the hidden bcn

Comparable to the famous market La Boquería, but bigger and recently reopened, the Mercat de Sant Antoni offers something for every foodie or hungry belly.

Newly-opened, charming Sant Antoni is an exclusive experience. The friendly neighborhood feel of the market is characterized perfectly by Barcelona natives who have lived in the area for decades taking a peaceful walk around the market on Sundays or curious tourists who are drawn by the delicious smell of tapas wafting out of the building. Kid-friendly and with stalls ranging from gourmet delicacies to the fresh produce of a proud Catalan farmer, Sant Antoni is the new hotspot in Barcelona.


Aerial View of the Mercat de Sant Antoni
Image: mercatdesantantoni.com

Antoni Rovira i Trias designed the ornate steel structure in 1882. Barcelona’s coat of arms, crowned by a bat, hangs over the entrance, inviting shoppers into the crowded space. Although a functioning market since the 1800s, it closed ten years ago as the beautiful, historic building was in a very poor state. The rebuilding was a feat of engineering – the building is fitted with stilts so there could be three stories of parking underneath, making it much more functional for today’s needs. Its grand reopening was the 23 of May 2018, so the market is still extremely new. While still retaining a genuine European market feel, Sant Antoni is the answer to the public’s call for a more modern shopping solution. Full of produce, fresh meat and seafood, pastries and Catalan delicacies, the building’s interior spans an entire block in the Eixample neighborhood.

Traders bustle around hawking wares and rearranging their merchandise while shoppers triumphantly pick out the ripest peach or the juiciest cut of steak. Avid collectors jump at the chance to acquire another antique book for their library and harried mothers buy clothing cheaper than you could find at El Corte Ingles for the child who just doesn’t seem to stop growing. To see the ecosystem of this market is to see the hidden side of Barcelona that most tourists don’t even scratch. Practice active tourism and take a look at the picturesque Sant Antoni. Yes, La Boqueria is world-famous and will be recognized in most circles, but Mercat de Sant Antoni is an authentic Catalan experience that Barcelona natives are proud to call their own.


Frontal view of the Ornate Mercat de Sant Antoni

Image: mercatdesantantoni.com


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