They say a city’s markets are a true reflection of its culture.
If this really is the case, then you couldn’t get a better taste of Barcelona than by visiting its biggest flea-market — the Els Encants Vells or the ‘Old Charms Fair’. The spectacular, triangular zinc roof of the modernist structure is sure to catch your eye if you drive by on the Plaza Glories in the city’s Sant Marti district, but stopping for an afternoon’s visit is a must-do on any Barcelona trip.
Over 500 vendors are operating stalls in this multi-level market where you’ll find everything from antique furniture, to books, to quirky souvenirs, curios and trinkets to carry back home. The eclectic displays will keep you absorbed for a good couple of hours at least.
The original ‘Old Charms’ dates back to the 14th century and is the oldest flea-market in Europe. The sales begin early in the morning around 8 am, and the stalls are doing brisk business till sunset. Public auctions are held on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings, and even if you’re not bidding they make for an interesting spectacle.
The three-storey market is a hub for the locals and it’s always buzzing with activity, but whatever your fancy settles on, remember that bargaining is the order of the day.