Many visitors to Barcelona don’t make it past the famous La Boqueria Market, missing out on some of Barcelona’s most delicious foods and unique culinary experiences in the process. Big mistake!
Located just steps away from the Gothic Quarter and the Barcelona Cathedral, Santa Caterina Barcelona – or, Mercat Santa Caterina – is hands down the best market in Barcelona.
Santa Caterina Market is a much more local and authentic market than nearby La Boqueria, and has a far greater array of foods to sample, traditional food stalls to enjoy, and unique products to see. Don’t miss out on Santa Caterina in Barcelona, the stand-out among Barcelona markets by far!
In this ultimate guide to visiting the Santa Caterina Market Barcelona, we’re sharing everything you need to know about visiting the best food market in Barcelona. Keep reading for all the details about this unmissable market in Barcelona.
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Markets in Barcelona
There are several well-known and well-loved Barcelona markets that make for great destinations for travelers and visitors of all types looking for a window into Spanish cuisine and cooking.
While Santa Caterina Market (also known as Mercat Santa Caterina) is, in my opinion, the hands-down best market in Barcelona, keep reading for a bit more about these best markets in Barcelona to plan your visit.
La Boqueria Market
La Boqueria is easily the most well-known market in Barcelona, and perhaps throughout all of Europe. It’s truly one of the most famous landmarks in Spain! This covered outdoor food market in Barcelona is known for its mix of fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, and dairy products as well as its mix of prepared food stalls.
La Boqueria is considered a must-visit for most Barcelona itineraries and is typically packed at all hours of the day, including with many tourists. You’ll find a lot of stalls catering more directly to tourists here than you will in other Barcelona markets.
This doesn’t mean it isn’t worth a visit – make sure to stop by if you’re walking down La Rambla and see what makes this market so famous. The food stalls in the back are a great place to take a break from the city and try some delicious Spanish or Catalan tapas.
Looking for a more authentic and in-depth experience at La Boqueria? Thanks to the market’s popularity and fame, there are several high-quality tours and tastings run by local chefs that feature La Boqueria and give an in-depth guide to the products featured in the market.
Make sure to check out this La Boqueria tour with a Spanish chef (very well done!) or even a La Boqueria tour and cooking class to get an even more authentic experience – and learn a recipe to repeat at home.
Food tours and cooking classes are some of my favorite activities while traveling – you’ll learn so much about the culture, language, and best places to eat in the city you’re visiting! Plan a food tour of markets in Barcelona at the beginning of your time in a city to take advantage of guide recommendations.
Mercat Santa Caterina
Santa Caterina Market – also known as Mercat Santa Caterina in Catalan, or Mercado de Santa Caterina, in Spanish, is our favorite food market in Barcelona. It is centrally located in the El Born neighborhood and just steps away from the Barcelona Cathedral. This means it’s an easy addition to any itinerary and a must-see destination.
Jump ahead to our complete guide to Santa Caterina Market for all the details about our favorite food market in Barcelona, like when to visit and where to eat.
Even for travelers that are set on visiting La Boqueria – which I recommend! – don’t skip out on Santa Caterina Barcelona. This is especially because some of Barcelona’s most beautiful sites will bring you so close to the market anyways.
Santa Caterina in Barcelona has a great mix of prepared foods and fresh meats, cheeses, and produce, which make it a favorite place in Barcelona for food tours, and for sampling. You’ll find stalls selling empanadas and croquetas, as well as fresh fruit and juices, and all the jamón ibérico you could want.
One of Barcelona’s BEST food tours, run by one of the city’s best food bloggers / vloggers makes a stop at Santa Caterina – I highly recommend checking out this food tour if you’re interested in learning more about Spanish cuisine!
Plus, there are plenty of bars, small restaurants, and food stalls around the outsides of the market. Most have indoor and outdoor seating options, which are a fantastic way to make the most of a warm day.
Sant Antoni Market
Located in the El Raval neighborhood, nearby the Gothic Quarter, Sant Antoni is another fantastic example of markets in Barcelona. This market is housed within a beautifully-restored art deco style gallery, itself quite the site to see and a beautiful example of Barcelona architecture.
Perhaps even less often visited than Santa Caterina Market, Sant Antoni Market is another great example of a local market in Barcelona where you’ll find chefs coming to select the best produce, grandmas doing daily shopping, and more. This is true Barcelona!
Here you’ll find a large selection of meat and fish, as well as other fresh fruits, but you’ll also find a great selection of prepared foods from cities in Spain at food stalls as well. The market is small but very local and absolutely worth a visit if you’re in the area!
Skip the Lines in Barcelona
Don’t forget to book your tickets in advance for Barcelona’s favorite must-see attractions in order to skip the lines!
Santa Caterina Market
Santa Caterina Market (or, Mercat Santa Caterina) is one of Barcelona’s most important and beloved markets.
This is a market the locals come to, and it feels that way – in comparison to the more famous La Boqueria, Santa Caterina in Barcelona is much more well-organized, colorful, and has a greater array of products.
Santa Caterina Market Barcelona is easily recognizable by its wavy, mosaic-tiled roof, which gives it an extremely distinct look both inside and outside the market.
While the market is much older, this new improvement project of the market was completed in 2005.
One of the best ways to visit the market is by spending time exploring the stalls, before selecting one of the market’s small bars or restaurants to dig into some of the market’s best-prepared foods. Most bars are located around the outside of the market and have both indoor and outdoor seating when the weather permits.
Cuines Santa Caterina is a mid-range priced favorite and stands out for its seafood dishes. We loved Bar Joan – this simple and unfussy local establishment with indoor-only seating does traditional Spanish and Catalan tapas perfectly and at a budget price.
Things to Eat at Santa Caterina Market
There is so much to taste and smell in this market that any recommendation is sure to leave out so much! While you can certainly wander and taste test on your own, don’t miss the Tastes and Traditions Santa Caterina Food Tour for a deep dive into all that Santa Caterina Market Barcelona has to offer.
Local Hams and Cheeses
If there is any place to try the famous jamón ibérico (Iberian ham) and the countless other meats and dairy products that Spain is famous for, this is it.
Here you’ll find several vendors dedicated solely to selling these products, ready to give recommendations and sell small portions you can sample while exploring the market.
Also known as croquettes, these small, deep-fried, savory treats are a must-try in Spain, and a must at Santa Caterina Market Barcelona.
A mix of binder like bechamel sauce or potatoes with meat, fish, or sometimes even vegetable filling, these breaded snacks are popular around Spain and Latin America.
Inside Santa Caterina, you’ll find a stall dedicated almost entirely to countless different flavors – get several to sample and choose your favorite!
Location and Hours
Santa Caterina Market is located in the El Born neighborhood near the Gothic Quarter, and within eyesight of the Barcelona Cathedral, not more than a block away. If you’re headed here from another part of the city, the transport hub of Plaça de Catalunya is just about 10 minutes away by foot.
While you can’t miss the market for its distinct architecture and wavy mosaic roof, here’s the exact address:
Av. de Francesc Cambó, 16
08003 Barcelona, Spain
The market is open from around 7:30 am to 3:30 pm every day, though closed entirely on Sundays. Keep in mind that the hours at some of the stalls might differ slightly, though most remain open when the market is open.
Nearby Santa Caterina
Visiting Santa Caterina Market is also a great way to start exploring the rest of the El Born neighborhood. Here you’ll find tons of boutiques, unique art stores, cafes, and more.
Across from the main entrance to the market, you’ll find two Humana vintage clothing stores, which had a great selection of mostly women’s clothing. There are plenty of other boutiques and cafes immediately surrounding the market as well.
Read More: Where to Stay in El Born
Other sites you can’t miss in El Born including the Picasso Museum – with the largest collection of Picasso’s paintings in the world! – and some of Barcelona’s best tapas spots. Make sure to check out these favorite tapas spots:
Best Market in Barcelona
So… why is Santa Caterina Market the best market in Barcelona? It’s simply the best combination of a local market while still being accessible to visitors.
This market isn’t just dedicated to produce or fish or raw ingredients, as many other markets are.
While these types of markets can be interesting for travelers, they’re generally not as experiential as a market with more diverse offerings.
Santa Caterina in Barcelona offers visitors a great market experience: the opportunity to eat their way through the market and sample prepared food while seeing all the fresh ingredients and produce of the region as well.
Here you’ll find a much more diverse offering of foods, including plenty you wouldn’t find at La Boqueria, including local Spanish and Catalan dishes and snacks you won’t want to miss.
Santa Caterina also has a local feel! When visiting Santa Caterina, you may see some travelers snapping pictures and run into a food tour (you CAN NOT SKIP the Taste and Traditions food tour if you want an in-depth experience into all this market has to offer).
But, you won’t be overwhelmed by tourists as you’ll be at La Boqueria. Here you’ll find locals shopping for dinner and chefs chatting with vendors, which gives the market a whole other feel.
Plus, being the next-door neighbor of the Barcelona Cathedral in the heart of Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter, almost every visitor to Barcelona is likely to find themselves nearby anyways. Santa Caterina Market is an easy and unforgettable add to any Barcelona itinerary you won’t want to miss.