Spanish supermarkets: Doing groceries like a local


Updated on Jun 30 • 6 minute read

Food's one of the most significant elements of Spanish culture. Preparing a meal and getting the groceries for it aren't just chores: they're an integral part of the day. So when it comes to food shopping, options are endless: from budget-friendly stores to specialty stores.

But once you've moved to Spain , you’ll realise that grocery shopping in Spain can be different from what you’re used to, especially if you’re moving to Spain from the USA or other non-European countries. We’ve created this guide to spare you from any culture shocks and awkward encounters.

So when you’re grocery shopping in Spain, keep in mind that:

  • They don’t sell medicine in grocery stores, unlike stores in Netherlands or Belgium. So whether you need a painkiller or medication for a sore throat, you can only buy it at pharmacies.

  • Stores are closed on Sunday. Most supermarkets don’t work on Sundays except those in big cities like Madrid or Barcelona. But even there, they close very early.

  • You should bring your own bag. Grocery bags in Spanish supermarkets usually cost €0.10-€0.20 apiece.

  • Put your shopping bags from other stores in lockers in some small stores without security. You’ll need to put €1 coin into the locker, which you can get back once you’re done using the locker.

  • Speak some Spanish. Spaniards are friendly, but most don’t know English well. If you learn a few Spanish phrases, they can help you faster. And they’ll appreciate the effort!

10 basic phrases to know when grocery shopping in Spain

  • ¿Hay ...? — Do you have ...?
  • Gracias — Thank you
  • Quiero ..., por favor. — I want ..., please.
  • ¿Cuánto cuesta?. — How much does it cost?
  • Dónde puedo comprar ...? — Where can I buy ...?
  • Descuento — Discount
  • No las quiero. — I don't want it
  • Es todo, gracias.— That’s all, thank you.
  • Querría pagar con tarjeta. — I’d like to pay with a card.
  • Pago en efectivo. — I’ll pay cash.

Spanish supermarket

In big cities like Madrid, Barcelona, or Valencia smaller supermarkets are in the central neighborhoods. These stores have everything you need for cooking, drinking, and other daily needs. Larger supermarkets are further away from the centre. There, you can shop for many non-food products, such as electronics, maintenance tools, clothes, gardening products, etc.

If you don’t own a car, don’t worry. Supermarkets are easily accessible by public transport. Especially in Barcelona, Madrid, and Valencia which have very extensive public transport.

Spanish supermarket chains

There’s a range of local and international supermarket chains and discount chains across Spain.

Below you can find the list of the biggest supermarket chains in Spain:

  1. Mercadona: It’s the largest Spanish supermarket chain with headquarters in Valencia. Mercadona has a total of 1,636 stores in 17 Spanish regions and northern Portugal. They’ve got an excellent range of products.
  2. Carrefour: The French supermarket chain has more than 1,000 stores throughout Spain. You’ll find different Carrefour shops, from hypermarkets to smaller central shops in Spain.
  3. Alcampo: Alcampo's a chain of hypermarkets, so you can find them in the peripherals of the towns. Aside from food products, Alcampo's a great place to buy small kitchen appliances like kettles and mixers.
  4. Eroski: Eroski's a Spanish supermarket chain with nearly 1,000 outlets across Spain. The stores differ in size from hypermarkets and centre stores to outlets out of town. Out-of-town stores resemble the American hypermarket chain Target.

Alternatively, you can shop at discount stores for better prices and deals. Below you can find the list of discount supermarket chains in Spain:

  1. Lidl: Lidl's a German discount supermarket chain with over 600 shops in Spain. Even though they’ve got a limited range of products, you can find many discounts and good deals for bulk purchases there.
  2. Aldi: Aldi's also a German discount chain with over 400 shops in Spain. Aldi has many private label choices and big brand names such as Pringles and Haribo.
  3. Dia: Dia's the most prominent Spanish discount store with a good range of private label products and national brands. They offer a better range of product selection in comparison to Lidl and Aldi.

Aside from national supermarkets, there’re also regional stores. Especially in more prominent local autonomous communities like Galicia, Catalonia, and Andalusia, there’re big regional supermarket chains like Gadis, Caprabo, and MAS, respectively. There, you’ll find more products specific to these regions.

High-end supermarket chains

Many Spanish supermarkets have a restricted selection of products, especially for special dietary needs or international products. So if you’re looking for products typical supermarkets don’t sell, you can go to high-end supermarkets Sánchez Romero, El Corte Inglés, Veritas, and Supercor. You’ll find the most extensive line of fresh seafood, a wide range of gluten-free products, non-dairy products, superfoods, organic produce, prepared meals, and much more.

Spanish supermarket prices

Overall, supermarkets in Spain are affordable. The most expensive supermarkets are high-end chains, Sánchez Romero, El Corte Inglés, Veritas, and Supercor.

While in general Alcampo is cheaper than Mercadano, and Carrefour is more expensive than the two, depending on where you live, the prices of these supermarkets will vary. For instance, while Alcampo is the cheapest supermarket in Seville, for Málaga, it’s Mercadano.

1 kg apple€1.88
1 kg banana€1.66
1 kg oranges€1.57
1 kg tomato€1.94
Bottle of wine€5
Domestic beer€0.98
Beef (1 kg)€11.28

Spanish specialty stores

We understand doing groceries in supermarkets's convenient: almost everything you need's in one place. But some foods are best bought directly from the producer. Trust us when we say nothing beats the taste of a freshly made empanada.

Go to your local panadería (a bakery that makes bread) to buy pan integral (wholemeal bread), pastelería (a bakery that makes pastries and sweets) for pastas de consejo (lemon cookies), carnicería ( butcher) for meat, pescadería (fishmonger) for fresh-caught seafood and frutería (greengrocer) for fresh veggies and fruits.

Specialty stores sell the same kind of products across Spain. In Madrid, a carnicería (butcher) doesn’t include poultry, though carnicerías in other parts of Spain usually do.

Convenience stores

If you need a late-night sandwich or a last-minute snack for a night out, convenience stores (alimentación) are the go-to place. You won’t find much there: they sell a limited choice of everyday items such as coffee, snack foods, sweets, soft drinks, ice creams, and magazines.


Ultramarions are traditional convenience stores in Spain. Although not many are left, the remaining ones offer a good selection of honey, wine, olive oil, snacks, herbs, and pickles. At ultramarions, you can taste the food before buying it and bring your empty bottle to refill the olive oil and wine.

Spanish markets

Spanish mercados (markets) are one of the best places to buy groceries. You can get fresh fruits, veggies, seafood, delicious tapas, and cheese straight from local farms.

Not only is the quality better at the markets but also prices are lower than in supermarkets. You’ll also help local vendors and support small businesses by shopping from markets.

Depending on the time of year, you’ll find seasonal products. One rule to remember's don’t buy seafood products on Mondays. Merchants don’t go fishing on Mondays, so you’ll end up buying salmon from the last week.

Top 5 best food markets in Spain

  • Mercado San Miguel in Madrid (Sunday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to midnight, Friday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m.)
  • Mercado Central in Valencia (Monday to Saturday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.)
  • La Boqueria in Barcelona (Monday to Saturday from 8.30 a.m. to 8.30 p.m.)
  • Mercado Central de Atarazanas in Málaga (Monday to Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.)
  • Mercat de Colón in Valencia ( Monday to Sunday 7.30 a.m. to 2 a.m.)

Spain online grocery shopping

When you’re in a hurry and don’t have time to do grocery, there’re many great apps for ordering grocery shopping online in Spain. You can directly order groceries from supermarket chains like Carrefour and Mercadona or use the popular app Glovo. While supermarkets are good for bulk purchases, they usually deliver within 3-4 days. Glovo brings your order to the door within 20 minutes.

Please reach out to if you have any suggestions or inquiries about the content on this page.

Related Articles

Find your home in Spain

Find accommodation in cities across Spain. Search for your accommodation now!

Search Now