Atarazanas Market (also known as Mercado Central) is a Málaga landmark that started life in the Moorish-occupied medieval city as a harborside shipyard. Over the centuries it served as a warehouse and barracks before being expanded in the 19th century by architect Joaquin Rucoba and transformed into the city’s leading food market. The spectacular building and its monumental Arabic-influenced arched entrance have recently been refurbished and it is once more a warren of stalls set amid delicate wrought-ironwork and overlooked by a massive domed stained-glass window.
The market interior is organized into three areas of neat lines: fish, meat and fresh produce, and is awash with color, bustle and the fragrance of spices and herbs. Tempting buys include Iberian pork, piles of ocean-fresh shellfish and scented almonds farmed on Andalucian hillsides as well as sweet Moroccan pastillas and local cheeses.
As well as being stuffed with the very best of local produce, Atarazanas Market is lined with tasty tapas bars offering fried prawns, octopus and boquerones (anchovies) fresh from the port. They’re all served up accompanied by dumpy glasses of local Alhambra beer, dry sherry or rough local reds wines. As one of the best places in Málaga to sample regional produce, the market is a popular stop on many gourmet tours of the city.
The market is open Monday through Saturday 8am–2pm. It is located five minutes from Málaga Centro Alameda railway station.