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8 traditional markets in the Basque Country

6th September, 2023

Food and wine Events

Basque traditional markets have been and remain a meeting place in which to socialise. In days gone by, they were a big event for the people who lived in the mountains and countryside as they took advantage of market day to socialise and meet people that they hadn't seen for some time. Today, much more than that, they're a window on the region's gastronomic and cultural heritage. 

They maintain their traditional essence, but with more up-to-date touches: some markets even have classrooms where cookery courses and food tastings take place. Try our most traditional flavours!

The most popular markets:

1. Plaza de Abastos

This market in Vitoria-Gasteiz has moved with the times, adapting to its inhabitants’ consumption and leisure habits. This is why, alongside the traditional stalls selling Alava produce, the refurbished building includes several gastrobars where you can try a varied range of pintxos and other gastronomic delicacies, washed down with the wines of Rioja Alavesa or txakoli, also from the province. 

They also run tastings with wine and food matching and show-cooking events by arrangement.

2. Gernika market

The town of Gernika is known for its famous "lunes gernikes", the traditional market held every Monday with over 650 years of history behind it. Also, between June and December a special market is held on the first Saturday of every month, generally devoted to a traditional product like txakoli, cod, Gernika peppers or Rioja Alavesa wine

October is also a special month for the people of Gernika, as the first and last Monday - known popularly as Urriko - of this month sees two very important fairs for people in the area.

Beans from the Basque Country
Beans from the Basque Country

3. La Ribera market

This market is among the landmarks of our specialist commerce. It began in 1929 beside the river Nervión and together with the historic town centre it is protected as a "historic-artistic site".

As well as seasonal produce, the two-storey building houses restaurants, gastrobars and even a cookery school where one can learn to cook or just enjoy unforgettable gastronomic experiences.

The Ribera Market
The Ribera Market

4. Tolosa market

Tolosa has a well-known open-air market, held every Saturday in three places in the town. These are the Tinglado site, located in the old town, where farmers sell their fresh produce; the Plaza Verdura, which hosts colourful stalls selling flowers and plants; and the Plaza Euskal Herria, where imported goods and textiles are to be found. 

The market offers one-hour guided tours in different languages, every Saturday at 11.30 in the morning (by prior arrangement).

Tolosa Market
Tolosa Market

5. Portugalete market

Also known as the Mercado de las Aldeanas, this traditional market has been held every Thursday and Saturday in the Plaza del Solar since the 18th century. Among others, there are generally stalls with ornamental and other plants, fruit and vegetables, cheese, honey and other artisan products. 

Portugalete Market
Portugalete Market

6. San Martín market

This market is in San Sebastián and its renovated building, inaugurated in 2005, houses a wide variety of stalls and establishments. It includes traditional stalls selling local fruit, vegetables, meat and fish. 

The range of hospitality and shopping options is completed by several clothes shops, a music shop, gastrobars and cafeterias, a supermarket and even a gym.

7. Ordizia market

A traditional market dating back to the middle ages is held every Wednesday in Ordizia. It is actually a landmark because it is the only market where farm produce prices are set in the whole of the Basque Country. 

Apart from selling fresh, seasonal and organic produce, guided tours and tasting sessions are run.

Idiazabal cheese
Idiazabal cheese

8. La Bretxa market

This market is in San Sebastián's old town, to be precise between the Palacio Kursaal and the town hall, on the ground floor of La Bretxa shopping centre. In it there are more than 40 stalls selling fruit, vegetables, conserves, charcuterie, meat and fish.

It is currently being completely refurbished, to move the market to the Pescadería building.

La Bretxa Market
La Bretxa Market

In short, traditional Basque markets are essential places for anybody wanting to discover all the authenticity of Basque gastronomy and culture. Come along to some of them and get to know our real essence!