La Boquería market, the most famous in Barcelona
Big cities usually have a big market, and Barcelona is no exception. The best example of a Barcelona market is La Boquería, the most visited shopping center in all of Barcelona, and one of the most important in all of Spain.
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The main market in Barcelona
La Boquería, whose official name is Mercado de San José, is one of the most visited, crowded and famous places in all of Barcelona. Every native of the city knows about the market, and every visitor wants to visit it at least once. Located on La Rambla, La Boquería market is part of the largest commercial area in all of Spain.
The variety of offer in La Boquería is impressive and its demand grows every day. Fruits, vegetables, meats, restaurants, gift shops, cafes, and everything you can expect from a market, can be found in La Boquería.
The market evolved and grew along with the city, undergoing some reforms over the years, and nowadays no Barcelona man can imagine his city without what this market is and represents. La Boquería is a European benchmark in terms of large roofed markets and an important tourist attraction for all visitors to Barcelona. Another important market to visit is the Santa Caterina Market.
The origins of La Boquería
In its beginnings, La Boquería was an open-air market, which was located on the outskirts of the city and was made up of makeshift stalls and itinerant merchants. In the place where the market is today, there used to be an ecclesiastical convent.
This convent was destroyed by fire, and in the area that left the structure, the city market was located. In this way, the great commercial center of Barcelona was born in 1840, which would become a Catalan symbol.
With the growth and economic expansion of La Rambla, the market became famous and became increasingly crowded. Over time, the stalls were no longer improvised and roofs were added to the market structure.
Over time, La Boquería expanded in size and variety, until it became the largest market in all of Catalonia. Today, it has 2,500 meters of space and hundreds of trading posts, offering all kinds of products.
Visit La Boquería
Being one of the most visited places in Barcelona, like Park Güell or the Sagrada Familia, it is impossible to go through the city without approaching the market. Due to its commercial nature, it is always busy and in demand. Locals, tourists, all have reasons to go to La Boquería.
Its high ceilings, its endless aisles, its incredible variety of products, the abundance of offers and its incredible dynamism make those who visit La Boquería for the first time absolutely delighted.
The best offers are between the low season months, although the summer offers also attract a good number of native and foreign customers. It is also possible to make purchases online, however, the most advisable thing is to go personally to the market to live the whole experience first hand.
So if you find yourself in Barcelona, don’t hesitate any longer, and go for a tour of one of the main arteries that keep the great heart of this city alive.
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▷ LA BOQUERIA Barcelona food market
Updated Apr 21 2020
If you were to make a list of the ten most iconic places to visit in Barcelona, without a doubt one of them would be the Mercat de La Boqueria, in English La Boqueria Market. Situated right in the heart of the city centre, and easily accessible from Las Ramblas, it’s the most visited food market in the city, with thousands of visitors every day. Many of them are tourists, but it also attracts people who live nearby, especially in the Raval quarter, who go there because of the great variety and quality of produce available.
Although most people know the market as La Boquería, its actual name is el Mercat de Sant Josep (Saint Joseph’s Market), as you’ll see from its distinctive sign as you enter from Las Ramblas. The name originates from the old convent of the Carmelitas Descalzos, who were popularly known as Josepets because of their worship of San José. The convent once stood where the market has been since 1836.
Why the name La “Boqueria”?
It seems that the term ‘La Boqueria’, which now refers to the Sant Josep market, derives from the stalls that used to sell meat of the ‘Boc’, a Catalan word that refers to a male goat. Back in the 13th century these stalls were set up in the area that La Boqueria market currently occupies.
But the market’s origins are in fact older, because there was previously an outdoor market at the Pla de la Boquería, just a few steps from the Gran Teatre del Liceu.
What food and products to buy in the La Boqueria market?
Meats, nuts and dried fruits, seafood and fish, preserves, fruit and vegetables can all be found in abundance. The market has over 300 stalls where you can find almost anything, whether it’s local produce or from all over the world. As well as buying things in the market stalls you can also stop for a drink in one of the bars, or a meal in one of the restaurants in the market. Here you can try the fresh produce of the market, which is always of the best quality.
The market at La Boqueria is twinned with Borough Market in London, and there are frequent collaborations between the two. One example of this was the presence of La Boqueria stalls at the reopening of the London market in 2008.
Breakfast and lunch in La Boqueria
One of the best times to visit La Boqueria is first thing in the morning; there’s still a great atmosphere there at this time of day, but there won’t be as many tourists as later in the day. If you do decide to go to the market first thing, we recommend you have breakfast in one of the bars that you’ll find there. Amongst them, two of the most authentic where you’ll be able to taste the high quality of the products are the historic Pinotxo Bar, run by its charismatic owner Juanito, and El Quim de la Boqueria, masterfully led by its owner Quim. Both bars should be a compulsory stop for you during your visit to La Boqueria, as you’ll be able to enjoy anything from a cooked breakfast to one of their elaborate dishes at lunchtime.
Boqueria Market + Paella Cooking Workshop
Many well-known chefs buy the products for their restaurants in the Mercado de La Boqueria, whether personally or with the help of their staff. It’s also quite common to find them taking a break in the market whilst walking from their restaurants or workshops, as is often the case with Ferran Adrià.
It’s not possible to reserve tables within the bars in the market. There are few stools for customers; as these places are the best options in Barcelona for eating quality food near Las Ramblas, and especially in such an iconic place as La Boqueria, you should expect to wait a bit, but it’s well worth it. You might also consider eating in one of the restaurants located under the arches of La Rambla, where it’s likely to be easier to find a table, especially in those where you’re able to reserve a table, such as in the excellent Casa Guinart.
The best places to eat in La Boqueria
Quim de La Boqueria
Bar Kiosk Boqueria
Bar Kiosko La Rambla
Restaurante La Gardunya
Bar Central La boqueria
Bar Kiosco Moderno
Bar Sant Josep
At the bar, sitting on a stool
Some of these bars and restaurants can be found in little stalls within the market, where the done thing is to eat at the bar, seated on a stool. This might not sound very relaxing, but it’s the most authentic way to get to know the daily life of the city, both gastronomically and culturally.
If you can’t find a place to sit within the market, or if you’re in a hurry, you might like to buy some food to take away from one of the many stalls that offer this option. We should add that some of the most wonderful products on sale in the market, especially in the summer months, are the freshly squeezed juices that many of the greengrocers’ stalls sell. If you happen to be walking through the market towards the end of the day, you might even find some special offers on these products.
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The best market in Barcelona | About Spain from a guide
La Boqueria Market has long been a hallmark of Barcelona. Here you can get a unique gastronomic experience. The best market in Barcelona is located on the Ramblas in the heart of the city.
Locals often say that the heart of Barcelona beats in La Boquería. It is a place where tradition and modernity, local products and exotic coexist and blend perfectly.
Barcelona residents and tourists are enchanted by the magic of one of the best markets in the world.
The best market in Barcelona: history In the territory occupied by the market, as early as
the 13th century merchants and farmers were selling their products. The merchants were located a few steps from where the Liceu Opera House is now located.
Over time, the outlets moved until they were at the foot of the monastery of San Josep. In 1835 the monastery burned down. Instead, the city council of Barcelona built a square with a portico.
The new market was opened in 1840 . At that time, there were 200 stalls, 100 for meat, 48 for fish, and the rest for various products. It was an open-air market. Not surprisingly, the merchants had to put up tents to protect themselves from the bad weather. Only in 1913 built the facade and roof. They gave the market the appearance that it has survived to this day. It was designed by the architect Antoni Falguera in 1913. The entrance is decorated with wrought iron gates and stained glass windows with a geometric pattern. From now on, La Boqueria is the best market in Barcelona.
Although most people know this place as La Boqueria , its real name is Saint Joseph Market .
This name originates from the old monastery of Discalced Carmelites. They were widely known for their worship of Saint Joseph. Their monastery was located in the same place where the La Boqueria market now stands.
Why is the best market in Barcelona called “La Boqueria”? There are many versions and urban legends about this. However, researchers are inclined to believe that the name comes from the butcher shops “Bock”. This Catalan word translates as “goat”. Initially, it was mainly a meat market and goat meat was very popular.
The best market in Barcelona
La Boqueria leaves no one indifferent. Without losing its primary purpose as a local market, this iconic place has taken advantage of its location on the Ramblas. Thanks to the location, the attention of tourists was ensured. Apart from the typical products that you will find in any other market, Boqueria offers something special.
You can visit the Boquería market with me on a gastronomic tour of Barcelona. It will be interesting and very, very tasty!
Here, for example, they sell tropical fruits or game meat, which are difficult to find in other markets.
A walk among hundreds of stalls turns into an exciting gastronomic journey. You can find the best products from all over the world and experience the daily life of the real Barcelona.
Butchers, fishmongers, dried fruit stalls, canned goods, fruits and vegetables… There are currently over 300 stalls on the market. You can find almost any product, both local and produced in different parts of the world.
They also sell takeaway food. Offer to eat in one of the many bars and restaurants. Here you can taste fresh market products of the highest quality.
One of the best times to visit La Boqueria is early in the morning when you can experience the authentic atmosphere. There are not as many visitors as at other times of the day. If you decide to go to the market in the morning, I recommend having breakfast in one of the bars.
Among them, two of the most authentic should be highlighted. Historic Pinotxo Bar, run by charismatic owner Juanit. El Quim de la Boqueria, expertly run by its owner Kim. Both bars are a must stop when visiting the market. Here you can taste the best Spanish and Catalan dishes. In these bars, patrons eat at the bar.
If you are looking for a more comfortable option, you can look into one of the restaurants located under the arcades.
It’s usually easier to find a table here, although it’s a good idea to make a reservation during high season.
Interesting fact : The market is twinned with Borough Market in London. They work closely with each other.
Various events in La Boquería Market
The La Boquería Market Merchants Association organizes various events from time to time. Cooking classes for adults and children are very popular. All sorts of tastings and other events related to gastronomy are periodically arranged. The calendar of events can be viewed here.
The best market in Barcelona: practical information
La Rambla 91, Barcelona
Metro: Liceu (line 3) and Catalunya (lines 1 and 3).
Buses: routes 9, 14, 59, 91 and tourist bus.
On foot: can be reached on foot quickly and easily from the center of Barcelona.
Monday to Saturday: 8:00 am to 8:30 pm
description, address, hours and opening hours 2023
The main street of Barcelona immerses tourists in Catalan culture from the first minutes of being on it. Walking from Plaza Catalunya to the Column of Christopher Columbus by the sea, you will walk more than a kilometer through the history and time of Barcelona. On the way, you will meet flower and souvenir sellers, musicians and actors, crowds of tourists, but having studied the main artery of the city, you will get a complete picture of Barcelona.
At every turn there is something that will grab your attention, make you stop, take a picture and remember another spectacular sight. To the songs of Spanish street musicians and the cheers of the crowd, you will get to know the place where the vibrant life of Barcelona was born several centuries ago.
History of the street
In ancient times, there was a gutter on the site of the Rambla, which protected the city during heavy rains. And along it was the defensive wall of Barcelona. But in the Middle Ages, the ditch completely dried up, so that at the beginning of the 18th century it was filled up, and at the same time the city wall was demolished. In its place, an avenue was laid and trees were planted. The inhabitants of Barcelona reacted with great enthusiasm to the appearance of a new street, and very soon the Rambla became a place of constant leisure for the townspeople. The street is divided into 5 separate boulevards, passing into each other: Rambla Canaletes, Rambla Teachings, Rambla Flowers, Rambla Capuchins and Rambla Saint Monica.
The Rambla today
The first part of the Rambla starts from Plaza Catalunya – this is Canaletes. There is a small fountain here, which is often crowded with tourists. The inscription on the fountain translates as “Everyone who drinks water from here will definitely fall in love with Barcelona and come back here again”, so strongly believing travelers try to drink more magic water from the fountain in order to return to this city.
Rambla Teachings – the street got its name from the university, of which now only the baroque church of Our Lady of Bethlehem remains. Until 2010, the bird market was located here, but subsequently the authorities decided to close it due to new animal protection laws. The market sold just about anyone – canaries, parrots, rats, pigeons, snakes, and everything you can imagine.
The central part of the street was given a romantic name – the Rambla of Flowers. And it fully justifies itself: the whole street is dotted with shops and stalls with a variety of flowers, and in the 19th century, only in this place you could buy flowers. In this part of the street is the entrance to the most famous market in Barcelona – La Boqueria. Trade began here in the 13th century and the place immediately became popular with local residents. The range of the market is limitless: travelers come here to try fruits, mussels, oysters and traditional Spanish jamon.
The Rambla of the Capuchins is a street full of art. Living sculptures, street musicians and artists, Barcelona’s first Principal Theater and, of course, the excellent acoustics of the Gran Teatro Liceu opera – all this is concentrated here. Not far from the Rambla of the Capuchins is the Palau Güell, one of the first creations of the famous Antonio Gaudí.
Closer to the sea, the street merges into the Rambla of Saint Monica. It ends at the Portal de la Pau square, which is translated from Spanish as “Gate of the World”. There is a monument to Christopher Columbus on the square, because it was in Barcelona that the great traveler completed his great voyage. There is an elevator inside the monument, where you can go up to the observation deck and see the Rambla from a bird’s eye view.
Sometimes referred to as the Rambla is another part that connects the Maremagnum shopping center with a pedestrian street through a retractable bridge in the port of Barcelona, so this part even got a local name – “Sea Rambla”. Therefore, you can finish your walk along the Rambla in one of the cozy restaurants on the Barcelona waterfront, which serves paella with seafood and traditional Spanish sangria.