La Boquería Market is often described as a “cathedral for the senses”. Believe us, nothing could be more true, and you’ll see exactly why as soon as you get there!
La Boquería: food market and tourist destination
It may seem a little odd that a food market has become one of Barcelona’s biggest tourist attractions – but La Boquería deserves its exalted status! It has its own unique atmosphere – just head in and soak it up.
The market is one of the stops on the Barcelona for Foodies tour, a multi-sensory voyage of discovery which will introduce you to the local cuisine. Click here for more information.
- On the flip side, the Boquería Market has been a victim of its own success, and it sometimes gets so busy that it’s hard to move around, particularly during the summer months!
Two centuries of history
La Boquería has been serving the population of Barcelona for many years. It sprang up more or less organically, as a site where travelling merchants assembled in the first years of the 19th Century.
The first market charter was established in 1826, marking a step towards modernity. Lighting and gas were soon put in place, and in 1914 the cast iron roof structure was erected, and the market took on its current form.
An attractive variety of products
Some of the market’s many stalls have been in the same family for three or four generations. This “family” atmosphere is what gives La Boquería its unique charm, which has been able to withstand the vagueries of time and the mass influx of tourists.
The other major strength of La Boquería is the variety of produce on offer. Barcelona’s inhabitants know that if they’re after an unusual ingredient, a trip to La Boquería is in order. With over 2500 m2 of space and 300 stalls, there’s plenty of choice!
Shopping at La Boquería Market
A huge range of both local and exotic products are on offer. La Boquería is a great place to buy typical local products such as ham, extra-virgin olive oil or dried fruits (although the prices won’t be any cheaper than elsewhere), but also meat, fish and vegetables.
If you’ve rented a holiday apartment, pick up the ingredients for your evening meal – the quality on offer is beyond compare!
Although the market is very busy, it’s a very pleasant place to explore. The magnificent, colourful displays really make you want to try the items on offer! Even if you haven’t planned on shopping, make time to visit the market to soak up the unique ambiance and take some great pictures.
Top tips to save money:
- Head for the inside of the market, rather than buying things from the first stalls you come across. Prices generally get cheaper as you head deeper into La Boquería.
- If you’re visiting for the ambiance and the photo opportunities, go early! If you’re planning on buying, however, head over later on, when you’ll benefit from reduced prices on certain products, such as the market’s famous fresh fruit juices.
Eating at La Boquería Market
Eating at La Boquería is an unusual and authentic culinary experience. You’ll get to taste local products in a unique atmosphere. The hardest part will be choosing where to eat! Some stalls offer a takeaway option, whilst others have a small counter area where you can eat. The most popular ones even have stools.
The best-known of the market’s many bars is, without a doubt, Pinotxo, which has been run by the same personable figure for 60 years – quite possibly a record! It’s mentioned in our article on breakfast in Barcelona.
- La Boquería market is open from Monday to Saturday, 8am – 8.30pm.
- Visit early to avoid the crowds!
- As of 11th April 2015, tour groups of 14 or more are not permitted to enter the market before 3pm on Fridays and Saturdays. The measure was taken by Barcelona city council in an attempt to control the flow of tourists, which had become problematic.
- Keep a close eye on your belongings as you wander through the markets: it’s a favourite haunt of pickpockets, due to the crowd and the likelihood of distractions.
If you enjoy visiting markets, there are plenty of other options in Barcelona: see our top 5.