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). The market has been open since 1840, so you know it must be special. We thought it would be nice to go to the market for a quick breakfast to try some of the famous food from Barcelona. In this guide, I will tell you what to eat at the market and give you a few tips for your visit.
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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 really 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.
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.
So what can you buy at the La Boqueria Market 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 a really impressive selection of fruits, vegetables, and juices. I was impressed to see dragonfruit – a fruit with a red skin, white/red pulp, and black seeds – which I really see in the US. Since I was thirsty and it was only €1, I did try one of the juices, which was really 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 also explored the seafood section. You could tell the seafood was really 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 really 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 really 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.
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. Secondly, we didn’t leave enough time. Of course, you can just walk through the market but I really enjoyed seeing all the stalls and what they had to offer. I would have like to relax at one of the tapas bars too.
I would love to go back to explore more of the market and try more of the food. 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. Next time I am in Madrid, I would love to check out their food market, Mercado San Miguel.
Have you been to La Boqueria Market? What did you buy?
Expert Tips for Visiting La Boqueria Market
- La Boqueria Market is open from Monday to Saturday from 8 am to 8:30 pm.
- If you have a refrigerator where you are staying like most vacation rentals, you could buy food for future meals. If you can bring Ziploc bags, this will help make sure the food stays fresh. This could be a real budget saver.
- Don’t buy from the first stall you see, the prices will vary so check around.
- As with other popular tourist spots, you need to watch out for pickpockets. You might also find these safety tips for solo female travelers helpful.
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