:
1. Mercado de San Miguel
After making a visit to Plaza Mayor, head over to Mercado San Miguel to taste test some of the gourmet food stalls. In 2009, the completed modern renovation and reopening of Mercado de San Miguel marked a sort of renaissance or back to basics of the Madrid food market scene. Yes, Mercado de San Miguel is one of the most well-known and trendy gastronomy markets, and you’re likely to think it’s a tourist trap, but it’s still worth the visit—if not for the stunning iron architecture as for a taste of jamón ibérico. And it’s a great stop for first-time tourists getting acquainted with the city.
Hours: Sun - Thurs, 10AM - midnight; Fri - Sat, 10AM - 1AM
2. Mercado de San Antón
If you’re in Chueca and ready for rooftop views and five floors of foodie paradise, head to Mercado San Antón around sunset. It’s a great stop to meet with friends/fellow food lovers and get ready to start the night with an endless choice of tapas and cañas. The first floor houses perishable goods (think cured meats, fresh fruits, and vegetables) with the second floor featuring a wine bar and several tapas stalls. The third floor is the Cocina de San Antón kitchen, where guests can bring their goods from the first floor to be cooked.
Bonus points for the fact that San Antón is one of the most sustainable markets in the entire city. Not only does the central skylight collect solar energy, but the floor is constructed out of reused cast basalt. There's also an extensive recycling system.
Hours: Ground floor (supermarket) and first floor (market): Mon - Sat, 10AM - 10PM; second floor (tapas bars): Mon - Sat, 10AM - midnight; third floor (restaurant): Sun - Thurs, 10AM - midnight, Fri - Sat, 10PM - 1:30AM
3. Mercado Antón Martín
Whereas Mercado de San Miguel and Mercado de San Antón might be the trendier markets of Madrid, Mercado de Anton Martin is a more traditional market and has a distinct bohemian feel. The market offers both fresh produce and meats along with wine bars and, of course, the quintessential cured jamón reflecting the multicultural Lavapiés and historic Huertas neighborhoods that it borders. If you’re up early and ready to shop for fresh food, make sure to beat the crowds and head here.
Hours: Mon - Fri, 9AM - 9PM; Sat, 9AM - 3PM
4. Mercado de la Paz
Tucked among Madrid’s luxury shopping stores in the posh Salamanca neighborhood, Mercado de la Paz is Madrid’s oldest market (it opened in 1882!) and also home to one of the city’s best tortilla Española (Spanish egg omelette) at Casa Dani.
Hours: Mon - Fri, 9AM - 8PM; Sat, 9AM - 2:30PM
5. Mercado San Fernando
Where else can you find a barbershop, a bookshop, and a craft beer stall in the same market? Mercado de San Fernando leans more towards a traditional market but with its natural wine bar and ramen food stalls amongst the typical local offerings, it’s a place where locals and the adventurous traveler can still feel at home. But if you’re thinking about heading to Mercado San Fernando after you hit up the Rastro (also on Calle Embajadores), remember to try another day because in typical Spanish fashion, it’s closed on Sundays.
Winter hours: Mon - Fri, 9AM - 2:15PM; 5PM - 8PM; Sat, 9AM - 2:30PM
Summer hours: Mon - Fri, 9AM - 2:15PM; 5:30PM - 8:30PM; Sat, 9AM - 2:30PM
Splitting your time between Madrid and Barcelona? Refer to our ultimate guide to Madrid's sister city down south.