|The Markets of Andalucia are a great pace to stock up on well priced, fresh fruit and vegetables|
Costa del Sol Markets
Markets (mercados) are a common sight in towns and villages throughout Costa del Sol are an essential part of local life largely unaffected by competition from supermarkets and hypermarkets. They are colourful, noisy and entertaining and an experience not to be missed, whether you plan to buy anything or not.
Some towns have markets on one or two days a week only (always the same days), while others have daily fruit and vegetable markets from Mondays to Saturday usually just in the morninggs. Market days are varied in coastal towns so they don't coincide.
There are generally three kind of markets: indoor municipal markets, permanent street markets and traveling open-air street markets that move from town neighbourhood to neighbourhood on different days of the week. There's often a indoor covered central market often called 'mercardo de abastos' in many towns.
There are also Sunday markets in some towns and flea markets (or boot sales) which are largely patronised by foreigners and a good place to pick up cheap second-hand English books, as well as household items.
They are controlled by the town hall and are found in most towns. Markets usually operate from 9.00 am until 13.00 pm, although in some towns they occasionally open again on Fridays after siesta time. A variety of goods are commonly sold, including food, flowers, plants, clothes, shoes, ironmongery, crockery, hardware, linen, ceramics, cassettes, carpets, and leather goods. However food markets remain the most popular and are, without doubt, the best place to buy the freshest vegetables and fruit, particularly that which is in season. The stalls are grouped together more or less according to the types of food they offer.
Closest to the entrance are the butchers with meat hanging from hooks across the front of the stalls. Most of it is sold either as filete, sliced into thin steaks and priced according to its tenderness and position on the carcass, or in lumps for stewing.
The next group of stalls belong to the fish merchants. Depending on the season and what the boats have brought in, their counters will be piled with different types of clam, some finer and more expensive than others.
Beyond the fish stalls are the delicatessens and grocers with cheeses, York and smoked hams, olives, dried chickpeas, lentils, beans, salted pork, sausages, big circular drums of salted sardines and bacalao, a strong smelling salt cod eaten everywhere in Andalucia
Vegetable and fruit stalls deal in only three or four varieties, huge bunches of carrots with their fronds still attached to show their freshness, waxy sand-covered potatoes and big misshapen tomatoes which are sliced and served uncooked with olive oil, chopped garlic and rough salt. Others sell everything in season. The vegetable merchants may have broad beans, green beans and peas, cabbage and chard in winter, dark curling spinach, little tender-skinned marrows, green and red peppers, aubergines, orange chunks of pumpkin, yams, cucumbers and large purple onions, mild flavoured and sweet. The spice lady, an essential figure in every Andalucian market whatever its size, has a wooden trestle table brimming over with sacks of herbs. Coriander, marjoram, fennel, black peppercorn, cumin, thyme, rosemary, lavender, bay leaves, rough salt, sticks of cinnamon, expensive cloves, dried red peppers threaded on twine for flavouring stews, nutmeg and mace, shelled almonds for sweets, verbena for tea, and tiny boxes of precious saffron to colour paella.
- Marbella - Recinto Ferial (Fairground Site) on the east side of town.
- Fuengirola - Recinto Ferial.
- Manilva - Castillo de la Duquesa
- Estepona - Calle Carmen Laforet off Avenida Puerto del Mar.
- Alhaurin de la Torre - old town.
- San Pedro - by sports pavilion.
- Torremolinos - El Calvario near Town Hall.
- Alhaurin El Grande - by Guardia Civil in town centre.
- Benalmadena - by Tivoli World and Plaza San Pedro.
- Manilva - near the football ground
- Casares - Calle de la Carrera
- Marbella - Ecological Market, Parque de la Alameda, every 1st Saturday of the month (Morning)
- Coin - Organic Market, Plaza Villa de Coin, every 3rd Saturday of the month (Morning)
- Coin - Weekly Market In local Feria grounds
These markets are of a more modern creation. Some like the Sabanillas Sunday car boot sale grew out of nothing ten years ago. They tend to sell antiques and souvenirs, leather goods, arts, crafts, paintings, sunglasses leather goods, CD's and fashion accessories.
- Nueva Andalucia - Centro Plaza Shopping Centre and Bullring opposite Puerto Banus Mijas Costa - Las Lagunas near Euromarket
- Fuengirola - Car boot sale in the fairground
- Puerto Banus - Artisan Market, Plaza de Antonio Banderas
- Gibraltar - Charity car boot sale in Safeway Car Park westside.
- Sotogrande - Upmarket rastro in the port
- Sabanillas - Popular car boot sale
- Estepona - Market in the port
- Estepona - Rastro in the Plaza de Toros
- Arroyo de la Miel - At Tivoli World
- Torremolinos - Car boot sale in the football ground
- Marbella - Puerto Deportivo
- Mijas - Costa del Sol Racecourse (Mijas Hippodrome)
- Manilva - Caretera los Baños
The following markets are open every day in the summer and often go late into the evening with entertainment and food. They tend to sell unique art objects, handmade jewellery, ceramics and local crafts.
Andalucia Medieval organises medieval markets and activities throughout Andalucia. The markets take place in an area decorated in a medieval style and include lots of stalls selling hand crafts and food. There are also musical and theatrical performances throughout the day and plenty of actvities for children. The medieval market takes place from time to time usually in the summer. Look out for local posters.