Barcelona, the capital of the Catalonia region, is one of the world’s most famous cities. Rich with culture and heritage, it has so much to offer to its locals and visitors. It is home to one of the best football teams in the world, FC Barcelona. There is stunning architecture throughout the city, beautiful beaches, a thriving nightlife, and delectable dishes for foodies to enjoy.
But besides its many tourist attractions and landmarks, what else does Barcelona offer that is entirely unique and a must-do for any visitor? It’s lively markets, of course.
Barcelona has some of the most colorful markets in Spain. Want to know what the best part of market hopping is? It’s totally free — except for the goods you’ll buy along the way.
When you’re in a buzzing city like Barcelona, where there’s so much to see and do, you want to include a few free things to do in the city. In this post, we share information about the best Barcelona markets and encourage you to try some fun market hopping around the city.
Famous Markets in Barcelona
It is no secret that Catalonia’s capital has some of the best Spanish markets in the country. From food and groceries to home accessories, Spanish souvenirs, and vintage collector’s items — there is nothing you won’t find at the best markets in the city. Let’s take a look at two of the most popular markets in Barcelona.
La Boqueria Market in Barcelona
This thrilling market, located in the central El Raval neighborhood in Las Rambla, one of the best places to stay in Barcelona, is the city’s busiest and best market. It is also known as the Mercat de Sant Josep, with origins dating back to the 12th century.
Here, you can buy from a selection of good quality meat, fish, dairy products, and vegetables. As a lover of snacks, my favorite part of visiting this market was the variety of fresh fruits, sweets, nuts, and seeds to choose from.
It really is exciting to visit La Boqueria and soak up its cheerful atmosphere while meeting and conversing with the friendly sellers at the different stalls. You’ll be glad to know that you can take your time at the market or visit a bit later in the day because La Boqueria Market hours typically run from 8 am to 8:30 pm from Monday to Saturday.
Quick Tip: While walking around the market and checking out the stalls, try their delicious tapas or seafood with wine. Some popular bars include Pinotxo and Kiosko Universal.
Warning: With over 300 stalls, this is a vast market. So, flat walking shoes are advisable.
Sant Antoni Market in Barcelona
This famous mercado in Barcelona (meaning market in Spanish), called Mercat de Sant Antoni by Catalonians, is known for selling clothes, shoes, food, and household goods. It is one of Spain’s most extensive and liveliest markets, constructed in the mid-19th century by architect Antoni Rovira i Trias.
The market’s official operating hours are 8 am to 8:30 pm from Monday to Saturday, but the market also welcomes guests on Sundays from 8:30 am to 2:30 pm. Shoppers looking for books, magazines, comics, and collector’s stamps will find an abundance of these items on a Sunday at Sant Antoni Market.
While browsing the market, you’ll find family-run food stalls selling a variety of fresh meats, fish, fruits, and vegetables. There are also stalls where you can buy cooked beans, olives, and pickles — perfect for trying some creative Barcelona food.
Quick Tip: Fashion lovers will delight in exploring the market’s fashion stalls, known as encants. I appreciated that the fashion stalls sell affordable clothing items and accessories for men, women, and children.
Barcelona’s Open-air Markets: Best Street Markets
The streets of Barcelona are a burst of color, flavor, and an infectious atmosphere – best represented by the buzz around its open-air markets. Marketgoers can take in all the spectacular sights and sounds while shopping for precious items you can only get in Catalonia.
Art Market in Plaça del Pi: Our Top Pick
Because Barcelona is a city rich in architecture, literature, and art, an authentic market experience is only complete with a visit to one of the famous art markets. This one, with its official location as the Plaça Sant Josep Oriol, is something special.
Local painters showcase their artworks proudly, contributing to the city’s vibrant art culture. The experience is all-inclusive because marketgoers can also enjoy drinks at the outdoor cafés in the plaza.
Nearby: Visit the beautiful Santa María del Pi Church to appreciate this impressive religious landmark and city structure.
Other successful tourist street markets worth mentioning are the following:
- The Flower Market (Mercat de les Flors) in Las Rambla
- The Gothic Antiques Market (Mercat Gotic) in the Barri Gotic area
- The Toy Market in Masadas Square (Plaça de Masadas) in Sant Andreu district
Quick Tip: One of the other great outdoor markets in Barcelona is Sant Antoni Market. Interestingly, a particular tradition happens on Sundays – inspired by the Sant Antoni flea market itself. This tradition is known as a swap meet in Barcelona. It is a unique event where people meet near the market to exchange trading cards.
Flea Markets in Barcelona
Everybody loves a good flea market, right? Even if you aren’t necessarily trying to spend money, take a trip to a much-loved Barcelona marketplace: the flea market. The markets are a buzz of color, crazy characters, an electric vibe, and endless charm.
The city’s busiest flea markets include Mercat d‘Artesans and The Mercantic Flea Market. You’ll find many beautiful artworks, handicraft goods, trinkets, and souvenirs here.
Encants Market: Our Top Pick
One of the oldest and largest flea markets in Spain is Encants Market, also called Mercat dels Encants Vells or La Fira de Bellcaire. It dates back to the 14th century and has a lot of history.
At Encants, you can shop for clothes (new, old, and second-hand), furnishings, antiques, and so much more. This is a significant spot for finding decorations, bespoke gifts, and art. Those interested in beauty and personal care can pick from a few stalls selling perfumes and cosmetics. There sure is something for everyone at this market, which has over 300 shops and nine restaurants.
Bargain hunters and collectors can also participate in the public auctions, held at the market on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 8 am to 9 am. Encants Market auctions are celebrated as among the most traditional in Europe.
You can enjoy typical operating hours, which are 9 am to 8 pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.
Quick Tip: If you prefer setting aside a specific day for all your flea market shopping, you can visit the Sant Antoni Sunday flea market. This flea market is famous for its vintage items, like vinyl records, DVDs, books, and toys.
Barcelona’s Food Markets
A very big part of Spanish culture is its food. And, as expected, the Catalonian capital is celebrated for its delicious cuisine. That’s why food and drink markets like Mercat del Ninot and Mercat de la Llibertat are trendy in Barcelona.
You’ll get to choose from various fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, and meats when you visit any of the city’s food markets. What I found remarkable about visiting food markets in Barcelona is that you get many exciting ideas about the best foods to eat while in Spain.
World-class food markets such as La Boqueria are Spanish favorites for both locals and visitors. Santa Caterina Market is another must-see on the list of top Spanish food markets.
Santa Caterina Market: Our Top Pick
With its brightly colored undulating roof catching the eye of its visitors, Santa Caterina Market is a traditional Spanish food market selling quality produce.
My favorite thing about Santa Caterina is the wide availability of organic products sold at affordable prices. Shoppers can choose from many stalls offering the best meat, fruits, vegetables, and seafood. Also, stock up on preserves, frozen food, and ready meals.
General operating hours are 7:30 am to 3.30 pm on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday and 7:30 am to 8:30 pm on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.
Tips for Visiting Markets
Check out some top tips to remember to ensure you enjoy the best market experience while in Barcelona:
- Always check operating hours.
- Make use of guided tours when available.
- Bring your own recyclable shopping bags and enough local currency. Be sure to pack for the weather. You can use this packing guide to help make your life easier.
- Earlier in the day is always better, especially when shopping for fresh produce.
- Learn a few useful Spanish phrases commonly used for shopping.
- Have a snack before going to the market so that you don’t overspend on food because you’re hungry.
- Take lots of pictures.
Final Thoughts on Markets in Barcelona
Whether you visit a street, flea, or food market, I think we can agree that there is no market quite like a Barcelona market. From the diverse items on sale to the quirky stalls to the charismatic sellers to market culture itself, market hopping in Barcelona is a one-of-a-kind experience. Go on and indulge!