One of the biggest attractions for visitors to Barcelona is that it is a seafaring city. Its shores are bathed by the Mediterranean Sea which, more than a sea, is a culture in itself. The Catalan singer-songwriter Joan Manuel Serrat dedicated to this mythical sea a well-known song, “Mediterranean”, with phrases as beautiful as this:
To your red sunsets
My eyes became accustomed
Like the bend in the road.
I’m a singer, I’m a liar,
I like the game and the wine,
I have the soul of a sailor.
What am I going to do, if I
I was born in the Mediterranean.
It pays tribute to this beautiful sea but also to the people who have been born on its shore and have dedicated their lives: the sailors. The port of Barcelona has also given life to the city for many centuries. And despite the fact that, for some decades, Barcelona lived with its back to the sea at the end of the 20th century, and partly thanks to the 1992 Olympic Games, Barcelona’s port was reborn. And with it was reborn one of the most emblematic traditions of fishing activity: the auction of fish. This is the reason why our post is about Fish auctions and other Mediterranean curiosities.
Barceloneta’s Clock Tower
In the morning and in the afternoon, the boats come to the Fisherman’s Port to unload. It is the time of the auction. The setting has a unique charm. The scene is contemplated by the beautiful Clock Tower, an old harbor lighthouse dating from 1772. Few know that on the four faces of the tower, the piece containing the number seven is actually a window that can be opened. From the side facing Barcelona there is a priceless view of the city, from Port Vell to Collserola.
Rarely has a humble neighborhood had such a beautiful and historic clock because, in addition, it was the coordinate in which the scientist Pierre Méchain took the last measurements for the creation of the metric system.
The Barceloneta fish has become a guarantee of gastronomic quality that many local chefs and internationally renowned chefs value and use it in their restaurants. That’s why the majority of auction buyers are food and catering professionals. In spite of all that, visitors can attend the sessions and there is also a permit for the occasional buyer.
A unique experience in Barcelona
To enjoy the activity in all its splendor and even to go out to sea with one of the boats, Barcelonina & Co offers its private clients a special tour that will turn this history into an unforgettable experience. You have only to inform and decide in advance the departure in order to have time to check availabilities. It is one of the most authentic and unusual activities to carry out in our city, without any doubt. This is a unique experience in Barcelona. There is a second option which allows you to experience the Port atmosphere: a tour around the Barceloneta Area tasting some fish tapas ending at the Port and being part of the fish auction. How does it sound?
The Cofradía de Pescadores dates back to the Middle Ages and was as important to the city as it is attested by a temple like Santa María del Mar. Who has not read the story in the famous novel by Ildefonso Falcones “The cathedral of the sea”? In addition, The Major Festival of Barceloneta (September 25 to October 5 in honor of San Michael, the patron saint of the neighborhood) or the maritime procession of the Patroness of Navigators, the Virgin of Carmen (July 16) are two other excellent occasions Immersion in this seafaring and historical world. You will become a part of the city thanks to this unique experience in Barcelona.
Past, present and future of the Fisherman’s Area
Some years ago, the strong port activity and the urbanization of the area put in danger the continuity of the generations of fishermen and the tradition of the auction. But in the end the recovery is a reality, in part, thanks to the tourist boom. As always there are voices for and against, but the truth is that Barcelona has recovered the fishing activity and many of the children and grandchildren of the old fishermen can continue with the trade in their own city. This work has even been thought of as a possible way out for immigrants looking to settle in Barcelona.
Other fish auctions
More about fish auctions? That Barcelona has a historical”rival”: Vilanova. The traditional sung loudly by fishermen still held in the port of Montgat, a town close to Barcelona, and today there are auctions in Arenys de Mar, Badalona, Blanes, Cambrils Deltebre, El Port de la Selva, L ‘Ametlla de Mar, Ampolla, L’Escala, the Houses of Alcanar, L’Estartit, Llançà, Palamos, Roses, Sant Carles de la Rapita, Sant Feliu, Tarragona and Torredembarra. You do not feel the smell of sea and fish? Well, do not think twice. A day of fishing and a good dinner to finish the day at sea. As always, with Barcelonina.