La Boqueria Market, Barcelona - A Foodie's Paradise
This is one of the most emblematic food markets in the world. Well deserved, I'd say. When walking down the vibrant La Ramblas boulevard from Plaça de Catalunya, you can easily spot the market on the left hand side. Welcoming you from the entrance are a rainbow selection of fruits, followed by tempting chocolate stalls, fresh seafood, different spices, olives, hams, and what not as you walk along the isles. If you're hungry (you'd better be), this is the perfect place to try some fresh tapas and a local beer or cava.
The History of
La Boqueria Market
The markets origin start as back as the 12th century, when producers from around the city would gather outside the Ciutat Vella (old town) and sell their goods to locals. By setting their stalls just outside the city walls, they were exempted to pay the import tax that was due inside the city. The producers were mostly selling meat, that is where its name comes from. Boc means goat in Catalan and was the most popular meat sold in those times. At first it was an open air market, but after the 1835 demonstrations, the market burned down and had to be rebuilt in the spot where it now stands. Shortly after, a metal rooftop was added and the stalls were divided according to the products they were selling.
The sellers offering their products here today are mostly fourth-generation La Boqueria merchants. The long tradition of the market and the new merchants coming with fresh ideas keep it exciting and dynamically evolving. Evolving from a meat only market, today there is barely any food in Spain that cannot be found here.
La Boqueria Market - Tips for a Great Experience
- It can get pretty crowded, so try to arrive there early in the morning, avoid the weekends and watch your belongings while shopping. La Boqueria is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m (last bar/restaurant orders are generally at 8:15).
- The front shops are a bit more expensive, due to their exposure and higher rents. Walk a bit to find the same fresh products, at a friendlier price.
- The tapas bars inside the market sell one of the freshest dishes in Barcelona. Keep in mind that most of the times there's a line to occupy a place at the bar. In case you're "hangry" buy the little cones filled with freshly shaved salamis or fried seafood before standing in line.
- There are dozens of flavours of fresh juices to pick from. They are squeezed in the morning and kept on ice. Do remember to avoid the entrance of the market and head into the centre for less-touristy prices.
- The famous Spanish ham - Jamón ibérico, can be found at a great price in several stalls. Get yours to go and avoid paying a high amount at the tapas bars across the city.
- If you want to eat where Woodie Allen ate, head over to Bar Pinotxo. Juanito, the owner, has worked here for more than 50 years, serving some of the best and most typical Catalan food. Chickpeas and blood sausage is a locals' favourite.
- Chocolate lovers should head to Escriba Chocolate.
The Best markets in Barcelona
The cosmopolitan capital of the Catalonia region is filled with interesting markets, ready to be explored. Are you interested in food? art? flowers? or maybe antiques? Barcelona has something to please any taste. Here are some of locals' favourite markets:
If you are looking for a less crowded alternative to La Boqueria market, then this is it. The stalls inside Mercat de San Antoni are filled with vegetables, fruits and meat, but on Sundays it features a beautiful second hand market. You can also grab a bite or a coffee at one of the places inside the market.
This market is like a treasure for all the flea lovers out there. It is the largest and most well-known flea market, offering everything, from books to vintage clothing and collectibles. For a complete experience, attend one of the antique auctions held on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
What a flower paradise this is! Located close to Sagrada Familia, the market welcomes you with amazing smells and colors. Curious travellers and serious gardeners alike, gather here to admire the beautiful array of flowers.
Looking for art? This is the place to be, as local artists gather in the weekends to display their works and mingle. Have your portrait or caricature drawn, for a precious memory.
There is something so appealing in visiting a market. It might be the sights and sounds, the hustle and bustle, the thrill of bargaining, the objects you would never usually find, the smell of the freshest food. If you find yourself in Barcelona don't miss this experience. Ready to surprise your senses?