Most of the markets in Barcelona enjoy a multi-century history and their own peculiar features. They are located strategically so that almost every district boasts its own large and noisy food market, where buyers can find fresh ingredients and delicatessen from all over the world. In this way, all the ingredients that form a part of the famous Mediterranean cuisine and contribute to the menus of the region’s exquisite restaurants are affordable for ordinary people in close vicinity to their homes. For this reason, we will refer primarily to the Barcelona food markets when addressing markets in this article. However, the rich market culture of this city stretches far beyond gastronomic offerings. Here, one also can find vast flea markets with tremendous varieties of antiques, one-of-a-kind apparel items, musical instruments, and tiny craft kiosks that offer cute handmade souvenirs.
Historically, the markets of Barcelona have been an indispensable element of the city’s culture and have long since acquired fame as special landmarks that are worth a visit from tourists who truly want to immerse themselves in the city and feel the spirit of its history. Many of the markets are famous far beyond the borders of Barcelona and even Spain as a whole. In this article, we invite you to take a virtual tour through the most popular and appealing commercial spaces in Barcelona.
Mercat de la Boqueria (Sant Josep market)
- Address: La Rambla, 91, 08001 Barcelona, Spain
- Phone number: +34 933 18 25 84
La Boqueria market in Barcelona is known as the oldest, most popular, and largest market of the city. One could say it is “the greatest hit” among the markets. The first references to the commercial space next to the city gates date back to the beginning of the 13th century. At that time, entrance to the city was accompanied by the sight of large tables on which the merchants sold meat. Over the centuries this trading site continued to grow until its physical position became an obstacle in the quickly-developing city. As a result, the market was shifted to the main street, where it continues to function on Las Ramblas in Barcelona. In the early 1820s, the market was recognized officially. In 1840, under the authority of the architect Mas Vil, builders began the construction of the protective roof that also marked the borders of the trading stalls and gave the building a more reputable look. An even more interesting piece of information is that many of the salespeople here are descendants of the families that first received permits to sell their merchandise many years ago. Nowadays, La Boqueria is a kaleidoscope of colors, aromas, and tastes. The visitors admire the fancy shop windows, the names of the most exotic fruits and vegetables, the wide tasting tables, and a vast assortment of fresh produce from all over the world. It should be mentioned that several of the restaurants and bars that are nestled into the vast market grounds are considered to be among the best in the whole city of Barcelona.
Fruits and vegetables on Mercat de la Boqueria
Mercat de la Boqueria in Barcelona
Fresh seafood on Mercat de la Boqueria
Sant Antoni market
- Address: Carrer del Comte d'Urgell, 1, 08011
- Phone number: +34 934 23 42 87
In any discussion of the markets of Barcelona, the market of Sant Antoni, the second most popular in Barcelona, is sure to be mentioned. This market is not as old as La Boqueria market in Barcelona. The official sources trace its foundation to 1892 under the architect Rovira i Trias, when it was still situated outside the city limits. For visitors to this market, the features that attract the most attention are the whimsical architecture of the façades (with carved iron components and original forms) and the glass windows of the vegetable and fruit shops that make the overall appearance of this place even more spectacular.
Sant Antoni market boasts another distinctive feature: despite the fact that it is primarily a food market, on the weekends it is common to see sellers of antiques, old books and other printed items, as well as ethnic musicians and dancers. Another key point to mention is that the flexibility of prices here attracts hundreds of people every day and does not detract from the quality of the products. All these characteristics combine to create a special environment that makes Sant Antoni one of the most popular markets in Barcelona.
Assortment of dried fruits on Sant Antoni market
Sant Antoni market in Barcelona
Mercat de Santa Caterina
- Address: Av Francesc Cambó 16, 08003
- Phone number: +34 933 19 57 40
The market of Santa Caterina is one of the most iconic constructions in the city of Barcelona due to its undulating, brightly colored roof built according to the original mosaic technique during the reconstruction in 2005. This food market, named after the abbey that used to stand on this site until the XIX century, is located in the city center close to the famous Gothic district and occupies an area of about 2000 square meters. This market has another advantage: it hosts several tapas bars and small restaurants with exquisite and affordable menus. The key feature of Santa Caterina market that makes this place even more attractive to visitors is its non-touristic nature. Locals come here to shop, which means there are more top-quality products and services provided.
Mercat de Santa Caterina in Barcelona
Inside Mercat de Santa Caterina
Vegetables on Mercat de Santa Caterina
Mercat de la Concepció
- Address: Carrer d'Aragó, 313-317, 08009
- Phone number: +34 675 69 36 16
This is another famous food market in Barcelona that stretches over the entire block and is considered the main point of interest and social hub for the Eixample district. The market was founded at the end of the XIX century by the renowned architect Antoni Rovira i Trias. The elegant design strategy reveals that the market was constructed in the Modernist style. Now its numerous flowerbeds and mosaic compositions coexist with Wi-Fi and mobile parking near the building, making the market a pleasant and comfortable spot for shopping and leisure. In addition, it is home to one of the largest flower markets in Barcelona. The remainder of the trading space is open 24/7.
Entrance to Mercat de la Concepció
Mercat de la Concepció
Shopping on Mercat de la Concepció
Els Encants Vells Market
- Address: Carrer de los Castillejos, 158, 08013
- Phone number: +34 932 46 30 30
Barcelona flea markets are paradises for collectors. Since the time of its foundation, the flea market of Els Encants has been one of the largest and most popular markets among tourists and local residents alike. This market emerged as early as the 14th century, and its name is attributed to the fact that for some time it was located in the Encants district. Its full name is translated as “ancient amulets.” It is a real challenge for visitors to come here just “for a couple of minutes” and look through the items for sale quickly, for dozens of showcases with thousands of unique items tend to attract buyers for hours of perusal. The multi-level construction of the market and its unique shape enable visitors to enter the building from any side, encouraging people to spend more time inside this fabulous construction. Here one can find antique apparel, furniture, kitchen utensils, vinyl discs, cassettes, jewelry, vintage toys, and ancient vases, among other intriguing finds. Moreover, early in the mornings on Mondays and Wednesdays public auctions take place here.
Flea market Els Encants Vells
On Els Encants Vells market in Barcelona
With their impressive range of acquired knowledge and rich consulting experience, the specialists of INEEDSpain service center will be glad to assist you in planning both individual and group shopping tours in Barcelona that include visits to the most popular and unique trading spaces in the city. For more information, please contact us by phone or by e-mail as indicated on the main page of the website.