Sightseeing around Barcelona’s markets
If you’re travelling to Barcelona and wondering what to do there, how about discovering the city’s most popular markets? They’re perfect for savouring Catalan cuisine and buying antiques, flowers, artworks and vintage items. Whether you’re a hipster, Instagrammer or somewhat more traditional, we know you’re just going to love Barcelona’s markets!
Apartments close to the top markets in Barcelona
• Mercat de la Boqueria, La Rambla 91, Barcelona
No self-respecting tourist would ever dream of leaving Barcelona without visiting the spectacular Mercat de la Boqueria. It remains one of the city’s main sights, thanks to its Modernista gateway and unbeatable location. It’s the only market in Barcelona close to the Ramblas. Formerly known as the Mercat de Sant Josep, its stalls sell a wide variety of tasty food, both Catalan produce and imports such as exotic fruit from South America and Asia. You’ll also find legendary bars, such as Bar Pinotxo right by the entrance. A great place to sample some authentic tapas in Barcelona or typical Catalan dishes such as cap-i-pota (similar to tripe). Bar Pinotxo has been a roaring success since 1940: don’t leave without trying its fried baby squid! Other recommended places to eat inside the Mercat de la Boqueria include Quim de la Boqueria, Bar Clemen’s, Kiosko Universal and Bar Central. If you still aren’t sure where to sleep in Barcelona and would like to be close to this market, we recommend booking one of our Ramblas Boqueria apartments or our PTF apartments.
• Mercat dels Encants Vells, C/Castillejos 158, Barcelona
Known popularly as Los Encantes, this is one of the oldest flea markets in Barcelona and offers a huge range of delights, from the latest fashion to vintage lamps, as well as items with your favourite comic and film characters, not to mention a vast collection of antiques and second-hand bargains you’ll only find in this unique Barcelona market. In fact, it’s the only flea market in Europe where they still hold auctions. If you want to bid, you need to be in the central courtyard between 7 am and 9 am on Monday, Wednesday or Friday.
• Mercat de Sant Antoni, C/ Comte d’Urgell 1, Barcelona
This recently renovated Modernista market is one of the loveliest in Barcelona. It’s the only market to open every day of the week and is in fact three markets in one: the food market (closed on Sunday), with lots of stalls selling fresh food and delights such as the delicious cold cuts at Casa Sendra; the clothes and accessories market (closed Tuesday and Sunday); and the Sant Antoni Sunday market, a must for any serious collector of stamps, books, stickers, films, badges, antiques and much more besides.
• El Flea, Plaça de Blanquerna, Barcelona
If you want to catch one of the best second-hand markets in Barcelona, make a beeline for this flea market held right behind the Maritime Museum, very close to the Ramblas. Held every second Sunday of the month, it’s the perfect place to pick up a second-hand camera, a vinyl record or handbag. It’s open from 10 am to 5 pm in winter and to 7 pm or later in summer.
• Mercat de la Barceloneta, Plaça del Poeta Bosca 1, Barcelona
Housed in the traditional fishermen’s neighbourhood of Barceloneta, this is the best market for buying fresh fish. It was designed by Antoni Rovira i Trias, as were the Mercat de Sant Antoni and the Mercat de la Concepció, among others. It’s been open since 1884 and also includes the Caballa Canalla restaurant, one of the best places for sipping a vermouth and trying some tasty appetisers and tapas not far from the sea, as well as enjoying fish and seafood dishes. It was also the first market in the city to use solar energy and has a mezzanine for gastronomic events. If you want to enjoy the beach and discover Barceloneta, we recommend staying in one of our apartments by the sea in Barcelona.
• Mercat de la Concepció, Carrer d’Aragó 313, Barcelona
This market lies at the heart of the Eixample, loved by many locals for its vast array of plants and flowers at its wrought-iron entrance. One of its classic stalls is indeed Flores Navarro, the perfect place to find cut flowers 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Another popular stall is Raconet Verd, with reasonably priced healthy vegetarian products. If you want to do some shopping and try some very acceptable tapas while you’re at it, head over to Barmand, whose specialities include Rioja-style eggs, homemade croquettes and a range of omelettes. Don’t leave without trying them!
• Lost&Found, Estació de França,, Plaça del Mar, Barcelona
If you’re a fan of second-hand and vintage goods, you’ll love the Lost&Found flea market. It’s held quarterly in an amazing setting: the lovely Estació de França in Barcelona, decorated in keeping with the tastes of the 1920s Catalan bourgeoisie. Admission is free and you’ll find lots of quirky second-hand objects and vintage gems at great prices. Between purchases you can sip a beer or vermouth at the bar to the sound of top DJs. In summer, the market moves to Plaça del Mar, in the Barceloneta district.
• Mercat de la Sagrada Família, C/ Padilla 255, Barcelona
Despite being right next to one of the city’s top sights (the Sagrada Família), this market attracts few tourists. It’s popular with locals, though, who appreciate its excellent fresh produce: fish, meat, fruit and vegetables, cold cuts, pulses… Everything you might need for making a classic Catalan dish. So if you feel like a break after visiting the Sagrada Família, this market makes a great pit stop.
• Mercat del Ninot, Carrer de Mallorca 133, Barcelona
One of the best markets in Barcelona. Built in Noucentista style, this market is a Site of Local Cultural Interest. Its name comes from a love story in the Barceloneta district: a girl went there to see her fiancé and was so taken by the ninot (carved wooden child) she saw on the figurehead of a brig about to be scrapped that she asked her fiancé and his friends to rescue it and set it up on the facade of a bar near the market, which then took on its present name. This lovely historic market in the heart of the Eixample is full of life and runs lots of activities, including cooking workshops. Several stalls offer tastings. Check out the Cuina del Ninot restaurant, one of the best restaurants in Barcelona with fresh market produce top of the menu. Foodies, this is the market for you.
• Palo Alto Market, Carrer de Pellaires 30, Barcelona
Palo Alto Market takes place on the first weekend of the month. It’s best to go when the weather’s fine, as most of the stalls are in the open air, as is its food area, with lots of food stalls and trucks serving tasty morsels. Housed in a former factory in the Poblenou district, it features the latest art, fashion and crafts from young designers, as well as vintage items and much more besides, to the sound of great music in a cool, hipster environment. It’s popular with tourists and locals alike, so it’s best to buy your admission ticket online first to beat the queues.
• Centre Cultural del Born, Plaça Comercial 12, Barcelona
Originally serving as the market for the La Ribera neighbourhood, in the 1920s is became the city’s central fruit and vegetable market. When a new wholesale market was built on the outskirts of the city, the Mercat del Born was slated for demolition, but was saved by a campaign by residents. It is now one of the city’s main cultural centres, with major archaeological remains that offer a fascinating insight into the city’s past. If you like the area, with the lively Rambla del Born, church of Santa Maria del Mar and traces of the city’s medieval past, you can sleep in one of our Born Studio apartments, in an unbeatable location!
• Mercat de Galvany, Carrer de Santaló 65, Barcelona
The lovely Galvany market, in the Sarrià-Sant Gervasi neighbourhood, is surprising inside and out. Opened in 1927, this 5,000 m2 market, with a soaring metal structure and large glass windows, is a true artistic monument. You’ll find stalls selling perfume, flowers, furniture, clothes, decorations, presents… and the best fresh produce. If you like cod, head for the Masclans 1881 stall; if you prefer fresh pasta and other tasty Italian morsels, Il Raviolo is the stall for you!
• Mercantic, Av. de Rius i Taulet 120, Sant Cugat, Barcelona
Open every day of the week except Monday and Sunday afternoon. Weekends are busier, thanks to the food trucks and vermouth concerts held at the El Siglo, the largest bookshop in Spain. If you like antique markets, you’ll love the 15,000 m2 Mercantic, housed in the former Josep Barnils ceramics factory with over 200 sellers offering a wide range of styles and objects from all periods. This is the place to find that original lamp or piece of furniture! On the first Sunday of the month, the adjoining streets are closed to traffic and the market spills out with collector’s items, clothes, books and all kinds of other objects. And it’s only 15 minutes from Barcelona by train (FGC Lines S2 and S6, get off at Volpelleres), so it’s easy to get to if you don’t have a car.
• Mercat de Santa Caterina, Av. de Francesc Cambó 16, Barcelona
Just across the road from Barcelona Cathedral is the Mercat de Santa Caterina, with its brightly coloured wavy roof mosaic made up of 325,000 pieces of ceramic. It looks stunning from the air. Renovated in 2005, it takes its name from the Santa Caterina convent that used to occupy the site. It was the first covered market in the city. Its stalls and restaurants are as impressive as its design. Cuines Santa Caterina restaurant is a must for all foodies, thanks to its legendary healthy breakfasts and Asian dishes: its vegetable and soya curry is to die for! For typical Catalan dishes, head for La Torna and try their esqueixada de bacallà (salad of shredded salt cod, tomatoes and onions) or fricandó (beef and wild mushroom stew). If you’re still unsure where to sleep in Barcelona, check out our Music apartments, very close to the Mercat de Santa Caterina, just one of our excellent apartments in Barcelona.
• Mercat de la Llibertat, Plaça de la Llibertat 27, Barcelona
No selection of the top markets in Barcelona would be complete without the Mercat de la Llibertat in the Gràcia neighbourhood. This Modernista market is a Site of Local Cultural Interest and much loved by locals. It is built on the site where farmers from the town of Gràcia would sell poultry and vegetables. Work on the market started in 1888 and it opened in 1893. It has been part of the fabric of the district ever since and is an excellent option for buying food, flowers and plants, clothes and household goods. One of its legendary stalls is the Joan Noi fishmonger’s stall, selling fresh fish and seafood that you can also try for yourself at the Tast de Joan Noi bar, perfect for some tasty appetisers! Another classic is La Clau bar, serving breakfasts, tapas and single-course meals. The house speciality is tripe: be warned, it soon sells out! If you’re not sure where to stay in Barcelona, the Gràcia neighbourhood is a great option: a lovely area not far from the city centre.