The historic Mercado de San Miguel is one of Madrid's most old and beautiful markets and is simply a must see when visiting the city.
Located next to Plaza Mayor, in between the Plaza de Sol (the city's main square) and the Royal Palace, the wrought iron and glass modernist structure is home to one of the most vibrant and popular culinary spots in the city.
Inside you will find over 60 stalls: some selling fresh produce, and many serving tapas and more substantial plates. Grab a stool at a counter bar to savour local specialities like gambas al ajillo (garlic prawns) and traditional paella, or nab one of the limited tables around the perimeter as a base to try a selection of the market's offerings, as we did.
Taste local sherries paired with tapas at the Sherry Corner; a caña from the Beer House, or a glass of rioja from one of the many wine kiosks. Some stalls even offer a free glass of wine when you order food. Unlike many tourist hubs, the food is actually very moderately priced.
My favourite stall was stall 61-62, Lhardy, which offered infinitely moreish gourmet tapas.
We returned the following evening to experience the market by night. Perhaps less vibrant than at lunch time, but the glass structure, glowing by night, was equally inviting.