Food and Wine

The Best Markets in Barcelona

Tue 20 Jun 2023

The Best Markets in Barcelona

Barcelona natives take their food very seriously, and no trip to the Catalan capital is complete without delving into the city’s manifold culinary delights. Nowhere is the foodie credentials of Barcelona in evidence more than at the city’s numerous markets. Almost every neighbourhood in the city is home to a thriving local market where traders and artisans offer up everything from fresh fruit and vegetables to fabulous fresh fish, mouthwatering ham and much more. Even better, many of the city’s markets play host to exceptional tapas bars and cafes serving the best of authentic Catalan cuisine at low prices. Discover the best markets in Barcelona with our guide!

La Boqueria

The big-daddy of Barcelona’s thriving market scene, iconic La Boqueria is one of the city’s must-see attractions. With traders’ stalls extending over 13,000 metres in a magnificent modernist edifice designed in the early 20th century by Josep Mas i Vila, La Boqueria is an amazing feast for the senses - if it’s edible, you’ll find it here. You know you’re in for something special as soon as you pass under the market’s stunning stained-glass entrance arch, where the market’s full official name of Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria is suspended proudly above the building.  Great hocks of pork sway from stalls in every corner of the market, while a dozen fishmongers in the central section offer up a bewildering array of marine delights, from local specialties navaja (razor clams) and percebes (goose barnacles) to slippery eels and spiky lobsters. Stop for lunch at El Quim or Bar Pinotxo, two of Barcelona’s finest tapas bars that operate stalls in the market. 

How to get there: The nearest metro stop to the market is Liceu, on the L3 or Green line. One of the metro stop exits will take you out right at the entrance to La Boqueria. Plaça Catalunya is also just a few minutes walk from the market, and serves  the Green L3 and the Red L1 metro lines.

Mercat De Sant Antoni

The stunning Mercat De Sant Antoni is located right at the heart of the area with which it shares its name. Housed in a masterful 19th-century edifice of iron and brick, the market first opened its doors in 1882 to a design by Antoni Rovira. After a decade-long restoration that was completed in 2018, the revitalised Sant Antoni became the largest market in the city, with over 250 stallholders flogging everything from the freshest of seasonal fruit and vegetables to top-level charcuterie, boutique fashion items, homewares and plenty more. Reflecting the millennial history of the Catalan capital, the Mercat de Antoni also houses ancient ruins including a 1st-century AD mausoleum and the remains of the Roman road Via Augusta. 

How to get there: The entrance to the market is on Carrer del Comte d'Urgell. The nearest metro station of Sant Antoni is just a few metres away, and is serviced by the L2 line. 

Mercat de la Llibertat

A modernista classic in the well-heeled Gràcia neighbourhood, the Mercat del la Llibertat first opened in 1888 but received its definitive aesthetic when Antoni Gaudi’s collaborator and assistant Francesc Berenguer i Mestres covered the hall with a fine roof five years later in 1893. With its wide central nave and flanking side aisles, the Liberty Market looks like some secular cathedral for the modern age. The pitched metal roof features beautiful glazed ceramic tiles as well as a wrought iron coat of arms. The produce is typically fresh and good value, and the market provides a long-standing point of reference for local residents. 

How to get there: Located on the Plaça de la Llibertat, the market is best reached on public transport via the L3 Metro line. Get off at the Fontana stop. Alternatively, take line  L6 or L7 to Gràcia.

Mercat del Encants

The intriguingly named Mercat del Encants - or the market of charms - more than lives up to its suggestive moniker. Barcelona’s largest flea market, vendors have been hawking all manner of weird and wacky wares here since as far back as the Middle Ages, when an informal open-air market sprang up in the shadow of one of the city’s main entrance gates.  The historic market finally got a permanent home in 2013, when a cutting edge pavilion with a kaleidoscope roof was unveiled by the architectural firm b720. You’ll need to wade through a fair amount of tat to find anything worthwhile, but as with all the best flea markets for those with the time and scavenging skills there are plenty of fabulous finds and brilliant bargains to be had. Looking for an antique wardrobe, rare first editions or fashionable vintage garments? You’re in the right place. 

How to get there: Located on the Carrer de los Castillejos, the Mercat del Encants is just a few short steps from the Glories metro stop. 

Mercat Santa Caterina

Amongst the most beautiful of Barcelona’s neighbourhood markets, the Mercat Santa Caterina is housed in an amazing contemporary building designed by Enric Miralles and Benedetta Tagliabue, completed in 2005. The undulating roof pulses and ripples like an ocean wave, colourful mosaic tiles glinting and catching the light in a constantly shifting display. The market itself offers up a heady mix of fishmongers piled high with the glistening daily catch, butchers’ shops hung heavy with prime cuts of jamon iberico, botifarra, fuet and other regional specialities, and of course greengrocers with a cornucopia of fruit and veggie delights. The market is also home to a number of fine cafes, restaurants and bars, including iconic Bar Joan - an old-school tapas counter serving up excellent Catalan staples like croquetas, arròs negre (rice with cuttlefish ink) and paella.  

How to get there: The nearest metro station to Mercat De Santa Caterina is Jaume I, served by the L4 line. It’s approximately a 4 minute walk to the market from the stop. 

Mercat La Concepciò

In addition to the obligatory array of foodie delights and fresh produce that you’d expect from any neighbourhood market in Barcelona worth its salt, the Mercat La Concepciò’s unique selling point is the flower stalls overflowing with marvellously colourful and fragrant blooms that transform the 19th century iron and steel edifice into a floral wonderland. Conveniently located in buzzing Eixample, the market offers an ideal tranquil break before, during or after exploring the iconic Gaudi buildings that the area is famous for - the Sagrada Familia, Casa Batlló and La Pedrera chief amongst them. 

How to get there: Take the L4 Metro line to the Girona stop. The market is a 4 minute walk. Alternatively, it’s a 7 minute walk from the Passeig de Gràcia station, which is serviced by the L2, L3 and L4 lines.  

Mercat de Galvany

A beautiful neighbourhood market in the uptown suburb of Sant Gervasi, the Mercat de Galvany is housed in a cracking modernist landmark building opened in 1927. The exposed brick edifice is supported by a forest of slender cast iron pillars, and the interior is bathed with light entering through a large central dome and refracted by colourful art-nouveau stained glass. The usual array of fresh market produce is enlivened by the presence of fine bakeries and charcuterie stalls, as well as a cafe where you can stop to recharge. 

How to get there: Take the S1 or S2 train lines or L6 metro line to Muntaner, then it’s a 3 minute walk to the market. 

Mercat de la Barceloneta

Seafood lovers need to head to this market located in the beachfront community of Barceloneta. A market has stood here since 1887, but a rebuild in  2007 by architect Josep Miàs breathed new life into the venerable institution. The sunny, waterfront vibes everywhere apparent in Barceloneta remind us that the Catalan capital is a Mediterranean city, and the neighbourhood’s thriving market is the place to go to sample the best of what the sea has to offer. 

How to get there: Take the L4 metro line to Barceloneta. 

Through Eternity Tours offer expert-led itineraries in Barcelona. For a complete, insider foodie experience in the Catalan capital that includes a tour of La Boqueria market as well as tapas tastings at Barcelona’s finest tapas bars, check out our Barcelona Gothic Quarter and Tapas Tour and prepare yourself for some delicious culinary adventures in the company of our resident gourmet guides!

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