The Best Markets in Malaga: Where the locals shop

This blog post was originally posted on April 19th, 2016 and was updated on May 18th, 2017

We love a good market; the action, the smells, the sounds and people bustling about, and the air of confidence that the people running the stands seem to have.

It is the best place to get a feel for the city, the local foods, and it’s wonderful for people watching! The concept to eat and prepare delicious foods with the ingredients that are locally available and in season is centuries old, but it seems as if the marketplace as a concept is having a true renaissance, so here are the best markets in Malaga to enjoy it.

We love a good market; the action, the smells, the sounds and people bustling about, and the air of confidence that the people running the stands seem to have. It is the best place to get a feel for the city, the local foods, and it’s wonderful for people watching! The concept to eat and prepare delicious foods with the ingredients that are locally available and in season is centuries old, but it seems as if the marketplace as a concept is having a true renaissance, and here are the best markets in Malaga to enjoy it.

The Traditional

The Mercado Central de Atarazanas is probably the best-known market in Malaga. It is located in the center of town steps from Calle Larios and it has an impressive entrance that is impossible to miss. This is one of the best markets in Malaga for both people watching, as well as learning about the city’s history — it was an obvious choice to include a visit here on our Tastes, Tapas & Traditions of Malaga Food Tour!

Back in the time of Muslim rule in Malaga, the water from the sea reached the door to the market. The word “atarazanas” translates to “arsenal” or place where military ships were constructed and repaired. This exactly what the original building was used for, although the only part of that original naval site still standing is the huge marble door. In 1868 it was turned into a marketplace that was then completely renovated from 2008-2010.

These are a typical small fish, boquerones, as seen at the Mercado de Atarazanas, one of the best markets in Malaga.
Boquerones at the Mercado de Atarazanas, Malaga

Make sure to check out the stained glass in the back of the market, which illustrates the history of the city of Malaga. The high ceilings and wrought iron supports are beautiful and give the market an open feel, similar to that of the Boquería market in Barcelona. There is no doubt about it – this market is a working market, complete with a lively atmosphere and all thanks to the crowds of locals coming each day to buy their fresh fish – and the rest! Many of the vendors speak a little bit of English, but a few words in the local language will always be appreciated.

Once you’ve finished shopping, don’t miss the bars along the edges of the market where you can enjoy a drink and a tapa! When the weather is nice, grab yourself a seat at the tables outside and enjoy that warm Malaga sun, even during the winter months. Fresh produce, cerveza and tapas certainly qualify the Mercado de Atarazanas as one of the best markets in Malaga. Open 8am-2pm Monday – Saturday. 

Address: Calle Atarazanas, 10

This is Mercado del Carmen, one of the best markets in Malaga and a great place to buy local produce!
Buying the daily catch at Mercado del Carmen in Malaga

The Neighborhood Market

The Mercado del Carmen is located in one of the quintessential Malaga neighborhoods : “El Perchel.” This area was one of the first areas outside the hispano-arab city walls. It was born out of necessity, so that the city residents would not be bothered by the smell of fish drying (an unwelcome consequence of the growing fishing industry), and the name of the neighborhood actually comes from this – “perchas” (hangers) is what the fisherman would use in order to hang and dry the fish.

For over 140 years, the Mercado del Carmen has been a place for the people of Malaga to buy fish caught fresh and brought in that morning from the port. The old market was closed in 2010, but the new, renovated marketplace still has today the same good quality seafood that us malagueños love!

The best markets in Malaga have tapas bars where you can try local favorites like this, fried fish.
Fried fish is one of the most typical dishes from Malaga and makes the perfect post-shoppping tapa!

If you are wanting to try some of the market’s produce on site, there is also a little bar where you can order up the catch of the day along with an ice cold beer. In fact, we recommend you to make it a point to have at least one tapa at the bar, as they do fried fish right (meaning that it doesn’t taste too fried or heavy). Good fried fish can be hard to come by, even on the Costa del Sol, so this place is a treasure in and of itself. Open Monday-Saturday 8am-3pm.

Address: Calle de la Serna, 14

This is Mercado de Salamanca, it's one of the best markets in Malaga and worth seeking out, not just for the food, but the beautiful architecture!
The Mercado de Salamanca, one of the most beautiful markets in Malaga

Off the Beaten Path

The Mercado de Salamanca (Mercado Molinillo) is a smaller market, and it’s a bit off the beaten path in terms of the touristic sites in Malaga. However it’s worth seeking out, not just for the food. The building itself is impressive, taking up a whole city block and showing off neo-arab style architecture with huge brightly colored archways.

Once you get inside the market, there are stalls where you can buy fish, meat, bread, and vegetables. However, if you ask a local, they will tell you that the thing to buy here is fish. Far from being a tourist attraction, This is a great place to come to get a sense of neighborhood life in Malaga as it is filled with locals and the hustle and bustle of daily life.

There is a little bar on the side of the market where you will likely find the vendors themselves enjoying a drink after work. Here you can order an ice cold beer and a tapa or two, nothing fancy, and certainly nothing touristy. This is your best pick if you want to get yourself off the beaten path, but it’s located only 10 minutes walk from the city center, making a visit here perfectly achievable!  Open Monday-Saturday 8am-2pm, Mondays 4pm-7pm and Tuesday-Friday 4pm-8pm.

Address: Calle San Bartolomé, 1

One of the best markets in Malaga is this one, te Guadalhorce Ecological Market, a farmers market that happens once per month
The monthly farmers market, Guadalhorce Ecological Market, on Paseo de Reding in Malaga

Farmers Markets

There is a recent trend in Malaga to buy ecological and locally grown produce and baked goods at farmers markets in the streets. Our favorite is the Guadalhorce Organic Market, which is found on the Paseo de Reding the second Saturday of each month. It is a gorgeous market located underneath a canopy of trees, with friendly vendors who are willing to chat about the produce and baked goods they are selling. It’s also a lovely walk just back from the beach and not far from the city center either. Open 10am-2pm, Second Saturday of the month.

Address: Calle Cervantes-Paseo de Reding, La Malagueta

Snacks like this can be enjoyed at the Mercado de Merced in Malaga, one of the best markets in Malaga if you want to have something to eat too!
Having a tapa and vermouth at the Mercado de Merced in Malaga!

Shopping with Tapas

The newly renovated Mercado Merced has been a market place for years, however after falling into what can only be described as a lack of customers, they decided to renovate and reinvigorate market. Basing their design off the successful Boqueria market in Barcelona or Mercado San Miguel in Madrid, the Mercado Merced is still a place where you can buy your groceries with local stalls for the butcher, fruit and vegetables, as well as fish, bread and dry goods.

However, it is now also home to many stands where you can order tapas. You can find anything from traditional Spanish choices like tortilla to seafood, along with more modern and international tapas like sushi and burger, and of course, plenty of local wine to wash it all down. Centrally located and beautifully redone, this is one of the best markets in Malaga if you are looking to nibble while you shop or simply somewhere to have a drink in the evening!

We love Malaga’s markets so much that one of these iconic markets is featured on our Tastes, Tapas & Traditions of Malaga Food Tour. Explore the market — and more! — with us and meet some of the friendly local vendors along the way. 

 

12 Comment

  1. […] first enjoyed this super simple and delicious starter at the Mercado del Carmen, a local market with some of the freshest seafood around. The same brochetas are available at the […]

  2. […] its almonds, which are fried in oil, salted and sold in the street! (You can also find them in the market along with local raisins, dates, and delicious fruits.) Of course there are always the options of […]

  3. […] you are a foodie, like us, one of the first stops on your list will be Atarazanas Market. This historic market is worth a visit, but another option that is a visit to the Mercado del Carmen, which is near the […]

  4. […] of the cheap things to do in Malaga is also a foodie’s dream. Take a stroll through Atarazanas Market and enjoy the smells, sounds and colors of this centuries old market. Make sure to take a taste of […]

  5. […] love Recyclo Bike for several reasons. It has a fantastic location (just a block away from Atarazanas Market), good coffee and smoothies, and nice music. It’s a perfect place to spend a bit of time catching […]

  6. […] always like to explore the local markets for the atmosphere, the hustle and bustle of people buying fruits, veggies and meats. It is […]

  7. […] Calle Atarazanas (next to the Market) or Avenida Carlos Haya, […]

  8. […] you’ve ever wandered down Calle Larios or taken a stroll through the local markets in Malaga, you know that almonds are grown locally. Any of the sweets made with almonds (including cookies, […]

  9. […] Invisible 23. Hit the vintage stores 24. Have a coffee and a cupcake at Julia Bakery 25. Visit Atarazanas Market 26. Visit the Cathedral and find out why she is our “One Armed Lady” 27. See where Picasso grew […]

  10. […] self-proclaimed foodies, we always enjoy visiting a local market, and this one made our list of “what to see in Malaga” for it’s historic value. […]

  11. […] before coming to Plaza Félix Saenz. Here you should turn right down Calle Sagasta to see the Atarazanas Market (open from […]

  12. […] Malaga, we are lucky to have amazing markets like the Mercado Central de Atarazanas, Mercado del Carmen and the Mercado de Salamanca among […]

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