11 Things to Know About El Mercado de San Miguel When You Visit Madrid

Lara Mega

Lara Mega - Head of Content

Last Updated: January 4, 2024

Hey! How’s it going? I’m Lara, and I'm thrilled to share with you the 11 essential things you need to know about El Mercado de San Miguel in Madrid, based on my firsthand experience exploring this vibrant food market. Get ready to immerse yourself in the culinary delights of Madrid and make the most out of your visit!

San Miguel Market, Madrid

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

The market offers a wide variety of Spanish delicious foods to try. From fresh meat to local cheeses and wines, San Miguel has something for everyone. You cannot leave Madrid without a stop at this iconic market, which is within walking distance of Sol and Plaza Mayor.

So, let's explore 11 things you should know before visiting the market to prepare you for your trip to Madrid.

Most Recommended Thing to Do

Prado Museum

Top Choice Hotel

The Principal Madrid Hotel.

Our Top Choice Restaurant


Our Top Choice Bar for Nightlife


Best Time to Visit

Spring and fall provide the best weather.

Average Temperature

Hot summers, mild winters in Madrid, Spain.

Transportation Options

Metro, bus, taxi, bike, scooter, train, walking, car.

Average Cost ($, $$, $$$)


My Top Recommendation

When it comes to Madrid, Spain, there is so much to see and experience that it's hard to know where to begin. However, one of my top recommendations would be to spend a day exploring the vibrant neighborhood of La Latina. Wandering through its narrow, cobblestone streets, you'll stumble upon charming cafes, local bars, and bustling markets. Make sure to visit the Mercado de San Miguel, a historical food market that delights all your senses with its variety of fresh produce, tapas, and delicious Spanish wine. Don't forget to try some authentic churros y chocolate at San Gines, a local institution that has been serving this sweet treat since the 19th century. As you soak in the energetic atmosphere and interact with friendly locals, you'll truly feel the authentic pulse of Madrid.

For a more tranquil and refined experience, I highly recommend visiting the stunning Royal Palace of Madrid. As you walk through its grand halls adorned with lavish tapestries, intricate chandeliers, and breathtaking artwork, you'll feel like you've stepped into a fairytale. Take your time to explore the intricately manicured gardens and snap pictures of the beautiful Sabatini Gardens, offering stunning views of the city skyline. Make sure to catch the Changing of the Guard ceremony at the palace gates, a traditional ritual that embodies the regal heritage of Spain. Ending your visit with a leisurely stroll in the nearby Plaza Mayor, surrounded by charming cafes and souvenir shops, will provide the perfect ending to your magical day in Madrid.

What You'll Need to Bring

Passport, comfortable walking shoes, lightweight clothing, sun hat, sunscreen, camera, portable charger, travel guide or map, appropriate adapters for electronic devices, a reusable water bottle, and a money belt or secure bag for your valuables.

For the best experience, be sure to bring an open mind, a sense of adventure, and willingness to immerse yourself in the local culture. Additionally, pack any specific items you may need, such as medication, specific dietary requirements, or any personal comfort items. Remember to check the weather forecast before you go to ensure you pack appropriately.

What Not to Miss

  1. Royal Palace
  2. Prado Museum
  3. Retiro Park
  4. Puerta del Sol
  5. Plaza Mayor
  6. Gran Via
  7. Temple of Debod
  8. Mercado de San Miguel
  9. Santiago Bernabeu Stadium
  10. Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum

What to Avoid

Pickpockets and petty theft. Tourist traps and overpriced attractions.

1. It’s the Last Remaining Iron Market Hall in Madrid

The Last Remaining Iron Market Hall in Madrid

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.

This market is so iconic and loved by locals because it is the last iron market hall standing in the city, with the other food markets being more modern and less distinctive.

2. The Location of the Mercado de San Miguel

The Location of the Mercado de San Miguel

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.

You can set your rights to Sol, one of the city's main transportation hubs and main squares. From Sol, it's a very short walk.

3. The Opening Hours of the Mercado de San Miguel

El Mercado de San Miguel is open from 10 am - 12 am from Sunday to Thursday, and 10 am to 1 am on Friday, Saturday, and holiday eves.

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

4. Spanish Cuisine at the Mercado de San Miguel

The Mercado de San Miguel welcomes visitors with its top-notch food and drink offerings, as evidenced by rave reviews, making it the perfect destination for a delightful day of culinary exploration.

The food stalls and bars within the San Miguel 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 the freshest fish, meats, cheeses, and wines, as well as a variety of other Spanish delicacies.

Let's look at these in more detail.



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 tradition of tapas originated when barkeepers began covering their customers' drinks, with a slice of bread, ham, or cheese to stop flies and dust from entering.

Jamón ibérico

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 marketplace offers several different types of this food, including traditional Valencia-style paella, as well as vegetarian and seafood options.



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.



When in Madrid, eat the delicious tacos at Mercado San Miguel to immerse yourself in the city's culinary tapestry.

Explore the vibrant flavors on a guided culinary tour, and reserve room for the delectable blend of Mexican cuisine in this bustling marketplace.

Fresh Fish

Freshest Fish

Visitors exploring the neighborhood can uncover a hidden gem in Mercado San Miguel, where they can delight in the freshest fish in town.



The market 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 is often found on a parrilla (a grill).

Cheeses and Wines

Cheeses and Wines

The San Miguel 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.

Some of the Best Things to Drink at the Markets

Some of the Best Things to Drink at the Markets

The 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.

Bread and Pastries

Bread and Pastries

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

You can relish the delightful experience of enjoying bread and pastries in Madrid, savoring every bite as they sit, saving cherished memories, and later posting a glowing review.

Other Spanish delicacies

Other Spanish delicacies

The building offers many other different foods, such as olives oils, tacos, canned fish, pickles, and much more. It is the variety of dishes that makes the Mercado de San Miguel such a popular market.

Visitors can fully embrace the flavors of the city, as they sat with their loved ones, savoring a wide array of other Spanish delicacies from the bustling food stalls, while saving the dates and contact to preserve these gastronomic adventures.

5. Special Events and Activities

Special Events and Activities

From time to time, certain vendors within the remaining iron market hall host special events and activities. These include cooking classes and tastings, which allow visitors to learn more about Spanish cuisine and culture.

Occasionally, the Mercado de San Miguel also features live music and other entertainment, making it a lively and exciting place to visit.

6. How to Reach the Mercado de San Miguel by Public Transportation

 La Latina

Travelers can take metro lines 1, 2, or 3 services to get to Sol, and from there, it is a short walk to the Mercado. Other nearby Metro stops include La Latina, which is line 5, and Opera, which is connected to both lines 2 and 5.

There are also great public buses in Madrid, as well as scooters for rent.

7. How to Behave Inside the Mercado de San Miguel

How to Behave Inside the Mercado de San Miguel

This is an informal setting and a covered market. In Spain, that means it's noisy! So, don't worry about making plenty of noise with friends or a big group after a beer or two. There is no dress code inside the market. As always, just be respectful and enjoy.

8. Some of the Best Vendors to Visit


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.

9. How to Tell if a Vendor is Selling Good Quality Products

How to Tell if a Vendor is Selling Good Quality Products

To determine if a vendor is offering good quality products during a trip, you should consider factors such as online reviews, advice from guided tours, and the presentation and cleanliness of the stall. Moreover, are locals eating the food there? That is usually a great way to be sure that the food is good.

10. Compare Prices and Avoid Being Overcharged

Compare Prices and Avoid Being Overcharged

This Mercado de San Miguel 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. You can visit another of Madrid's popular markets first to compare prices, such as the Mercado de San Ildefonso or the Mercado de San Antón.

11. Some of the Best Things to Buy

people walking through a large open air 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).

FAQs About San Miguel Market in Madrid

Now that you know all about San Miguel Market, let's take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions about this iconic Mercado.

Is San Miguel a wholesale food market?

The San Miguel Market in Madrid opened its doors over 100 years ago as a wholesale food market. Now, it is a bustling, popular, and diverse gastronomic market that attracts locals and tourists alike.

What time does the San Miguel market open?

The Mercado de San Miguel opens at 10 am every day, closing at midnight from Sunday to Thursday, and at 1 am on Fridays and Saturdays. The market is most crowded in the evenings and weekends.

Why is Mercado San Miguel popular?

The San Miguel Market is so popular because it is an iconic structure in Madrid that boasts a lively atmosphere and delicious food and drinks, and offers an insight into the daily lives of Madrid's locals.

Summing Up: Things to Know About El Mercado de San Miguel When You Visit Madrid

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

Madrid's Mercado de San Miguel is a visual feast, with captivating photos capturing its cast iron architecture, complemented by glowing reviews that celebrate its vibrant atmosphere and diverse culinary offerings.

Madrid's Mercado de San Miguel stands as a dynamic hub where visitors respond enthusiastically to its inviting ambiance, offering not only a review-worthy experience but also housing a wholesale food market, serving as a destination for guided tours and fostering bustling business.