Touted as being one of the oldest markets in Europe “Els Encants Vells” is15,000 square metres of organised chaos, every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday stall holders begin to occupy the carefully marked out parcels and put their wares out for display.
And what an assortment of wares there are, you can find everything you need and everything you might never need. Do you need a cowbell, bicycle pump or an old couch well if you do then “Els Encants”, is the place to go?
The origin of many of the stall holders goods is somewhat suspect, some found in the rubbish, , it maybe the estate of a deceased person without heirs, some of it may even be stolen. Wherever it comes from there is something for everyone. Popular amongst students looking to furnish their house with a comfortable old couch or fill that ugly space on the wall with an even uglier painting “Els Encants” attracts a crowd as eclectic as the wares on sale.
It is the perfect place to spend a Saturday moring rummaging through the piles of videos, clothes, electrical goods looking for a bargain. Whilst quality antiques are difficult to find at “Els Encants” sometimes there is a bargain just waiting to be found amongst the plethora of goods on offer.
The best thing about wandering around this sprawling market is observing the other shoppers, elderly ladies clutching their bags tightly to their sides so as to dissuade pickpockets, hipsters sorting through piles of clothes and bric-a-brac looking for their latest model dress, 80’s sunglasses or ridiculous hat, the person of dubious character who sidles up to you trying to offload some “genuine” perfume or jewellery and the cries of the gypsy women as they tout their wares “mantas pa sofares”, “2×1” and “muy bonito muy bonito” all adding to the atmosphere of the market.
Soon the market will be moving to a new site and it is sure to lose some of its charm in the move. Get down to “Els Encants” before the move to see a different side of Barcelona, who knows you may even come away with a unique souvenir.
Where: Plaça de les Glories Catalanes, Barcelona
Metro: L1 Glories and L2 encants
When: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday 9am-6pm