Visiting the Malaga Central Market

Malaga Market Tour
Malaga’s colorful market.

When I visit a new city I want to get a feel for it as quickly as possible. Who lives there? What are they like? How do they dress? In my experience, one of the best ways to get a really good idea of a city’s local people is by visiting the main food market. By standing in the corner (sounds a bit creepy, but it works!) you can observe a lot of things about the local culture, and quickly feel in touch with a different society.

Malaga central Market

One of the highlights of my summer travels was our visit to the gorgeous Malaga Central Market. The Mercado Central de Atarazanas is one of the most beautiful and lively markets I’ve visited in Spain. The mix of booths and small bars and restaurants make it a place you could easily spend the morning, and if we’d been lucky enough to have the use of a kitchen, we’d have stocked up on some of the area’s best seafood, fruits, and vegetables to make a lovely meal.

Malaga market
Just a busy morning at the market.

The market was once Malaga’s shipyard, a place where ships were repaired over 600 years ago. At this point in history, the water made it all the way up to the market’s entrance. After the reconquest, the building was shortly used as a convent, a military hospital, and an army barracks, before finally becoming a market in 1879. Inspired (as most Spanish markets were during this time) by Mercado de Les Halles in Paris, the iron work on the market was a main feature, though the most striking part was definitely one of the original marble doors, dating back to when the building was first built as a shipyard.

Like most Spanish markets, the Malaga Central Market had its share of tough times. The market was in desperate need of renovations, and in 2008 they began. Over the course of two years, the market was updated, opening up the beautiful ceiling, adding in a gorgeous stained glass window, and arranging the 260 stalls in three separate areas– fish, meat, and produce.

Mercado central de Atarazanas
A peek at the new stained glass window.
Malaga food
Some of the delights waiting for you inside: Crisp Alhambra beer, bread with homemade alioli and grilled octopus, fried shrimp and fried dogfish.

The result is the gorgeous Mercado Central de Atarazanas (atarazana means shipyard), that happened to be filled with people on the day of our visit. People were shouting, laughing, and carefully inspecting their potential buys. The bar areas were filled with lucky locals, chowing down on the most delicious fried shrimp, octopus skewers, and other mouthwatering delights.

 Sound good? Take a look for yourselves!

Mercado central de Atarazanas
Capers, lupini beans and almond stuffed olives.
Mercado central de Atarazanas
Iberian pork loin.
Malaga central Market
Famous Malaga raisins.
Mercado central de Atarazanas
Dried fruit and nuts sold by weight.
Malaga almonds Mercado central de Atarazanas
The famous Malaga almonds.
Mercado central de Atarazanas
Some gorgeous Moroccan dates.
Pastilla Moroccan
I was so tempted to buy a pastilla, a delicious Moroccan pie filled with meats, almonds, and cinnamon.
Dried lard.
It wouldn’t be Spain without some random parts of the pig for sale!
Morcilla de Ronda
Ronda style blood sausage.
Dried ribs Malaga market
Dried ribs.
Malaga market shrimp
Local shrimp at one of the fish stands.
Malaga central market
Tiny white bait.
malaga market
Chop chop!
malaga clams
Clams of all shapes and sizes.
Malaga fish
Perfectly filleted.
Market in Malaga
Working hard.
Cigalas in Malaga
Fresh and delicious.

Malaga Market Tour

Malaga Market Tour
Malaga Market Tour

When I started planning our food tours in Malaga, I knew that the Atarazanas market had to be a stop. Our daytime Tastes, Tapas and Traditions of Malaga Food Tour visits this lovely historic market to taste some of the city’s best bites. We meet locals like Javi and José, who have spent their adult lives working inside the market and sharing their delicacies with shoppers!

Have you ever been to an amazing local market? Where? 

Comments

  1. This post is wonderful, it’s funny I was just wondering how Malaga was since a Panamanian Football player will be playing for their club!

    I’ll be sharing it with my Panamanian friends! Oh, and the pics are fantastic 🙂

    1. It’s usually open Monday to Saturday from around 10am to 3pm (holidays, Sundays and evenings it’s usually closed). Mondays, however, won’t have the fish section open (which is the best part!).

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