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
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.
Mercat de l’Abaceria Central
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.
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.
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.
Mercat de 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.
Mercat del Ninot
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!