Barcelona might be great for sightseeing, but there’s more to experiencing the city than just looking. The Catalan capital’s abundance of great markets are perfect for experiencing Barcelona’s sounds, smells and tastes – get under the skin of the city with the best markets in Barcelona.
Peruse our list of the best markets in Barcelona
Known locally as La Boqueria, this huge undercover market just off La Rambla is one of the city’s best-known landmarks. Enter through a grand iron gateway and this glorious old-fashioned marketplace is a blaze of colour, noise and mouth-watering scents. As the city’s most central market, it’s far more than a tourist attraction. It’s bustling with locals who come to stock up on jamon iberico, Manchego cheese and sparklingly fresh seafood. La Boqueria supposedly dates back as far as 1217, when tables were set up near the city gate to sell meat to the locals. It’s been a marketplace ever since and is famous for its locally-farmed meats, cheeses, fruits and vegetables. The market has several tapas bars and dine-in restaurants, including El Quim de la Boqueria. Try one of freshly cooked seafood dishes, such as percebes (goose barnacles) fried with garlic, butter and herbs.
Times: La Boquerìa is open throughout the year from Monday to Saturday 0800–2000.
Nearest metro: Liceu
Located in the hip Sant Antoni quarter of Eixample, the Mercat de Sant Antoni is one of Barcelona’s largest markets. Designed by Antoni Rovira i Trias in 1882, the original covered marketplace has been undergoing renovations since 2009. However, the stalls in the temporary structure (right next door) are still well worth a visit. On the southwestern fringes of El Raval, this bustling local market sells a variety of fresh produce, including local hams, cheeses and fresh seafood, plus there’s an assortment of clothes, shoes and homeware stalls. On Sundays, when the indoor market is closed, a couple of dozen or so stalls set up outside the main marketplace selling second-hand books, comics and collector’s stamps.
Times: Mercat de Sant Antoni is open Monday–Thursday, 0700–1400 and 1700–2030, and on Friday and Saturday 0700–2030. The Sunday market is open 0830–1430.
Nearest metro: Sant Antoni
Fresh delicious authentic paella made right in front of your eyes
Famous for its colourful, undulating roof, Mercat de Santa Caterina in the Born district is renowned for its top-notch produce and quirky speciality ingredients. Set on Avinguda de Francesc Cambó, close to Barcelona Cathedral, Mercat de Santa Caterina opened in 1845 on the site of the former Convent Santa Caterina. In 2005, the popular market was completely redesigned by designers Enric Miralles and Benedetta Tagliabue, who brought in a wave of colour. Inside, the sprawling food market is still set over three floors and features an extensive variety of fresh fruit and vegetables, local cheeses and meat stalls. It also sells speciality Spanish produce, such as Jabugo ham and saffron. There is a clutch of cool tapas bars inside, which attract Barcelona’s hip foodie crowd.
Times: Mercat de Santa Caterina is open Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, 0730–1530 and Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 0730–2030. It’s closed Sundays, and in the afternoon during July and August.
Nearest metro: Jaume I
Barcelona’s markets aren’t just about food. The Mercat Gotic de Antiquitats in Barri Gotic, Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter, is one of the city’s most popular haunts for antiques hunters. It pitches up outside the neo-Gothic facade of Barcelona Cathedral every Thursday and draws a loyal crowd of collectors from all over the region. There are dozens of stalls, selling everything from old postcards to antique silverware and collectable coins, as well as collectible dolls, ceramics and old vinyl records. If you’re willing to haggle, you can easily pick up a bargain or two.
Times: The Mercat Gotic de Antiquitats is open every Thursday 0900–2000. Closed in August.
Nearest metro: Jaume I
A selection of sweets on sale at this market stall
Just south of Placa de les Glories Catalanes and opposite the Teatre Nacional de Catalunya, is the legendary Mercat dels Encants. Dating back more than seven centuries, the Mercat dels Encants is believed to be one of the oldest antique markets in Europe. While its origins date back as far as the 13th century, it’s rare to find relics of that age to buy. Now you’ll find stalls in this popular marketplace flogging everything from antique furniture, costume jewellery and second-hand tools to new clothes and kitchen gadgets. It also hosts a public auction on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings.
Times: Mercat dels Encants is open to the public Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 0900–2000 throughout the year.
Nearest metro: Glories