I love thrifting new clothes and housewares back home, so I was super excited to see what it would be like in a new country. Thrifting has become a relaxing pastime for me, like an escape from everything going on and it also gives me a purpose for getting out of the house. Barcelona is known for its careful recycling and sustainability measures, so I was really interested in what the thrift-shopping culture would be like. These are some of the places I went to and what I experienced when shopping here.
1. Encants Market
The Encants Market (Mercat dels Encants) was the first second-hand place I went to in Barcelona. It’s one of the most popular markets, and it’s typically open four days a week. I actually went here to find a used product we were redesigning for a school project. Little to nothing is priced, and you kind of have to barter with the stall owners to come down to a fair price. It might sound intimidating, but it was also interesting to experience. There are so many cool antiques and knick-knacks; you’ll find something for sure.
2. Vintage Shops down Carrer Dels Tallers
The next places I went to were two vintage shops right off La Rambla on Carrer Dels Tallers. I was told this street was known for its vintage shops. One place was called Flamingos Vintage and the other was El Indio Vintage. Both had their own energy, but the one thing in common was that you weighed your clothing item to get the price. For example, a pair of Levi’s Jeans might be €30 per kilogram. I don’t know if that’s a normal thing elsewhere, but it was new to me! You had no idea how much you’d be spending until you were ready to purchase and weigh it. While scary (at least for someone who does not spend much), it might be thrilling for others. If you want some vintage goods, definitely check this street out because there are so many more vintage stores I didn’t get the chance to go into.
3. The Flea Market Barcelona
Barcelona also has flea markets throughout the city. During one weekend, we went to The Flea Market Barcelona, which has a bunch of independent sellers with a range of clothing, jewelry, accessories, and more. Some sellers are more vintage-focused (with higher prices), and others have bins of €1 clothes you’ll have to pick through. It was a really lively scene and I loved the experience. The flea markets aren’t always on a regular basis, so look at their schedules for when they pop up.
Humana has been my favorite place to go to–probably because it’s most similar to my typical thrifting experience. Humana is a chain of second-hand clothing stores around the city, and I would equate it to Goodwill in the United States. But imagine the clothes aren’t picked over. And there aren’t t-shirts from nearby high schools, they’re playing a really good playlist, almost all the racks are 50% off, and they have a Humana Vintage store only a minute away from the regular store. Whether you know your style or are still exploring, there will be something to get when you go.
I had a lot of fun going to the shops and experiencing the different patterns of how people sell used clothes and items in an entirely new environment. While here in Barcelona, it allows me to have a place to go while just casually walking around the city, and I quite enjoy just roaming around looking for different shops. There are so many more antique stores, thrift shops, and weekend markets that I didn’t mention and would love to keep exploring. Whether you enjoy thrifting or not, I would highly recommend getting lost and looking for new finds while you’re here!
Written by: Mason, Fall 2023 ELISAVA student from Kansas State University