The Catalan capital has a whole host of daily and monthly markets to buy all sorts of curiosities, try delicious local cheese and ham, or find yourself with a whole new wardrobe. Here are our 6 favourite markets to check out on a visit to bustling Barcelona...
La Boqueria is our favourite food market in Barcelona, even if it’s a bit of a squeeze in summer. This is Barcelona’s biggest and most famous market, dating back to around 1200 when it began as an open-air food market - and it’s also right in the centre of town off the famous Ramblas in the Raval neighbourhood. With locals buying their weekly food and plenty of tourists taking photos of the vibrant fruits and trying delicious sweets and fresh smoothies, La Boqueria is always busy. But it still retains its title as Barcelona’s best market - and the produce is amazing. The local Michelin star restaurants buy their fresh fish, local meat, herbs, spices and vegetables early in the morning, but you can swing by a little bit later and check out the most delicious Spanish and Catalan food. Try some of the restaurants here - oysters and cava are a favourite, or piles of tapas at the famous Bar Pinotxo, Bar Boqueria or El Quim de la Boqueria foody bars. You won’t be disappointed! (Closed Monday)
Every Thursday in Winter and every day in Summer, this Antiquities Market draws passers by with its weird and wonderful things to buy. Located in the Plaça Nova in front of the cathedral in the Gothic Quarter, here you can find a little bit of Barcelona history in the bric-a-brac and antiques on display. Old clocks, telescopes, paintings, jewellery - this market that is jam packed with curiosities, knick-knacks and all kinds of interesting keep-sakes. We can’t pass by without buying at least one thing!
This is a creative market of handmade, artisan and unique design pieces, accompanied by live music and with food and drink to tempt you also. There is a small entrance fee (currently 3 euros) and you can explore everything on offer at the site - workshops, street food and live music. There’s always all sorts going on at their events but it’s always interesting to go along and check it out with the locals. In the trendy Poble Sec neighbourhood near the creative warehouses and beach, you’re bound to find a whole load of things you want to take home. They also have an Aperol Spritz club to get you in the mood to shop!
Encants is Barcelona’s biggest flea market that dates back to the 13th century - claiming to be one of the oldest in Europe. The market has moved around town over the past 750 years but is now at home by the Design Museum at Glories, beneath a reflective gold roof that mirrors the array of ‘enchantments’ you can buy below. Here you can find everything from vintage picture frames to vinyl records, furniture to antique skis, and all kinds of Spanish memorabilia dating back through the past century (it was originally from house clearances). There are sometimes DJs and food trucks nearby to keep the shopping lively, and always something exciting to see. There are food stalls and bars on the top level with a great view of the Torre Agbar. Open Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday (the best stuff goes early!)
5) MERCADILLO DE LA PLAÇA DE SANT JOSEP
This little art market next to the Santa Maria del Pi Basilica is our favourite weekend market to pass by when strolling across the old town, mostly selling paintings showcasing local artists and a lot of pictures of, or inspired by Barcelona. There are only around 15 artists featured here each week but they’re all friendly and will talk to you about their work without pressuring you to buy anything! It’s also handy for looking on the other side of the plaza where you can taste and buy amazing cheeses, charcuteries, fresh juices and local honey at the farmers market opposite.
If Boqueria is too much of a busy location for you - try the Santa Caterina. This is a more local version which offers bundles of fresh food and tapas bars in the Born neighbourhood, only a 2 minute walk from the main Cathedral. It’s more modern than La Boqueria with a snazzy colourful roof, but it still has delicious olive oils, local cheeses, lots of fresh fruits and sweets, and plenty of ham. Try some local wine or cured meats - you won’t be disappointed! They also wrap some products ready to take on your flight so ask if you’re not sure. Closed Sundays and with different opening times in August.
As with all markets - watch out for your wallet as there are always pickpockets about! For more information on Barcelona ask our friendly reception staff and they will be willing to point you in the right direction! Shop and enjoy!