Characterized as the European city with the most markets, Barcelona has a wide network of markets distributed in such a way that each neighborhood has at least one, and many have up to three or four. Offering an extensive, varied and quality range of products, they contribute to make the quality of life of citizens better by promoting a healthy balanced diet. Beyond such contribution, Barcelona’s markets have an eye on the past. Indeed, the buildings in which they are housed reflect the history of the city and its traditions.
Among the city’s several markets, three have caught the attention of the outside world because of their colorful displays, historic building or modern design.
The Touristic: La Boqueria
Born as a travelling market in the 19th century, over the years, the Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria has grown into one of the finest outdoor markets in the world and has become the most emblematic of all Barcelona’s. Indeed, the structure, the central situation on Las Ramblas, and the atmosphere make it a must-see for many tourists. However, despite its popularity, La Boqueria has not lost its charm and authenticity. It is home to fishmongers, butchers, cheesemongers, greengrocers and dozens of small charcuterie shops specializing in Spanish hams and cured meats. Fresh seafood, Mediterranean specialties and fantastic tapas bars can also be found here, making it a popular spot to stop for lunch.
La Boqueria: La Rambla 89; open Monday to Saturday, 8am to 8.30pm
The Authentic: Sant Antoni
Another popular market is Sant Antoni, which local Barcelona residents claim is even livelier, fresher, and much more authentic than La Boqueria with clothes stalls and a book and coin market on Sundays. If you want to experience a real Barcelona neighbourhood market, away from crowds of tourists, we recommend you to visit this one. However, you should know that at the moment the market of Sant Antoni is undergoing major renovations and has moved into temporary premises nearby.
Sant Antoni: Comte d’Urgell 1; open Monday to Saturday from 7am. Every day except Friday it closes from 2.30 to 5.30pm, then reopens until 8.30pm. On Friday it stays open all day until 8.30pm.
The Modern: Santa Catarina Market
As many markets in Barcelona that are looking for new ways to breathe new life into old markets, the Santa Catarina Market situated in the Born / Ribera area of the city was renovated from 1998 to 2005 and reemerged with a new and modern market concept. It now boasts a stunning wave-like colorful roof designed by Enric Miralles and Benedetta Tagliabue, includes over a hundred market stalls and one of Barcelona’s best lunch restaurants called Cuines Santa Catarina.
Santa Caterina: Francesc Cambó 16; open Monday to Saturday from 7.30am each day. Closes at 3.30pm on Tues, Wed and Sat, at 2pm on Mon, and 8.30pm on Thurs and Fri.