The Best Market in the World

I’ve had such a brilliant day today at Inca Market; the largest market in Mallorca.

Our Destination of the Month this month is Mallorca through the eyes of a tourist. And I’m showing you the excursions offered by the travel company I work for, No Frills Excursions.

Most of my working days are spent in the office, controlling bookings and organising coaches. But they do let me out of the office every Thursday morning to guide the excursion to Inca Market.

inca market

This is my favourite morning of the whole week: The coach driver and I drive around the resort picking people up, normally finishing at our main office in Puerto Alcudia. We normally leave Alcudia with everyone onboard at about 9:15 and head down to Inca Market.

Today I had a really quiet bus, but they soon livened up as we got closer to Inca and the prospect of putting my bartering tips into practice was becoming a reality.

Everyone piled off the bus at Unic, one of the best leather shops in Inca.

Half my group went straight into the leather shop (the female half – I had spoken about the delightful shoes and bags on sale at Unic) and the men followed at a slower pace, resigned to their fate for the morning as bag carriers.

Then it was time to hit the market. And I don’t just mean the clients now!

Inca Market, Mallorca

Inca Market the way it was

I walked up the road to where they have the new artisanal area, where many of the vendors dress up in traditional Mallorcan costume and each stall demonstrates an old skill or trade, like the man who makes made-to-measure belts on the spot from strips of leather, or the ladies who stitch the beautiful lace tablecloths by hand, or the man in the straw hat who weaves baskets.

Animals in Inca Market

I noticed today that the pig was back. It wasn’t there last week, perhaps it was on holiday. Yeah, I did say pig. There are loads of animals in Inca Market this year though, whereas in previous years there were none, nor did they have this new artisanal section.

As I walked past the small donkeys, ostriches and goats to the sound of cockadoodle-doo-ing and stopped for a moment to see the pig. It’s only a miniature thing but I don’t think it is a piglet. Its minder has it doing the same kind of “fetch” tricks that you might normally see a dog capable of.

The purpose of suddenly having all these animals in Inca Market is to raise awareness for a local animal shelter and charity.

Artisan Biscuits

Inca Market, Mallorca

Today I stopped at the artisan biscuit man who had some new delicious flavours to try.

After buying some parmesan flavoured biscuits the other week and enjoying them so much I decided to get a packet to send to my parents as my mum had asked me to send some of our excursion brochures – apparently our beautifully laid out and informative website is not enough for my mum’s holidaying friends who “prefer to flick through a brochure”!

I bought some biscuits for our office too, partly because I couldn’t decide between black olive flavour and tomato and garlic flavour and partly because some of our super-women members of staff are always bringing amazing homemade cakes, tarts and even spectacular tiramisu for us to tuck in to while we have our morning coffee and I figured it was my turn to contribute.

Juan from Porreres

I moved on still munching a poppy-seed biscuit and was stopped by a man brandishing cheese at me and insisting, in his rough farmer Mallorquin, that I try it. Okay, I thought and took the thin slice of cured cheese that he was offering me straight off the knife. It was strong, hard and full of flavour.

When he saw that I liked it he became more animated and started slicing more cheese.

“Do you want a glass of wine?” he asked.

No, I didn’t want a glass of wine, it was 10 o’clock in the morning.

“Go on, it’s my own that I’ve made.”

I shook my head.

He handed me one of his own sun-dried tomatoes that had been soaked in his own olive oil… and a glass of wine.

“Drink it and shut up,” he said.

I drank it and shut up. The wine was nice: light and fresh and perfect for breakfast, just as Juan (that was his name) had said it would be.

Two Mallorcan couples walked past and the knife came out again. He shouted at them in Mallorquin, just as he had shouted at me, and brandished the cheese at them. They hesitated and looked tentatively at me. I nodded, “it’s nice”. They took the cheese and before long they had a glass of homemade martini in their hands and my glass was being topped up with the same.

Next came out the dried apricots and, knowing that I would play along, Juan gave me them to try.

“This one is from Turkey and this one,” he couldn’t hide the pride in his voice. “Is from Porreres. Which one is best?”

My audience was watching me, amused. I already knew what the answer had to be but I played along, pretending to ponder carefully as I took a bite out of each.

“They are both very nice,” I said. “But this one,” I help up the Turkish one. “Is too sweet. This one,” now the local one. “Is much tastier.”

The two couples laughed and cheered and Juan beamed from ear to ear. Actually it was true; I did like the Mallorcan dried apricot much more than the Turkish one.

Inca Market, Mallorca

I paid for my cheese and apricots and continued on my way before I could be given more wine to drink.

I bought a few essentials in Mercadona before it would be full of old ladies stopping to chat in the aisles and queue-jumping at the check-out.

Breakfast in Inca Market

Then it was breakfast time at my favourite bar in Inca Market; D’Mercat Bistro Bar.

I only ordered half a bocadillo this week as I had tried biscuits, cheese and dried fruit already, but I still had my usual two coffees.

Local Mallorcan Products

D’Mercat Bistro Bar, attached to the indoor municipal market makes the best bocadillos in Inca: the bread is always soft and fresh and the tomato is always tasty and juicy. The jamón serrano is always plentiful and of good quality and the coffee is good too.

Plus the prices are much cheaper than other bars.

If you want something a bit different to eat, especially for lunch or in the evening, you can buy something you fancy at the municipal market to which the bar is attached, like fish from the fishmonger or meat from the butcher and they will prepare it for you at D’Mercat Bistro Bar.

If you buy vegetables in the market they will cook them for you and if you buy wine in the market they will serve it for you.

Shopping at Inca Market

After breakfast I walked slowly to the church square, where the church of Santa Maria la Mayor looms over the square, in front of which the so-called Incas play their panpipes.

Inca Market, Mallorca Inca Market, Mallorca Inca Market, Mallorca

Inca Market, Mallorca

I walked to the back of the church to where the fruit and veg stalls are and amused myself watching the old ladies bickering about who was there first and who should be served next.

Then I joined in and filled my shopping basket with juicy salad tomatoes, Ramillet tomatoes, green peppers, red onions, huge cherries and a few other bits and pieces.

Then I walked down the main avenue that sells all the typical tourist tat: fake Louis Vuitton handbags, sunglasses, jewellery, gorgeous colourful scarves and typical earthenware pots.

I bartered and bought a few things which I didn’t need and then made my way back to Unic to meet the coach.

Bargains at Inca Market

Inca Market, Mallorca

My group were weary and broke and slumped down gratefully in their seats when our coach arrived.

They had bought half the market it seemed: one lady had ten shopping bags and others weren’t far off.

They had bought clothes, hats, jewellery, fake watches, sunglasses, bongo drums, leather belts and fresh cherries. But the star buy was, as I knew it would be, shoes and handbags! There will be some tears when some of those girls are trying to pack their suitcases in a day or two’s time.

The same sullen crowd who I couldn’t get a good morning out of on the journey down to Inca Market were now proudly exhibiting their purchases and boasting about how well they had bartered.

They had got belts down from 12€ to 5€, Beats headphones down from 40€ each to three sets for 40€, handbags for half price, dresses with discounts and two-for-one on shoes.

Someone had paid 5€ for a 30€ watch, someone else had got two for that price, someone else was over the moon with their bargain jewellery.

“We walked away, you know, just like you told us to,” someone called out. “And he came after us three times.” A few others nodded; they had done the same thing. Good, I thought, they were actually listening to me on the journey there.

“Oh yes, the man who sold us this leather bag wasn’t happy at all with us,” someone else said with glee.

A man on the bus showed me a beautiful leather biker-style waistcoat he had bought in the market. He said that they had been asking 150€ and he got it in the end for 50€. He was really proud, and was even more proud when I told him about the man who the previous week had bought the same thing and had said that they had been asking 250€ and he’d got them down to half price! I was so happy that these men were one week apart on the excursion!

The happy chatter went on until we reached our destination and we dropped the people off, leaving the driver and I to count our tips and check the coach for any forgotten Inca Market bargains.

If you get the chance to go to Inca Market I would highly recommend that you take it, and if you are staying in the north of Mallorca and you want to go with No Frills Excursions, just click here.

Which is your favourite market? I have many favourites all over the world. Click here to see my top five.

Filed Under: featuredIncamallorcaMarketsMarkets in MallorcaNo Frills Excursions Mallorcaspain

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About the Author: Based in Mallorca, obsessed with the world and have a lot to say about both... Step into my shoes and join me on a journey...

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  1. susan sykes says:

    Loving this post, I’ve got my eye on one of those colourful bags, the lilac or the lime green they look lovely.
    Biscuits sound good! Can’t wait to try them.

    • Lisa says:

      I hope you like them and the leaflets, it cost me 15€ to send the packet! The biscuits I got for the office went down a treat. And now I have some orders for next Thursday when I am at Inca!
      You’ll have to come to Inca Market this year, it’s ages since you’ve been and it’s changed quite a bit…

  2. Encarna says:

    I have to say something Lisa!!!
    Your pics are just amazing!!!what a beautiful pics dear!
    You have improved soooooo much on photography skills!!i need to put into practise my skills so I’m thinking over something new for my blog a new section to be the photographer…..coming soon..an I hope you participate on it!

    • Lisa says:

      Yes Encarna, you can certainly say that – any time you wish! I’ll never get sick of hearing it :p
      Thanks so much for the compliment. Practice, practice, practice… that’s all we do and hope we get beautiful images on the way.
      I think the new blog section sounds like a great idea, and I’d love to take part; we’d have such good fun… Let me know your plans 🙂

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