Places to wander, to wonder, to smell and to taste: Barcelona's fabulous markets offer a feast for the senses. Discover our five favourites here!
Markets offer a great opportunity for any visitor to encounter the culinary culture of a country, a region or a city. More scenic and much more fun than supermarkets, without the protocol and etiquette constraints of restaurants, markets offer something entirely different, with a riot of sights, sounds and colours to delight the senses.
Between market vendors shouting to attract the attention of prospective buyers, the scents of a whole range of fresh produce and some spectacular multicoloured displays of products, Barcelona’s markets constitute a world unto themselves, one which we would highly recommend discovering.
The photogenic one: Mercat de la Boqueria
Mercat de la Boqueria, on Las Ramblas, is the oldest and most famous of the Barcelona markets.
- This market is extremely busy, and it can be difficult to find your way through the crowds. Due to the influx of tourists, it has also lost some of its original charm, which is a shame.
Many stalls sell fresh salads and fruit juices, and at the end of the market, you’ll find vendors selling home-cooked meals, prepared with products from the market itself. It’s worth stopping off at the Pinotxo bar to sample a range of Catalan specialties.
- Click here to read our article on the Mercat de la Boquería.
Why? For its unique vibe
When? Monday to Saturday, 8am – 8.30pm
Where? Las Ramblas, 91 (Raval)
- Métro: Liceu (L3)
- Bus: 14, 59, 91
The “hip” one: Mercat Princesa
Hip, yes, but friendly! The Mercat Princesa is based on an innovative concept, part-market, part-restaurant.
Visitors can walk around, as at a market, and buy food from stalls. However, the majority of the products available are full dishes, rather than simple ingredients, and are prepared to order on the spot.
An attractive space in the middle of the market is given over to long tables, none of which is reserved for a particular stall. There are, however, three distinct zones: the central area, which is very bright, a second room, which is smaller and more intimate, or little garden tables scattered throughout the market.
- Pro: flit from stall to stall, trying anything which takes your fancy. There’s a vast amount of choice, from tapas to oysters, Catalan specialities, Italian or Asian cuisine, charcuterie, cheese…
- Con: prices can be a little expensive, and the quality of food is variable. For a more peaceful experience, avoid visiting at the weekend and around local meal times (1.30 – 3pm, 9.30 – 11pm).
Why? For its hip, friendly feel
When? Wednesday to Thursday: 1pm – midnight; Friday: 1pm – 12.30am; Saturday: 12.30pm – 12.30 am; Sunday: 12.30pm – 11pm
Where? Carrer des Flassaders, 21 (Born)
- Métro: Jaume I (L4)
- Bus: 14, 39, 51, 120
The quirky one: Mercat de Santa Caterina
The Mercat de Santa Caterina is one of the oldest covered markets in Barcelona, second only to the Mercat de la Boquería. The roof of the market hall is wavy, representing a choppy sea, and colourful, reflecting the visual impact of the fruit and vegetable stands below.
For a special culinary treat, stop off at the famous Cuines Santa Caterina, a restaurant located within the market. It offers tasty, fresh and seasonal dishes for under 15 euros, which can be eaten inside or out on the terrace.
Why? For its quirky side
When? Monday, Wednesday and Saturday: 7.30am – 3.30 pm; Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: 7.30am – 8.30pm. Closed Sundays. In July, the market is open from 7.30am – 3.30pm Monday to Saturday, with later opening until 8.30pm on Fridays.
Where? Avinguda Francesc Cambó, 16 (Born)
- Métro: Jaume I (L4)
- Bus: 17, 18, 40, 45, 120
The flowery one: Mercat de la Concepció
The Mercat de la Concepció doesn’t attract too many tourists, although its stalls are just as varied as those found in Barcelona’s other major markets. The flower market, open 24 hours a day, offers a feast for the eyes, the nose and the stomach, with food available to purchase along its flower-bedecked alleyways.
Why? For a touch of calm
When? Food market: Monday and Saturday: 8am – 3pm; Tuesday to Friday: 8am – 8pm.
Flower market: 24/7 (except in August).
Where? Aragó, 313-317 (Eixample)
- Metro: Girona (L4)
- Bus: 39, 43, 44, 45, 47
The authentic one: Mercat de Sant Antoni
The Sant Antoni market, just like the quarter which houses it, is charming and relatively untroubled by tourists. They don’t know what they’re missing… Mercat de Sant Antoni is fairly similar to the Mercat de la Boqueria. If you fancy seeing how the locals live and experiencing the “real” Barcelona, this is the one for you.
Why? To see a different side of Barcelona
When? Monday to Thursday: 7am – 2.30pm and 5pm – 8.30pm. Friday, Saturday and days preceding public holidays: 7am – 8.30pm.
Where? Comte d’Urgell, 1 (Sant Antoni)
- Métro: Sant Antoni (L2)
- Bus: 13, 20, 24, 37, 41, 55, 64, 91, 120, 121, 141
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About the author
Pauline loves books, food and new discoveries. For her articles, she loves finding original and authentic places which are a treat for both the eyes and the tastebuds. Her favourite thing to do in Barcelona? Getting lost in the Old Town and soaking up its unique atmosphere... whilst enjoying the appetising smells emerging from restaurant kitchens! Is there anything better than that?