One of the reasons, I chose to visit Spain was the food. Who doesn’t love tapas and a glass or two of Rioja wine? We took a pintxos cooking class in San Sebastian, and in Barcelona, we visited La Boqueria Market (Mercado de la Boqueria in Spanish).
We thought it would be nice to go to the market for a quick breakfast to try some of the famous food from Barcelona and learn more about the cooking in Spain. In this guide, I will tell you what to eat at this famous food market in Barcelona and give you a few tips for your visit.
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About La Boqueria
La Boqueria is arguably the best market in the world. It is the largest market in Catalonia, the most varied when it comes to food supply, and also the most visited by tourists.
The history of the market dates back to the 13th century, but the current market was built on the remains of the old convent of San Jose de los Carmelitas that was burned during a revolt on the day of Sant Jaume. The construction started in 1835 and finished in 1840.
The Boqueria market is a Barcelona landmark which has been open in its current form since 1840, so you know it must be special. It has more than 200 traders and covers more than 2500 square meters.
Food and Drink at La Boqueria
So what can you buy at the La Boqueria Market in Barcelona?
Some of the best Spanish food and drink in Barcelona!
Meats, cheeses, seafood, bread, olives, pastries (empanadas), fruits, vegetables, juices, candy, gelato, and popsicles, to name a few. You can buy large portions to take home or smaller ones to try while you are there.
There was an impressive selection of fruits, vegetables, and juices. I was impressed to see dragonfruit – a fruit with red skin, white/red pulp, and black seeds – which I rarely see in the US. Since I was thirsty and it was only €1, I did try one of the juices, which was refreshing.
We also had to sample the meats and cheeses. We tried one of the samplers that they serve in a paper cone and it was delicious.
We had to check out the seafood section too. You could tell the seafood was fresh because some was still alive! In addition to the raw seafood, they did have some cooked that you could try there.
Empanadas are one of my favorite foods so of course, I had to try them. There are all sorts of shapes and sizes and types, so it was hard to choose. My high school Spanish came in handy here, I was able to figure out what we were ordering. The spinach one we had was a little disappointing but we did enjoy the one filled with ham.
The prices vary between the stalls so don’t just buy at the first place that you see. If you like, you can try bargaining too. We only bought small items and I thought they were reasonably priced so I didn’t feel the need to try or maybe it was because it was so early in the morning.
In addition to the typical stalls you would expect to see at a market, there are tapas bars as well. The La Boqueria Market tapas looked delicious. You can just grab a seat at the bar and place your order. If you like you can also have a glass of wine or cava.
Getting to La Boqueria
La Boqueria was a short walk from our hotel. It is located close to La Rambla, the famous pedestrian street in central Barcelona. The closest metro stop is Liceu on the green line (L3).
We arrived shortly after it opened at 8 am and it was pretty quiet, some stalls weren’t open yet. I have heard it gets crowded, so I would recommend that you try to go early too.
If you are driving they do have parking at carrer de les Floristes de la Rambla, number 8 (right next to Plaça de la Gardunya). You can park for free for one hour if you purchase €30 worth of goods. Take your receipts to the Market Information Point to claim your free parking.
Lessons Learned at La Boqueria
We made two mistakes when planning our visit to La Boqueria in Barcelona.
First, we weren’t that hungry. There was so much food that we wanted to try, but there just wasn’t room in our stomachs. We had to be quite selective in what we tasted.
Secondly, we didn’t leave enough time. Of course, you can just walk through the market but I enjoyed seeing all the stalls and what they had to offer. I would have like to relax at one of the tapas bars too.
Plan for Next Time
I would love to go back to explore more of the market and try more of the food. I won’t eat before I go and I will try to give us at least two hours to walk around La Boqueria and check out one of the tapas bars.
Also, I think it would be fun to take a La Boqueria market tour that includes a cooking class or even a Barcelona food tour. A cooking class, like this one to learn to make paella, could be interesting too.
Also, please make sure you are careful with your belongings as pickpockets love crowded markets. One of those anti-theft wallets that you can wear under your clothes might come in handy. I would also recommend that you get euros before going to La Boqueria as not all merchants will accept credit cards. For more tips on what else to bring, check out this Barcelona packing list.
Next time I am in Madrid, I would love to check out their food market, Mercado San Miguel. It would be fun to compare the two markets.
Is La Boqueria Market Worth Visiting?
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Last Updated on December 29, 2021