Medellín is easily one of the most popular cities in South America with travellers these days, for a variety of reasons, but one of the best attractions in the city has to be the many diverse markets there are to enjoy. From outdoor food markets to flea markets and upscale craft markets, here the very best markets to seek out in the City of Eternal Spring.
Envigado Flea Market
A monthly flea market in the main square of the pretty Envigado neighbourhood, this market is the perfect place to visit if you are after traditional Colombian souvenirs to take back home from your trip. You can find anything from traditional woven ponchos and hammocks to typical hats and bags from the Antioquia region. There are also leather and wool artisans plying their trade, as well as typical street foods and drinks to enjoy.
San Fernando Plaza
This is a smaller flea market, and a more intermittent one, near Avenida Poblado. The location of the San Fernando Plaza market alongside Medellín’s hippest modern neighbourhood means that there are plenty of equally hip and cool goods for sale, including organic lotions and sunscreen, handwoven charms and accessories and new-age products. You can even enjoy a massage or a pedicure if all the shopping and bag-carrying is making you sore.
A huge commercial market located in downtown Medellín, Minorista is a far cry from the hip boutique stalls on offer in several of the previously mentioned spots. This is a bustling, hectic local market, selling everything from secondhand clothes to fruit and veg. There’s a lot of fruit for sale in Minorista, so it’s the perfect place for a DIY fruit tour of Medellín, sampling the weird and exotic fruits that Colombia enjoys an abundance of.
Mercado del Rio
Mercado del Rio is Medellín’s newest gastronomic market (it officially opened in October 2016). It’s a huge warehouse-like space with 40 or 50 small restaurants, food stalls and bars, and is unique within Colombia (Bogotá has some small food-truck markets, but nothing on this scale). There are restaurants from all over the world as well, not just Colombian classics, so if you’re pining for something Italian, Peruvian or Mexican it’s the perfect place to visit for lunch (and maybe breakfast and dinner too).
El Huece, which translates as ‘the hole’, is the home of the cheapest bargain shopping in Medellín, and it can be easy to get lost in the rabbit warren of stalls and shops that make up this chaotic local market. It’s located in downtown Medellín, close to Parque de las Luces and Botero Plaza, and is less of a market than a loose network of shops and stalls. You can find anything (and we mean anything) in El Hueco, and usually at very cheap prices. This is definitely one for travellers on a tight budget.
This market is an absolute local favourite, but only takes place four times a year, on the third weekends of March, June, September and December: as they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder! Held outside the city in the peaceful and pretty Llanogrande area, El Pulguero takes place for three days (many local families even camp out for the duration), and there are hundreds of stalls selling everything from quality food to beautiful artisanal products. The stalls sell nothing but the best, so be prepared for your wallet to take a hit.
Held on the first Saturday of every month in Parque Bolivar, San Alejo is a fun and colourful craft market with a friendly, family atmosphere. With plenty of cheap and local souvenirs and artisan products for sale, San Alejo is well worth a quick visit if you’re in town and in the market for souvenirs and gifts for the family.