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Barcelona Market Alternatives to La Boqueria

barcelona spain markets

I strain to recall a travel television show that skips Barcelona’s central and historic La Boqueria market. While you certainly can enjoy yourself in La Boqueria, an entrance on La Rambla can translate to annoying crowds, especially during peak tourism times. I haven’t been to La Boqueria in years, but still delight in the Barcelona market experience. Here are my favorite spots.

Mercat de la Llibertat

barcelona spain markets
Located on the Plaça of the same name, this Gràcia market is a hidden beauty. A block away from the more heavily transited Travessera de Gràcia, the Mercat de la Llibertat dates to 1888 and retains the feel of a neighborhood place. The modernista structure is airy and sharply clean, with a mix of florists, butchers and shops selling an array of fruits and canned delicacies. I visited this market twice on my last stay in Barcelona and will definitely return the next time I’m in the Catalan capital.

barcelona spain markets

barcelona spain markets

Mercat de l’Abaceria Central

barcelona spain markets
This is my favorite market in Barcelona and one of the best I have experienced in my travels. I first came across l’Abaceria when exploring Gràcia nearly seven years ago and memories of the market enhance my giddiness as a trip to Barcelona approaches. This market, located on the Travessera de Gràcia, is just far enough removed from the tourist track to remain authentic, but offers a blend of classic stands and some modern introductions. A must do when you’re in Spain.

barcelona spain markets

barcelona spain markets

barcelona spain markets

When in a great market city like Barcelona, I always pop into spots like L’Abaceria early in the morning and grab some breakfast at one of the counters with short stools. The surrounding action is starting to buzz, the mingling of smells hits between sips of coffee and the patrons have clearly been getting their gossip and cortados from the same café for many years. An unmatched chance for observation.

barcelona spain markets

The fuse box at L’Abaceria would be a bit dull without the touches below, wouldn’t it? Public art also beautifies the exterior of the market.

barcelona spain markets

barcelona spain markets

Mercat de Sant Antoni

barcelona spain markets sant antoni
As you can see from the picture above, this grand market on Carrer Comte d’Urgell is currently under construction. Thankfully, the temporary home for the market is just across the street. The Mercat de Sant Antoni was busy when I visited, but not overwhelming. The welcoming scents change every few meters, from fresh fish to cured jamón ibérico to piles of multicolored produce.

barcelona spain markets sant antoni

barcelona spain markets fish

barcelona spain markets

Mercat del Ninot

barcelona spain markets
This historic market was also under construction when I was in Barcelona, but I’m hoping to enjoy it soon. The Mercat del Ninot (under differing names) has been serving the left side of Eixample for over 120 years and has a temporary set-up nearby, on Casanova across from the Faculty of Medicine. I am willing to suffer for the delayed gratification, but be assured that this will be one of my first stops on my next Barcelona stay.

Are you headed to Barcelona in 2015? If so, be sure to check out my review of U232 Hotel and the discount code for my readers!

{ 13 comments… add one }
  • Dorothée March 15, 2015, 6:09 pm

    Hi Dave

    this is so lovely. You are so right, the market scene in Barcelona is fantastic. And I love La Boqueria, no matter what people say.
    Dorothée recently posted…Tankwa Karoo National Park South Africa – ultimate road less travelled destinationMy Profile

    • Dave March 17, 2015, 9:19 pm

      Hi Dorothee! I still love La Boqueria too – one of my first markets in Spain.

  • Lauren of Devour Barcelona March 16, 2015, 12:02 pm

    I’m so happy you mentioned the Mercat de l’Abaceria Central! It’s the market we visit on our Gracia Neighborhood Barcelona Food Tour and with good reason– it’s wonderful. The stallholders have been there for generations and it hasn’t changed a bit in years. Unfortunately they’ll be modernizing it soon, which I hope they do with class.
    Lauren of Devour Barcelona recently posted…Truita d’Alls Tendres Recipe (Green Garlic Omelette)My Profile

    • Dave March 17, 2015, 9:20 pm

      I’m hoping they’ll stick to the traditional style, too – such a fun spot. Will have to join you guys the next time I’m in la Ciudad Condal.

  • Jessica (Barcelona Blonde) March 16, 2015, 12:17 pm

    There are lots of fantastic markets here! I’m lucky enough to live right by one of the Gràcia ones (although I really should do more of my shopping there). I hope they get the Mercat de Sant Antoni finished, as it’s such a beautiful structure.

    The Santa Caterina market by the cathedral is quite good too, and it has more sit down restaurant-style places than the other markets.
    Jessica (Barcelona Blonde) recently posted…The Guide to Having a Quarter-Life Crisis in SpainMy Profile

    • Dave March 17, 2015, 9:25 pm

      Thanks for the addition to the list! I will have to hit up that market the next I’m in Barcelona. And I’m excited to see Sant Antoni once it’s finished.

  • Corinne March 17, 2015, 11:11 am

    Dave, I love a good market, and the less touristy the better. I loved Boqueria, but next time I’ll try out some of these others for sure.
    Corinne recently posted…San Francisco Street ArtMy Profile

    • Dave March 17, 2015, 9:26 pm

      Hi Corinne – This is only a slice of what’s available in the city. I could spend a week just touring the markets.

  • Gloria @NomadicChica March 17, 2015, 3:55 pm

    Wow! This is definitely my kind of place! I’ll have it in mind when I first visit Barcelona. I have an addiction for any kind of markets and I really like when they have this combination between fancy and more dirty spots 😛
    Gloria @NomadicChica recently posted…QOTD | What is meant to be will beMy Profile

    • Dave March 17, 2015, 9:29 pm

      Hi Gloria – They really do them well in Barcelona! Tantalizing options every few feet. You’ll love the markets.

  • Rachael@safari254 March 19, 2015, 11:32 am

    I have to say that food markets have never been on my radar when in a new town. I am more interested in shopping for clothes and souveniers.However this has been the 2nd food market related post I have read this week and I am thinking I should expand my horizons.
    Rachael@safari254 recently posted…The Sands at Chale Island ResortMy Profile

  • visit barcelona March 20, 2015, 1:57 pm

    I visited Santa Caterina and La Boqueria when I was in Barcelona, but I could not see any other markets. I hope to have the time to visit them next time! They all sound very interesting, specially those that are less visited by tourists :)

  • Carolin March 21, 2015, 6:46 am

    Thanks for that post Dave, I am looking forward to check out all the markets soon as I want to spend the whole month of May in Barcelona :)

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