Any foodie visiting Spain should add one item to their “to do” list: visit the Boqueria market in Barcelona! There’s no shortage of excellent food markets all around Spain, but the Boqueria stands out even among the stiff competition.
With its privileged location right on Las Ramblas, one of the most famous and iconic streets in the Catalan capital, La Boqueria fascinates and enchants visitors and locals alike.
Just step in through the impressive stained-glass and wrought iron entryway. A treasure trove of culinary delights awaits you at the Boqueria market in Barcelona.
The history of the Boqueria market in Barcelona
The Boqueria market shows up for the first time in 1217. It’s mentioned as a place where people gathered to sell meat. But this didn’t look like the grand covered market you can visit today. Instead, it was just a few tables and an unofficial setup.
It’s had a few different names over the years. In 1470, it appears as the Mercadi Bornet, and over the centuries became Mercat de la Palla (the straw market) by 1794.
In 1826, the market becomes recognized legally, although construction on the market structure started quite a bit later in 1840. This structure finally opened in 1853. The beautiful wrought iron design came from Mas Vilá, the architect who headed the project.
The name “Boqueria”, that it holds today, probably comes from “boc”, the Catalan word for “goat”. So, a “boqueria” means the place you sell “boc”. That’s why historians think some of the original vendors sold goat meat here.
Oh, but that’s not the only name it has. Officially, it’s the Mercat de Sant Josep. The site the market stands on used to be a convent dedicated to Saint Josep (or Joseph, as you probably know him).
Visiting the Boqueria Market in Barcelona Today
Today, you can stop by over 300 different stalls at the Boqueria market! These stalls sell everything from everyday fruit and veg to exotic spice from faraway shores to souvenirs for visitors.
Simply walking through the market provides an experience for all your senses. The captivating sights and smells that await you inside are sure to tempt your tastebuds. Clever stall-holders have started selling dishes to go, created with the freshest ingredients from the market itself.
You can also eat at a few restaurants permanently located inside the Boqueria. The two most famous are El Quim de la Boqueria and Pinotxo Bar. Both serve excellent local tapas. See if you can grab a space at the bar and order whatever’s freshest.
If you’d love to try your hand at cooking some Spanish specialties yourself, the Boqueria provides the perfect stop to buy top-quality local ingredients. You can also find international food stalls here, with products that are hard to find at other locations in the city.
One more thing to add – visiting the Boqueria market in Barcelona is totally free! You can simply walk in and browse the stalls at your leisure. But more than one visitor has gone in thinking, “Oh, I’ll just look, I’m not hungry”, only to find their appetite makes a sudden appearance inside the market!