In the North-Eastern part of Barcelona, just next to Glòries metro station, the biggest and historic flea market of the city opens its doors every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 9h to 20h. Its called Els Encants (The Charms) and its origins date back to the Middle Ages.
Since 1928, Els Encants Vells were placed on the north of Glòries Square, but they have a brand new location after the restructuring of the area. A new modern space was built to give the stalls better facilities and to make the visit more attractive to buyers and other visitors. The main feature of the new space is the spectacular mirrored roof, which is in itself worth a visit. The open air building is divided in different levels with sidewalks and permanent stalls on each side. On the ground floor, a big square accommodates the cheapest bargains stalls, which are placed on the floor and, on the top floor, there’s the restaurant and bars area.
What can you buy in Els Encants?
Well, the answer to that question could very well be: anything. Clothes, household goods and furnishings, electronic devices, electrical appliances, decorative goods, antiques, mattresses, old cassettes, bicycles, school materials,… everything at very cheap prices. Most goods are second hand items and that’s is why you can buy clothes and shoes for 8€, 5€ or even 1€ at the second hand piles of clothes. The Flea Market is also a place for haggling. If you like discussing prices, Els Encants is a bazaar to do it.
Visiting a city’s flea market is a way to get in touch with its people and get the pulse of the city. There, you will find gipsies selling some goods you don’t want to know where they come from, other long time salesmen and women and, among the buyers, some of them might be sporadic visitors, but most of them are common people who go there looking for bargains, antiques to refurbish and some regular buyers, who take advantage of the cheap prices or like buying second hand goods, although second-hand culture is not very popular in Barcelona.
But that might be changing, since some years ago, a tendency for second hand and vintage markets have been growing among young people and nowadays you can find smaller flea markets in different locations, specially in small squares of the Gothic Quarter, Born and Raval.