The first time I went to Encants I was overwhelmed. The multi – levelled, mirrored structure creates distorted reflections of the stalls and mountains upon mountains of ephemera. Despite looking compellingly futuristic, Encants is reputedly one of the oldest open air flea markets in Europe. Dating from the 14th century, Els Encants has been housed in Glories since 1928 and is still up and running today. The metal canopy (the result of a renovation in 2013) also means the ‘open air’ market can trade in all weathers. This isn’t one of those trendy, or especially pretty, vintage markets but a real old style wade-through-tat-to-find-your-treasure and then spend 20 minutes bartering, to leave with a bargain, kind of place. Be prepared to spend some time rummaging with your elbows out and it will be great.
The market is located on the edge of the center of Barcelona but is easily accessed by metro to Encants (L2) or Glories (L1). There are food stalls on site and the Design Museum of Barcelona (Museu del Disseny) is a couple of minutes walk away, so there’s enough around to make a visit to Encants worth the short journey.