Mercado Altavista, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria's upper west side market

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria's most famous markets are the Mercado Central,  Mercado del Puerto, and Mercado Vegueta. The Mercadona Altavista, like the area from which it takes its name, is off the tourist map and therefore not so widely known. The sightseeing bus which used to venture into the upper city so tourists could take photographs of the port below has changed its route, reducing the number of visitors to the neighbourhood. Here are 10 things you should know before you go.

1.) How to get to the Mercado AltavistaMercado Altavista

Door to door, the Mercado Altavista's the quickest market to walk to from my Las Palmas de Gran Canaria home. Despite being in the upper city, it's quite accessible. I can make it there with my own two feet in under 20 minutes from my Arenales base.

However, there's always the bus if you favour more leisurely travel. Take the 11 from the Teatro stop in lower Triana. Of if your starting point's at the other end of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, hop on the 22 which sets off from Parque Santa Catalina.

2.) When is the market open and other useful facts and statsMercado Altavista

The Mercado Altavista's open Monday to Thursday from 7:00am to 2:00pm and on bank holidays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 7:00am to 3:00pm. There are 63 stalls to visit. Its postal address is Calle Juan Ramón Jimenez 45, 35011, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and telephone number, 928 250 401.

3.) Check out La MoganeraLa Moganera

La Moganera Pescados have been fishing between Agaete's Puerto de las Nieves and Mogán's Puerto de Mogán for close to 50 years. The fruits of their labours are displayed for all to say. They make a pretty picture, especially when viewed from the vantage point of the first floor where you'll find the market offices and conveniences.

4.) Don't miss Herbolario MelysaHerbolario Melysa

Gran Canaria has an established history of alternative medicine. Before the 15th-century Spanish invasion, the canarii treated their ailments with the herbs which flourished on the island. Including the wonder going by the name of  aloe vera.

Didn't your mother always tell you that greens were good for you? You'll find the Herbolario Melysa at stall number 24 on the ground floor. If you pass through the main entrance located on Calle Juan Ramón Jimenez, it's the third stall on your right.

5.) Pop next door to Sibarita Pasta ArtesanalSibarita Pasta Artesanal

At stall number 25, you'll find Sibarita Pasta Artesanal. You can also reach this Italian grocery via the market's entrance on Calle Obisbo Romo. If you access the Mercado Altavista in this way, it's the third stall on your left.

Owner Luis Adrian Herrera kindly gives me a free pack of fresh pasta. "Bring a pan with lots of water, some salt, and a little olive oil to the boil," he advises me. "When the water starts to bubble, add the pasta and boil before reducing the heat and simmering for a further three."

You can also buy pizza bases and ready-made pasta sauces which are free of the additives you'll find in the supermarket versions. Italians famously love olives, as do the Spanish. Herrera sells aceitunas from the island's Santa Lucía de Tirajana municipality marinated in mojo, the Canary Islands' legendary fiery sauce.

6.) Visit Queso MajoreroQueso Majorero

In trying to track down the manager who I'll discover doesn't work Saturdays, I was able to enjoy an aerial view of the market. Another grocery which caught my eye was Queso Majorero. This specializes in goats' cheese from Fuerteventura.

7.) Get your fruit and veg from Pepe SaritoPepe Sarito

It's a family affair at the Mercado Altavista. For the first stall you'll see on your right after entering on Calle Juan Ramón Jimenez is Pepe Sarito. The husband-and-wife team are the parents of Herbolario Melysa's young owner.

Pepe Sarito's a great place to stock up on your fruit and veg. Locals love the beans, carrots, courgettes, and pumpkin, which they combine in a stew. On the fruit front, the perennial big sellers are apples, bananas, oranges, and pears.

8) Watch the fishy business at Mercado AltavistaFishmonger

There are 12 stall spaces taken up by fishmongers at the Mercado Altavista, nearly a fifth of the market's capacity. Two of these are occupied by La Moganera Pescados. Here and elsewhere, you'll be able to see your fish cleaned, gutted, and filleted before your very eyes.

9.) Seize the cheese at Mercado AltavistaCheese stall

Just like La Moganera Pescados, Queso Majorero doesn't enjoy a monopoly at Mercado Altavista. There are other stalls selling cheese, and not just those hailing from Fuerteventura. You'll also be able to pick up queso herreño from the island of El Hierro along with Gran Canaria's very own queso de flor from Santa María de Guía.

10.) Pick up some squid at Mercado AltavistaSaharan squid

A visit to Mercado Altavista is not for the squeamish. This is no sanitized food hall. There will be blood and there will be guts on display.

A fixture on many a local's shopping list is calamar sahariano. Saharian squid also pitches up on the menu of restaurants the length and breadth of Gran Canaria. It takes its name from squid which are caught near the Saharan Bank of the Atlantic Ocean.

Squid forms a key part of your average Canarian's balanced diet. It's low in fat but high in vitamins B3 and B12. You'll also be able to top up your mineral levels, with squid being so rich in magnesium, potassium, and phosphorous.

 

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