Weekly Markets and Their Specialities

Weekly-market-SpainIn Spain every city town and village right down to the smallest hamlet of 1000 people has the luxury of a weekly market, often called el mercadillo. In some smaller towns the sweet little name of el barato, meaning the cheap, is used. We may not be talking about more than 2 or 3 stalls but if you live an hour’s drive away from the nearest town and there is only one bus a day, being able to buy your basic needs such as socks and knicks from the market really helps!

An average small town market is a very colourful busy affair with both gypsy and Senagalese stallholders supplementing Spanish and South Americans. Markets are still very traditional affairs thank heavens¡ the gypsies still sell material and clothes and the ladies often wear white aprons and the men dapper black shirts, the Senegalese are resplendent in full costume and the South American ladies look petite and exquisite in their wrap skirts.

At the mercadillo you can buy, apart from the inevitable fashion clothing and materials, virtually anything¡ fruit and vegetables, olives and nuts, cheese and cooked meats, shoes, jewellery, herbs and spices, millinery and baby clothes. All you need for the week in fact! However a word of warning the mercadillos are cheap often because a lot of the produce is cheap, not food products perhaps, but definitely clothes and shoes! But for 5 euros for a decent looking warm jumper who’s complaining if it loses its shape after two washes!

But in the larger towns you can find a range of more esoteric stalls from beautiful basket ware, ceramics and Moroccan goods to animals and paella pans. And let’s not forget the boot sale type stalls now as popular with Spanish nationals as us bargain-seeking Brits!

Another new development on the coast and in a couple of inland villages is the weekly country farmers markets. Here fresh, and often organic, food is available straight from the farmer or producer and as the markets normally take place on a finca in the campo the market is often backed up by equestrian Spanish style gymkhana events and hot freshly prepared food is available. And beer of course!

Jimena de La Frontera, in Cadiz Province, has a great farmers market every Sunday weather permitting. A very good place to buy your genuinely free-range eggs and honey and delicious farmhouse goats’ cheese. Churriana in Malaga also has a well-established farmers market.

Now for a quick run through the week. On Monday you can find a very large market in Marbella and on Tuesdays in Fuengirola in the feria ground and Castillo de Duquesa. On Wednesdays you are spoilt for choice with Benalmadena, Calahonda, Estepona and La Linea all showing their wares. The La Linea market near the border with Gib is an exhausting affair; it stretches for about a kilometre and is fantastic for material and clothing.

Thursdays sees San Pedro, Malaga and Torremolinos buzzing and on Friday you can spend your money at Casares, Cancelada Sabinillas and Benalmadena again. On Saturday the big market is in Puerto Banus near the bullring. This combines traditional market stalls with craft ware, especially jewellery and paintings. There is also a substantial car boot element to this market. Fuengirola also has a car boot sale on Saturdays in the feria ground so you are spoilt for choice.

However, the best car boot sale is definitely in Sabinillas on Sunday. This is also in the feria ground and is very good for antiques. Like all antique markets it starts very early only so don’t roll up at one o’clock expecting the best stuff to still be there. Estepona port comes alive on their Sunday morning market and if you need shoes you really have to visit the San Roque market, also on Sunday morning, which sometimes has over 20 shoe stalls!

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