After almost a decade of work and 80 million euros worth of investment, the Mercat de Sant Antoni has finally reopened its doors, much to the excitement of locals. The renovated market, an iconic building within Barcelona, is almost its own small city. It totals an area of 55,388 square metres, which are distributed over five floors, four of which are underground.
This architectural wonder, originally built between 1879 and 1882 by the architect Antoni Rovira i Trias, is entering a new stage of its life under renovators from the architectural firm of Ravetllat Ribas, who have readapted it with a new modern twist. Below we will discuss the exciting developments you can look forward to on your visit to the newest market in Barcelona.
Fewer stalls, but larger
The new market will have a total of 235 different establishments, which is slightly less than previously, however, allowing more space in total with widened corridors and store spaces. In the very heart of the market you will now find 52 fresh produce stalls, which will include the likes of fresh fruits, vegetables, fish and meats amongst other things. Another 105 non-food market stalls will also be located in the interior, in the outer section, while the Sunday book market will be located fully outdoors.
You can also look forward to long visiting hours with the fresh produce market open from Monday to Saturday, 8am to 8pm, the non-food market on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 8am to 8.30pm, and the Sunday book market – as indicated –open on Sundays.
Retractable canopies for Sunday
The famous Sunday market will be a permanent home for booksellers, selling books, postcards, stamps and trinkets alike. Running along the outer perimeters of the market, you will be able to find 78 stalls under their new modern retractable canopies, installed in the revamp to replace the old awnings.
Perhaps two of the most exciting features to come from the renovation are the new supermarket and gym that are now installed in the market’s basement floors.
The supermarket chain Lidl has announced its plans to make this new branch of their store the most emblematic in Barcelona. Located on the first underground floor of the market, the new store is spacious coming in at an area of 1300 square metres. The store is also doing its part to be eco-friendly, installing a 5-metre high plant wall at the entrance in a bid to help balance its CO2 footprint. As well as this, they have cleverly installed kinetic flooring, meaning customers help to generate electricity for the store simply by walking around it. The other new tenant, finished around autumn 2018, is a branch of the low cost gym Duet Fit.
The supermarket and gym are a first for this kind of market place, which will be a welcome addition for the neighbourhood.
An outdoor museum
The Mercat de Sant Antoni has always been historically important in Barcelona, having been built on the remnants of the fortress of Sant Antoni, part of the defensive system of the ancient medieval city. Aiming to retain the ancient historical importance of the market, the renovators have left parts of it as an open-air museum. Not only will the medieval wall from the ancient city of Barcelona be on view, but during the renovations parts of the fortress were able to be recovered in surprisingly good condition and will also be on display.
Additionally, you will be able to see the remains of the legendary Roman road Via Augusta, with plans to make it into a new museum space as part of the Museu d’Història de Barcelona.
For the neighbourhood
One of the main goals when renovating the Mercat de Sant Antoni has been to make sure the space is something that contributes to the neighbourhood. Whilst retaining the beautiful architecture and characteristics of the old market, the new market is a space where the local community can meet to drink, chat, eat and much more.
So, what are you waiting for? Go down and visit the new Mercat de Sant Antoni and experience all it has to offer!
Trencadís may not be a word that you’re not familiar with, but if you’ve visited Barcelona before, you will certainly have seen it around you in the streets, in buildings, in parks, in souvenir shops… These mosaics are an explosion of colour, each little piece uniquely different in shape, pattern and colour scheme, yet when pieced together they come and form one cohesive and magnificent artwork. Not to mention, Trencadís is absolutely captivating when glittering under the Barcelona sun, as the light bounces off the tiles and brings the vibrant colours to life. It is no wonder that this technique has become synonymous with Mediterranean culture and design.
What is Trencadís?
Trencadís is a Catalan term that literally means “chopped” and is the name for this artistic method that was popularised in 20th century Catalan modernism by artists like Antoni Gaudí and Josep Maria Jujol, Trencadís is a mosaic-like effect, achieved by cementing together random shards and pieces of broken chinaware, piece by piece like a jigsaw. Sometimes other materials are used, like glass, buttons or shells. In French, this technique is known as “pique assiette”, which translates to “plate thief”, perhaps referring to the use of recycled or “scrounged” materials – in other words, materials that ceramic factories often discarded.
What is the origin of the Trencadís?
Well, legend has it that Gaudí was visiting the ceramics workshop of Lluis Bru, and when he saw how tediously slow he was putting the pieces together, the impatient Gaudí simply grabbed a tile, shattered it into a hundred pieces on the ground, and stuck them on by the fistful, exclaiming “We must do it like this or we’ll never finish!”. Whether or not the story is true, it is true that the Catalan architect certainly used the innovative craft extensively and transformed it into one of his most signature techniques, which he applied in many of his architectural creations in Barcelona.
Where can I find Trencadís in Barcelona?
One of the most famous examples of Trencadís is brought to life, in the form of the world-famous mosaic, affectionately known as “El Drac” that majestically lazes on the steps in Park Güell. Also, the pavilion seating area in Park Güell, where you can get a panoramic view of Barcelona, is adorned in multi-coloured mosaic tiles, and is a popular photography point for visitors of Barcelona. Throughout the park you’ll find the distinctive artform of Trencadís-covered spheres, columns, and buildings too. The colors that predominate in the work are blue, green and yellow, which for Gaudí symbolized Faith, Hope and Charity.
One of Gaudí’s other Trencadís masterpieces is Casa Batlló on Passeig de Gràcia, which when illuminated during the nighttime almost comes alive with magic, glowing and shimmering in the dark. Even the stone benches that line the luxurious shops on Passeig de Gràcia are covered in the signature mosaic tiles.
In Sant Pau, mosaics were used everywhere to introduce floral motives into the hospital, and can be found in murals, on the ceilings, floors and walls. On the floor of Parròquia de Sant Pacià, a geometric design of marble mosaic lies on the floor, created by a young Gaudí.
With Trencadís found on many different architectural creations in Barcelona, just keep your eyes peeled while wandering around, and you’re sure to stumble upon another mosaic-covered beauty. Did you find any that we missed out? Let us know!
Visiting an English cinemas in Barcelona may just be the perfect downtime activity during your trip. As much as we love exploring the city, between sightseeing, tapas bar-hopping, or running all around Barcelona, it can be nice to rest your feet, sit back and relax while watching a film. Or perhaps there just so happens to be a rainy day during your trip (whilst it is rare in Barcelona but believe it or not, it does happen!!), you may be looking to stay dry indoors while still being semi-productive with your time. Or perhaps you so happen to be here in town while your favourite blockbuster film is about to be released.
You may be surprised to hear that we have English cinemas in Barcelona! Indeed most Western films, whether shown on television or on the silver screen, are dubbed over with Spanish or Catalan voiceovers – which could perhaps explain why generally speaking our English isn’t the best, as we never really get exposed to the language. But for those looking to hunt down the ‘V.O.’ ‘versión original’ of Western films, there are a handful of places you can check out. Keep reading for our recommended list of English cinemas in Barcelona!
These two sister cinemas are located right next to each other on the ever-popular Carrer Verdi in Gràcia, with many restaurants and cafes nearby, perfect for a post-cinema film discussion over a glass of wine and some tapas. They show many independent “art house” films in the language they were originally produced sobra including English and other languages.
Carrer de Verdi, 32, 08012 Barcelona
Carrer de Torrijos, 49, 08012 Barcelona
This cinema is located right near the beach on La Vila Olímpica del Poblenou, in El Centre de la Vila shopping mall. It’s well equipped with over 15 screens and it is perfect for having dinner on the beach after a film.
Calling all the cinephiles! If you’ve got a whole day to spare, why not head to watch films back-to-back at this cinema? You’ll definitely be getting the most bang for your buck with its unique pricing method, which charges by the day.
This modern and comfortable cinema is located in the upper part of the city and shows all the most popular films in their original language, with a full food bar for the essential snacks and drinks during the film.
Discover the best museums in Barcelona! No matter where you walk, it’s easy to see that art, culture and architecture form such a huge part in Barcelona’s cultural identity. It’s therefore no surprise that Barcelona is home to a dizzying number of museums, spanning a wide range of topics. For art, museums in Barcelona pay homage to some of the biggest names in art history, like Picasso, Joan Miró, Antonio Tàpies, and also to lesser-known modern day artists; styles ranging from contemporary to Modernism; exhibitions can be of massive large-scale productions of up to a hundred pieces shipped from all over the world, or just a smaller exhibition of a dozen carefully curated pieces. In the best museums in Barcelona, there’s a whole treasure trove of knowledge and culture waiting for you to delve into… Keep reading for our suggestions of best museums in Barcelona.
National Museum of Art of Catalonia (MNAC) Located in Montjuïc Palace, MNAC covers Catalan art from the 10th to the 20th century, has exhibitions of art from the Romanesque, Baroque, Renaissance, and Art Nouveau, amongst others. Just the building itself is a sight that will inspire – no wonder it is considered one of the best museums in Barcelona.
Opened in 1963, this museum houses one of the most extensive collections of artworks by the 20th-century Spanish artist, and also reveals his deep intimate relationship with Barcelona, one that carried on until his death.
One of the best museums in Barcelona, it’s dedicated to Catalan artist and master of Surrealism – Joan Miró. The impressive collection of his work includes paintings, drawings, and sculptures of around a thousand pieces.
Born in Barcelona, Antoni Tàpies created abstract and imaginative contemporary art with a social message. Here you can view an extensive collection of the Catalan painter’s work during his formative years.
Travel through time and see how Catalonia’s heritage has changed, from back in the Stone Ages to the modern day. As you explore the exhibition, you’ll walk through the history narrative of the city too.
With over 20,000 square meters, here you can explore one of the world’s most ancient civilizations, back to the mystical time of grand pharaohs, mummies and jewels.
Gaudí House Museum Of course, it’s impossible not to mention Gaudí, one of the greatest and most well known names in Spanish culture. Walk down any corner of the city and you will see his artistic influence spread everywhere, from lampposts, to buildings, to floor tiles, to cathedrals… Come here to where the famous architect and designer called home, and for an intimate glance into his life and works.
Have you been to any of the above museums before? Which do you personally think are the best museums in Barcelona? Let us know!
Are you willing to find Street Art in Barcelona? Barcelona is certainly famous for its contemporary arts, especially modern street art. It is prolific throughout the city whether it’s illegal graffiti or commissioned pieces by some of the city’s famous artists like El Pez, who now tours the world painting large murals in every continent.
It’s not just spray-paint art though. Today’s street art uses anything and everything to display a message or communicate a feeling. The most common forms of Barcelona’s Street Art are just as likely to be mosaics or stencils and some even use recycled materials collected from the street’s refuse.
It changes every night too! The best place to view some of the best and more historic street art pieces on your Barcelona trip are actually on shop shutters. But they are normally only visible at night after the shops shut, or on a Sunday. Below we have suggested some areas in the city where you will see major pieces of Barcelona’s Street Art work… maybe even in action!
Barcelona Street Art in El Raval
If you take a trek through this district, Barcelona’s Street Art is everywhere. A good place to start is the MACBA – the Barcelona Contemporary Museum of Modern Art – but no need to go inside, just scout around the surrounding area to see really fantastic pieces of work! There are also a lot of older pieces as you move deeper into the Raval district.
Street Art in Jardins de les Tres Xemeneies
Easy to find, just head to the where you see the 3 big chimneys breaking the skyline on Avinguda del Paral-lel . Art creation is actually encouraged here, so you are allowed to paint, so you should be able to see and talk with some of the artists as they paint. Head further down Paral-lel where it meets Plaça de les Drassanes, you will find another public park space called Jardin Walter Benjamin. Artists can paint legally here as well and there are always new and interesting murals on display.
Street Art The Gothic & Born Quarters
Start at Carrer Ataulf (with Carrer Templars) and then head into Carrer Milans. By just walking along these two streets alone, you could potentially take hours to see all the art within them. There are also some old treasures by legendary Barcelona Street Artists El Pez, Kram & Bombzone. The Born is nearby. Just cross Via Laietana and head down to Carrer de l’Argenteria. The art is not only on the street, visit some of the local galleries that exhibit and sell work by Barcelona’s street artists.
Street Art Walking Tour
There is even a world famous Barcelona Street art walking tour – the Barcelona Street Style Tour. It has reviews by virtually every newspaper culture section on the planet. We highly recommend it! Also it’s free, but if you feel the tour gave good value, you can always donate when it ends. You would expect to pay about €8-10 for any informative and enjoyable walking tour. They even have an additional bicycle tour that takes you to Poble-Nou, where some of the city’s largest murals are.
Barcelona’s Street Art brings many visitors and artists to the city every year. To make your stay more enjoyable, why not see our selection of holiday rental apartments in the areas mentioned above to be right in the middle of all the action.
Today Casa Vicens open its doors to the public for the first time in its 130-year history. The opening is one year over schedule due to some painstaking restoration work, but definitely worth the wait.
Casa Vicens, the first home designed by Gaudí
The building is the first home designed by the great Modernist architect Antoni Gaudí. The house was finished in 1885 and has always been a family home or summer house. It was commissioned for a local merchant Manel Vicens i Montaner. After he passed away, his widow sold it to the Jover family in 1899 and they resided in it, handing it down the family through the years.
In 2014 Casa Vicens was bought by MoraBanc & Amura Capital investing €4 million to bring the building back to its former glory. The restoration process began in 2015 and fully conserves all the original features and rooms. The figure for the actual purchase of the building is undisclosed.
Discover Casa Vicens
The new museum will pay homage to the famed architect and visitors will also learn more about Gaudí’s background; his life before designing Casa Vicens, his intellectual influences and his inspiration both during and after his studies.
The ceramic glaze brickwork on the exterior is influenced by Arabic and Medieval styles, also incorporating Gaudí’s personal decorative and symbolic themes. These were only discovered after removing a layer of white paint used to cover some of the original decoration and papiermache artwork.
The house retains a gallery, dining room and a smoking room which adjoin the gardens and newly installed side entrance all on the ground floor. The main façade features the reconstruction of the original fountain with its circular base for collecting the water, a main body and metal structure. As a result of various works over the years, the whole piece had disappeared, so the reconstruction of the fountain is based on photographs.
The first floor of Casa Vicens is home to a permanent collection of Gaudí’s papers where visitors can discover several original pieces of his thoughts on architecture. Anyone who knows Gaudí’s work will be aware that he rarely wrote about his opinions on architecture and design, so these are special treats for enthusiasts indeed.
There is also a live audiovisual projection about the architect, and depending on what time of year, there will be temporary exhibtions and other activities dedicated to different parts of Gaudí’s life and work. Apart from Gaudí’s social, cultural and artistic context, visitors will be able to find out more about his projects prior to building this house – such as school projects, his city projects, religious projects and his first building and furniture designs.
Casa Vicens is a Unesco World Heritage Site, named among other works he designed such as the Sagrada Familia, Casa Batlló, La Pedrera, Park Güell, Palau Güell, Palau de la Música and Hospital de Sant Pau. It is located in the western part Gràcia and it is expected that approximately 150,000 people will visit the museum every year.
f you spend 4 or 5 days in Barcelona you can also plan several Barcelona day trips that you will love, for example a day out in Sitges.
Located just a short way outside Barcelona, to the west and taking a 40-minute journey on the local rail service either from Franca, Sants or Passeig de Gràcia rail stations, is the romantic and historic village of Sitges, a perfect destination for any Barcelona day trip.
This Barcelona day trip couldn’t be easier to do. It will cost approximately €9 Euro (day return) on the train, usually 4 every hour, dropping visitors off at one of the most beautiful and fabled villages situated on the Catalunya’s Costa Dorada. Simply alight and stroll into the town from Sitges rail station, the stunning beaches are not too far away. There is so much history here, so where do you start?
Foremost, Sitges is famous as a party town. The first ever Pacha nightclub in the world – created 10 years before Ibiza – was founded here. But let’s not forget it’s annual Carnaval – one of the biggest in the world – its frequent fiestas, major film festival or the Corpus Christi.
Going even further back in time, the Romans occupied the village and it was a major point of trade and festival. In fact, according to the Museu de Sitges, “since ancient times, the site of Sitges has been associated with a small Roman town mentioned in classical sources called Subur.” Basically after the centurions were paid in salt (from Las Salinas in Ibiza) they took a short cruise to Sitges to spend their wages in true soldier fashion.
Pretty much, this is still what happens today, and Sitges now occupies an even more special place on the global map – the pink map to be precise. Best described as poly-sexual, Sitges is probably the world’s number one destination for the LGBT community.
The most famous street is Carrer del Pecat (Sin Street) as it is known here. Its real name is Carrer Primer de Maig de 1838, and it is here where artists such as Dali and Picasso used to meet and hang out in their younger years during the 1960’s.
At the bottom of Carrer del Pecat is the beach, one of 17. This one is called playa de la Ribera and home to El Chiringuito… quite literally the first ever chiringuito built in Spain. Turn to the right and walk up the beachfront a little way and you will come to a fine beachfront restaurant called Pic Nic. Perfect for a fresh fish lunch and to pick at some tapas specialties. Pulpo Gallega, sepia, patatas bravas and fresh bread with tomàquet are always on the menu and this selection of dishes should cost about €25 per person.
After the sustenance, the energy kicks in! Use your time wisely on this Barcelona day trip and see some of the sights. Follow the path down to the bottom of the church and the old town. Take the steps up to the old quarter and you will find the magnificent church – dedicated to the town’s patron saints, Sant Bartomeu and Santa Tecla, or drop into the recently refurbished Cau Ferrat Museum.
A suggested route for this day trip is to follow in footsteps of Sitges’ fanciful fore father, Modernist artist and most beloved Santiago Rusiñol. Enjoy a healthy stroll high above Playa Sant Sebastian to marvel at the graveyard and viewpoint that looks down to Port Aiguadolce.
The rest of my day maybe spent sampling the artisanal wares of the many shops that Sitges has hidden down its back streets, with each and every one unashamedly paying homage to Sitges’ mix of maritime and melancholic glamour. Check out the numerous interior design, curiosity and antique shops, carelessly scattered between the village’s many cobbled streets.
Before you end your Barcelona day trip and make your back to the city, stop to ‘whet your whistle’ at the locals favourite watering hole, El Cable, on Carrer Barcelona with Carrer Santiago Rusiñol. The libations here are almost as famous as the town’s fearsome film festival.
Whatever your thoughts are on this historic hideaway during your Barcelona day trip, one thing’s for certain – you’ll be sure to wave it goodbye, many times again. For your stay in Barcelona, please do visit our page to see a great selection of fine apartments.
La Mercè 2017 is the main event on Barcelona’s festival agenda, uniting all of its neighbourhoods and serving as the city’s Festa Major. This year it aims to extend further throughout the city by adding even more new venues and activities.
Every year, Barcelona invites a city from around the world to jointly celebrate the festival. This year Icelandic capital Reykjavik has been invited to be this year’s special guest city and will be honoured throughout La Mercè.
Overall, it is a religious festival that has been celebrated since the Middle Ages and observes the holy feast day of Our Lady of Mercy. It is the biggest weeklong festival in the city and an age-old tradition, but there are very up-to-date activity items as well, such as specialty markets, art displays and musical performances for example.
Gegants & Capgrossos – La Mercè 2017
Catalunya has a great tradition for processions of giants or bigheads, which are tall, hollow structures with very large papier-mâché heads, each with a unique identity and character. They are carried on top of people’s shoulders in a parade as they dance and run at the crowds. Also, there are the Bestiari – which are figures of medieval, folkloric creatures. This parade happens on the first day of the La Mercé celebrations.
Gegants Procession, September 22, Palau de la Virreina on La Rambla, 99, at 19:00h
The Correfoc – La Mercè 2017
The famous fire run is always on September 24 – the actual saint’s day for La Mercé. Performers dressed as devils and fiery dragons dance in a long procession through the city. Hordes of “diables” hoist pitchforks, or forquilles, above their heads, with spinning fireworks attached that spray in all directions. If you’re going to get a close-up photograph, then protective clothing is advised. There is also an early fire run for children.
Correfoc (Adults), September 23, Via Laietana at 20:15h
Correfoc (Children) September 23, Via Laietana at 18:30h
Castellers – La Mercè 2017
The Catalans are very good at building human structures. In fact he last few world records – 10 persons high – have been have been set in the region. Participants, or Catsellers, climb on top of each other, interlocked into a delicate balancing act to get people to reach into the sky as far as possible. The human tower is supported by a large number of people at the bottom, and then it’s a race to reach the highest point in strict formation before the structure breaks.
Human Towers, September 23, Plaça de Sant Jaume at 11:30h
Human Towers, September 23, Plaça de Sant Jaume at 12:30h
Barcelona Acció Musical has been running for over 20 years and hosts more contemporary rock and pop music concerts. It runs in parallel to the main festival, and as Reykjavik is the partner city for this year’s La Mercé, then a contingent of its artists will perform, as well as national and internal artists. Concerts usually take place at Plaza Real, Plaza Catalunya and at the MACBA, among many other intimate places and open-air venues around the city.
BAM, September 22-25, various venues http://lameva.barcelona.cat/bam/en
Piromusical – La Mercè 2017
This is a critically acclaimed, professional fireworks display that takes place on the last night of La Mercè 2017 on Avinguda reina Maria Cristina. You need to arrive early for the big finale, as thousands of people gather to watch this spectacular show.
Check the official agenda for more firework displays and digital light mapping events throughout the festival, at http://lameva.barcelona.cat/merce/en.
Piromusical, September 25, Avinguda de Reina Maria Cristina (Plaça Espanya) at 22:00h
The La Mercè Festival is a great way to see Barcelona at its best. Your stay could be much more convenient with your own apartment. Check our website for an excellent selection of short-term holiday rentals so that your stay in the city is as comfortable as possible.