El Mercado de San Miguel, Madrid’s Famous Market: A Guide

The Mercado de San Miguel, located in the heart of Madrid, is a popular bustling market for tourists and locals alike (but mostly tourists). It is one of the most famous and popular markets in Spain.

The market offers a wide variety of Spanish foods and drinks to try. From fresh meat and seafood to local cheeses and wines, the market has something for everyone.

You cannot leave Madrid without a stop at this great place, which is within walking distance of Sol, and Plaza Mayor. Whether you’re starving, in need of a light bite, or simply want to people-watch, the Mercado de San Miguel is an ideal place to do it.

Image of smiling man in blue jumperHow's it going?

I'm James, a lover of travel and languages. 

So much so that I blog about them on this site. 

I hope you find this information useful! 😊

The History of the San Miguel Market

The Mercado de San Miguel has a long history, dating back to the early 20th century when it was first built as an iron structure.

It has undergone several renovations over the years and was most recently restored in 2009 to its current form, which combines traditional and modern elements.

Where in Madrid is the Mercado de San Miguel located?

The Mercado San Miguel is located in the heart of Madrid, in the Plaza de San Miguel.

It is situated in the area of the city known as “El Centro”, near other popular tourist attractions, a short distance from Plaza Mayor and the Cathedral of Almudena.

The most straightforward journey will take you to Sol, one of the city’s primary transport stations. You can take metro line 1, 2, or 3 services to get there. From Sol, it’s a very short walk.

Food and Drink at the Mercado de San Miguel

The Mercado de San Miguel features a wide variety of vendors, each offering a selection of delicious Spanish foods, drinks, and fresh tapas.

The food stalls and bars within the market provide a perfect opportunity to try different things, including tasty jamón ibérico, paella, tapas, churros, sandwiches, a glass of vermouth, and sangría.

Visitors can also find fresh seafood, meats, cheeses, and wines, as well as a variety of other Spanish delicacies. Let’s look at these in more detail.

Jamón ibérico

This is a type of cured ham made from the hind legs of Iberian pigs. It is known for its rich, nutty flavor and is often served in thin slices as a tapa.


This is a traditional Spanish dish made with saffron, rice, and a variety of meats, seafood, and vegetables.

The Mercado San Miguel offers several different types of paella, including traditional Valencia-style paella, as well as vegetarian and seafood options.


These are small plates of food that are typically served with drinks.

The Mercado San Miguel offers a variety of tapas, including traditional options like tortilla (Spanish omelet), croquetas (deep-fried balls of meat or fish and béchamel sauce), and patatas bravas (deep-fried potatoes with a spicy tomato sauce).

The word tapa means ‘lid’ and comes from the verb tapear, meaning ‘to cover’. The tradition of tapas originated when barkeepers began covering their customers’ drinks, usually wine, with a slice of bread, ham, or cheese to stop flies and dust from entering.

Nowadays, a tapa does not have to be a small dish, and can in fact be more of a meal than a snack. If you’d like to order a large tapa, order a ración.


These are long, thin, fried doughnuts that are typically served with a cup of hot chocolate for dipping.

The Mercado San Miguel offers traditional churros as well as different variations such as churros with chocolate filling.


This is a traditional Spanish drink made with red wine, fruit, and brandy.

The Mercado San Miguel offers several different types of sangría, including traditional red sangría, as well as white sangria made with white wine and fruit.


Fresh seafood is one of the hallmarks of Spanish cuisine, and the Mercado San Miguel offers a variety of seafood options, including fresh fish, shellfish, and fish tapas dishes.


The Mercado San Miguel offers a variety of meats, including traditional Spanish options such as chorizo, lomo (cured pork loin – also famous in Segovia), and morcilla (blood sausage).

The latter is very popular in Argentinian cuisine and often found on a parrilla (a grill).

Cheeses and Wines

The market also features a variety of Spanish cheeses and wines, including Manchego cheese and Rioja wine, which are both very popular in Spain and are a perfect match.

Bread and Pastries

Spain is famous for its baked goods, and this is an excellent place to grab savory pastries or eat sweet desserts.

The market’s stalls are lined with amazing

Other Spanish delicacies

The market offers many other Spanish delicacies, such as olive oils, vinegar, canned fish, pickles, and much more. It is the variety of dishes that makes the Mercado de san Miguel such a popular market.

Special Events and Activities

From time to time, certain vendors within the Mercado San Miguel host special events and activities. These include cooking classes and wine tastings, which allow visitors to learn more about Spanish cuisine and culture.

Occasionally, the market also features live music and other entertainment, making it a lively and exciting place to visit.

Additional Information

The opening hours of the market

El Mercado de San Miguel is open from 10AM – 12AM Sunday – Thursday, and 10AM – 1AM on Friday and Saturday.

However, the market is often closed on national holidays, so make sure you plan ahead.

How to reach the market by public transportation

You can take metro line 1, 2, or 3 services to get there. From Sol or Metro Ópera, it’s a very short walk. You can also walk to the market from the Royal Palace (Palacio Real). This will take 10-15 minutes.

Tips for shopping at the market

Grab something you’ve never tried before! Enjoy the crowded atmosphere as the market bustles with locals. Oh, and be sure to explore the Plaza Mayor, a few minutes away from the market.

How to behave while visiting the market

This is an informal setting and a covered market. In Spain, that means its noisy! So, don’t worry about making plenty of noise with friends or a big group after a beer or two. As always, just be respectful and enjoy!

Some of the best vendors to visit at the market

The most famous place in el Mercado de San Miguel is a restaurant called Arzábal. This is a Basque restaurant founded by former Masterchef contestants. The pinchos (tapas served on slices of bread) are exceptional.

How to know if a vendor is selling good quality products or not

It is difficult to eat badly in this market. All of the produce is fresh because the market is so busy most of the day. As a result, tapas dishes are made frequently.

How to compare prices and avoid being overcharged

This market is more expensive than others due to its location in the center of Madrid. Be sure to bring cash and ask for prices before you order something.

Some of the best things to buy at the market

Some of the best things to buy at el Mercado de San Miguel include churros, jamón, pinchos, and wine. In the summer, drop by for a caña (a small beer often served in a frozen glass).

Some of the best things to drink at the market

The wine bars in el Mercado de San Miguel serve wines from all over the world. However, when in Spain, be sure to sample Rioja, or any wine with a tempranillo grape.

Summing up: Madrid’s Mercado de San Miguel

The Mercado de San Miguel is a do-not-miss destination for food lovers visiting Madrid. It is just one of the many crowded, fun places in Madrid that you must explore when you visit.

With a wide variety of delicious Spanish foods to eat and drinks to try, as well as special events and activities, it offers an authentic and memorable culinary experience.

Situated in the heart of Madrid at Plaza de San Miguel, this market offers a wide variety of delicious Spanish foods and drinks.