The Herbal del Rei or Herbolari del Rei in Spanish, is a stunning gem
of a herb shop found hidden in the stone side streets of the ancient Gothic district of Barcelona – walking distance from La Rambla. It is located thru a side passage near to the Royal Square / Plaza Real in the Street of Glass # 1. or Carrer del Vidre, 1, 08002 or through the street Carrer de Ferran. It was apparently created in 1818 and moved to its present location in 1823, and is dedicated to the sale of medicinal plants and natural products. As one of the oldest shops in Barcelona, thankfully it has been declared a site of Culture and Local Interest and hopefully it will remain open for more people to visit and enjoy.
Inside the herb shop is beautiful and needs to be experienced in person for the full impression ( but you can also click on the pictures for a larger view). Decoration is Elizabethan style, dating back to 1857 – with a glass roof, old spanish wooden hand painted drawers housing ancient secrets, arched wood panels, statues, oil paintings and lovely old watercolors; in the center of the shop is a marble fountain (apparently once used for preserving leeches) and beautiful hand painted tiles of medicinal plants can be found tucked away throughout the shop and then of course there are the herbal medicines stored inside glass shelves. An assortment of Catalan herbal products, spices, dried herbs, beeswax candles, teas, licorice and other natural products are found filling every inch of the shop.
Trinidad Sabatés is the shop owner, who
was honored as a master on Medicinal plants by the Generalitat de Catalunya. When visiting we were fortunate to meet both Trinidad and her husband, who spoke more english and offered a lengthy commentary in both english and catalan (thankfully I had a translator) on the history of the shop and herbal medicine and the unfortunate tight regulations of herbal medicines in Spain.
If you are planning to visit- confirm their business hours first – (Currently they are only open from Tuesday to Friday from 4 pm to 8 pm and on Saturday from 10 am to 8 pm) and double check the address (google maps) – as it took 3 separate trips to the area to discover the actual address and then find the shop open (the store hours, shop name and address seem only to be located on the inside of the doors and shutters, only visible when the shop is actually open)… but that is the fun of discovering new places in a new country. Herbolari del Rei is also on facebook and offers periodic classes and tours through the historical enchanting shop – unfortunately the tours are only in Catalan or Spanish- so bring a spanish friend like I did!