Last modified: July 14, 2019
A return visit to one of our favourite markets, the Mercado de San Miguel for us!. My mother-in-law recently visited us from Rome and her wish was to visit Madrid. We were only happy to comply because we absolutely love the city and have written about Madrid before as one of the cities we had considered living in, and a place we are more than happy to visit again and again. One of our favourite stops is this historic Mercado which is located just behind the Plaza Mayor. Brace yourself for some drool worthy tapas images.
Madrid Mercado de San Miguel: Food Porn in Spain:
A gastronomic market that must be experienced on any visit to Madrid, the Mercado de San Miguel has been a favourite destination of locals and travellers alike for over a hundred years. It is quite easy to understand once you’ve set foot in this crazy cool Goth inspired and historic building.
It’s understandable to think of the San Miguel mercado as just a tourist trap with inferior food, but you would be wrong. This is a market that features really tasty gourmet tapas that shows a lot of creativity. Unlike our mercado here in Valencia, it does not have market stalls selling fresh food and fruits etc.. This is more like our beloved Mercado Baranco back when we lived in Seville.
How to get to Mercado de San Miguel:
By Bus: Lines 148 and 3 will get you to the Mercado. We stayed at a Madrid AirBnB on the 148 route. The apartment turned out to be just as nice and spacious in real life. Absolutely huge and clean space that was definitely Moorish inspired with a big jacuzzi and one of the most decked-out kitchens we have ever seen. We would definitely recommend it highly. It sleeps at least seven or eight and even had a baby pram thingie (not sure what it’s called).
This time however on our visit, rather than hopping on the public bus, we did the get your guide hop-on, hop-off Madrid tour because my MIL is almost 70 and can’t walk long distances. The day tour cost us €22 each and we felt it was a fair price. She got to see all the best bits of Madrid and wasn’t too tired. Ever since we used the company for our Auschwitz tour, we have been using them a lot when we travel.
By Metro: On lines 2 and 5, the stop is Opera
Lines 1, 2 and 3 – the stop is Sol
Mercado de San Miguel Hours:
Monday – Thursday and Sundays: 10am – Midnight
Friday, Saturday and Holidays: 10am – 1am
Mercado de San Miguel Facts:
- The site was originally a church, The Iglesia de San Miguel de los Octoes in the 13th century.
- A fire that started at Plaza Mayor caused heavy damage in 1790. It was ordered to be demolished in 1809 after the royal architect deemed it unsafe.
- It became a fish market after the demolition.
- Despite plans to rebuild since 1835, it wasn’t until 1913 that construction began and the covered market opened in 1916.
- It is the very last of the iron markets in Madrid. It was saved by El Gastronomo de San Miguel, a group of investors who purchased it in 2003.
- Mercado San Miguel reopened in 2009 and became a runaway success.
- Over 10 million visitors visit the Mercado San Miguel on a yearly basis making it the most popular food market in Madrid.
- Declared Bien de Interés Cultural in 2000 which is the highest distinction given to historical monuments in Spain.
This central Madrid market has about 30 stalls by my count,selling a variety of food, including several types of paella, fish and tapas. There are also several stalls selling beer, wine and cocktails. There is a smallish section of tables and chairs but as you can imagine, trying to find space is nearly impossible as those who are ensconced in seats are very reluctant to relinquish them which is the part l hate, looking desperate and giving the people seating evil looks while they people watched 🙂 .
You might enjoy: Visiting Madrid like a local
One of the cool things about the San Miguel market is that there are tapas from all over Spain. Fresh fish from Galicia, Cheeses from the Basque Country, Asturias and Castile. You’re guaranteed to find something to like from all the offerings. My suggestion on total enjoyment is to eat as much as possible at the Madrid San Miguel market and then walk it off by meandering around Plaza Mayor people watching, admiring the architecture or shopping at anyone of the stores that line the plaza. Get relief in the shade under the porticoes. You might be lucky enough to catch a quick flamenco dance if you tip. Don’t be a douchebag tourist who snaps loads of pics, then runs off without tipping. Dick move and we saw at least three people doing that.
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Overall thoughts on Mercado de San Miguel:
A definite must visit in Madrid. Part of traveling, at least for us, is to experience the food culture, and what a way to enjoy it all by eating some of the delicious and gorgeous looking tasty food from the market. There are also bars serving proper cocktails, like Mojitos and Margaritas (I did skip that in favour of my favourite, Tinto de Verano). If you’re short on time, here are places to visit on a day visit to Madrid. The best part is that since it’s located in the center, places like Palacio Real and Puerta del Sol are just few minutes walk.
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Madrid Mercado de San Miguel address:
Plaza de San Miguel 5, Madrid 28005
Have you visited Madrid? If yes, did you visit the Mercado San Miguel? Any tasty tapas consumed by you and would you recommend visiting for others?