Shopping like a local: food markets!
Visiting a market is often one of the highlights of our Barcelona walking tours: it is the best way to get in touch with the local lifestyle and the traditional products and food. Today I am glad to introduce our guest author Catriona Robertson who is sharing with us what are the best marketplaces in Barcelona.
Five Top Barcelona Markets
Barcelona is known for tapas dishes such as patatas bravas, marinated olives, cheeses, mussels and sausage, as well as seafood paella plus delicious craft beers. If you want to sample local produce, or purchase your own to cook in a self-catering apartment/hostel, markets can be a great opportunity for finding inexpensive food and beverages plus small eateries within a lively atmosphere on Spanish holidays.
Below are our five favorites:
Mercat de la Llibertat. Gracia is a popular district of Barcelona where this market stands as a shining example of 19th-century brick and iron Modernist architecture. Formerly a hub where local farmers came to sell vegetables and poultry, you can now enjoy a whole variety of products from fish to pulses and fruit here. Try Bordas for the best quality meats and make sure you also stop by the Hueveria (egg market) Vigatana, adjacent to this building, where you can purchase almost every type of egg imaginable – even ostrich!
Mercat de l’Abacería Central. Dating back to the 1800s, it has remained largely unchanged across the years. It’s a vibrant, no-frills market that offers true local flavor and feels a little more authentic than the Mercat de la Llibertat. Those looking to sample the produce on-site can choose from three bars serving up tasty dishes prepared with delights from the stalls, and look out for the beautiful oval roof above the central aisle.
Mercat Galvany. For a more upscale experience, head to the upmarket Sant Gervasi-Galvany neighborhood. Its uniquely striking structure is topped by a huge dome and decorated with stained-glass windows and mosaic and it is certainly a sight to behold. It’s also pricey, so you might just want to take a good long look and grab a sandwich instead of doing major shopping there.
La Boqueria (Mercat de Sant Josep). Accessible via La Rambla, this market has attracted tourists for decades with it’s wonderful aromas and magnificent colourful stalls. Walk amid fresh mushrooms, chocolate and salamis, pick up a refreshing fruit smoothie, or just stroll through to soak up the unique atmosphere. Slightly more expensive than some of the hidden gems, it might be better to stroll around here before making your way to more reasonably priced dining experiences.
Mercat del Ninot Popular with the locals and close to the Square of Catalonia, but hidden enough not to fall within the reaches of tour guides, Mercat del Ninot is certainly great if you are looking for tapas bars or fresh Jabugo ham. Iberian (or Jabugo) ham is some of the finest in the world, produced in the region of the same name from pure-bred black Iberian pigs. The pigs thrive on nuts meaning the meat has a very distinctive flavor, definitely a must for those passionate about sampling Spanish cuisine. Try it with a glass of sherry or tomato bread for a tantalizing experience.
Shopping in markets and supermarkets abroad is all part of experiencing the local culture, whether you simply want to admire the fresh produce or barter with the stallholders. Unfamiliar sights and sounds will fill your senses, and you will certainly be tempted to make some purchases!
Why not try some of these fantastic Barcelona markets or tell us about your own favorite markets in the comments?
Part-time travel writer Catriona Robertson works nine to five but lives for weekend city breaks in Europe and beyond. She loves foodie experiences from touring Italian vineyards to sampling local drinks such as Greek/Turkish Raki and her favourite so far is Churros con Chocolate (to satisfy the sweet tooth)!