Loud and full of bright colors and delectable scents, there’s nothing quite like a visit to a market. We’re excited to present our guide to Barcelona’s best markets: a list of the most authentic and interesting places for your shopping experience! There’s something undeniably exciting about wandering through the stalls to find an unexpected treat, whether it’s as delicious as handmade chocolate seashells or as mysterious as a tattered and ancient book. What will you find in these amazing places?
1. La Boqueria
Starting off at number one on our list of Barcelona’s best markets is a no-brainer: the world-famous Boqueria Market, first established in 1217, is beloved by locals as well as tourists. Located just off Las Ramblas, the Boqueria Market (or Mercat de la Boqueria in Catalan) is a wide labyrinth with incredible surprises on every corner. Stop by one of the many fruit stalls for the best just-blended smoothie of your life, and sip it slowly while you examine chocolate delicacies and admire fresh seafood. Barcelona culture is everywhere in this market: if you’re curious about trying any of the wonderful Catalan cuisine, there are stalls that double as restaurants, offering up pinxtos, tapas, and other snacks to hungry shoppers.
2. El Mercat Gotic
Every Thursday, the square outside the Barcelona Cathedral comes alive with El Mercat Gotic—The Gothic Market. Owners unfold stalls and arrange a collection of secondhand items, which range from amazing antique jewelry to collectable dolls. People coming out of the cathedral pause, drawn in by the lovely setup as well as the eclectic items, and others crossing the plaza can’t help but hover near the market for a moment as well. Exploring this Barcelona market comes with the rush of a treasure hunt: you never know what unexpected surprise you might find!
3. Mercat Del Encants
If you love secondhand items, why not try the Mercat Del Encants? This sprawling series of stalls is Barcelona’s most famous flea market. As with any market of its kind, a few of the items for sale are ones you might find in other places, but there are some real bargains here if you look. This market has the added benefit of featuring an antique auction on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from seven a.m. to nine a.m.! Then, collectors and commercials buyers bid for antique goods. Afterwards, the unsold items drop in price, making them perfect for the average shopper seeking something unique. Want to visit? It’s located right here.
4. Mercat Santa Caterina
Maybe you’re not one for antiques; how about something new? The Santa Caterina market, established in 2005 and located in Ciutat Vella, is the newest addition to Barcelona’s best markets. Architects Enric Miralles and Benedetta Tagliabue designed the intense, multicolored roof, which rolls like a wave over the top of the building and gives the whole place a whimsical air. Like La Boqueria, it sells flowers, fruits, vegetables, and meat, with a small supermarket boasting anything you could want. There are also one or two spots to grab a bite to eat, as well, whether you want a full meal or a few tapas. No matter what you’re searching for, the Mercat Santa Caterina has something for everyone.
5. Mercat de Sant Antoni
While this market’s ongoing renovation process ought to disqualify it from the list, the Mercat de Sant Antoni has such a well-established shopping tradition that we can’t bring ourselves to leave it off. Created by Antoni Rovira i Trias in 1882, the metal framework gives the building a remarkable look that’s almost worth a visit on its own. Normally, the interior of the building is bursting with customers clamoring for fresh fruits, vegetables, and meat; now, due to the renovation, that happens inside large marquee beside the building. On Sunday mornings, shopkeepers open up an enormous secondhand book market, where citizens hurry to browse new titles, sample comics, and even collect stamps. Despite the renovation, it’s an amazing place—and you can find it here.
Which market do you think is Barcelona’s best? Let us know in the comments!