Sant Antoni

One Of Barcelona's Quietest City Centre Neighbourhoods

Nestled between El Raval, Poble Sec and the Esquerra de l'Eixample, Sant Antoni is one of the least known neighbourhoods in central Barcelona.

It takes its name from the church of Saint Anthony that used to stand just outside one of the gates in the Barcelona city walls that led into El Raval.

This was one of medieval Barcelona's busiest gates as the road led out to Sants, Esplugues and Martorell before finally arriving in Fraga in Aragón.

However, the centre of the neighbourhood is its iconic market - El Mercat de Sant Antoni - which was built by Antoni Rovira i Trias between 1872 and 1882 and is currently undergoing renovation.


It is one of Barcelona's liveliest markets and on Sundays the area hosts an antiques and bric-a-brac market which is not only a centre for adults.

This is where children from all over Barcelona complete their card collections so you will see huddles of kids going through the 'Got, Got, Not Got' process in Catalan.

The make up of the neighbourhood came about as a result of the Universal Exposition in Barcelona in 1929 when the area around Paral.lel and Gran Via at the foot of Montjuïc was fully urbanised.

It was at this time that the development of old road that left the city gates began and to this day, along with the market, Avinguda Mistral is the social and commercial spine of Sant Antoni.

Traditionally, a working class neighbourhood some gentrification has taken place since the 1980s but this remains on of Barcelona's quietest and laid back city centre areas.

Sant Antoni is also home to some excellent bars, one of the best known of which is Els Tres Tombs right next to the market.

The bar takes its name from one of the barri's major festivals, which is celebrated on January 17 when horse and cart contraptions make a circuit of the neighbourhood three times - tres tombs.

Although this may not sound very exciting, I can assure you that that the celebration of the Tres Tombs is one of the most touching family festivals in Barcelona.

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