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Mercat de la Boqueria

A visit to Barcelona isn’t complete without a trip to the incredibly spectacular Boqueria Market on Las Ramblas. La Boqueria, or Mercat de Sant Josep, is one of the largest fresh markets in Spain and the world. An enormous array of fruits, vegetables, fish, meat, and cheese is housed under a beautiful 19th-century cast-iron canopy. Your senses are greeted by an explosion of smells and colors here.

What to See and Do at Mercat de la Boqueria

Barcelona’s most famous covered market attracts many tourists every day. Taking a look inside is, of course, free and very worthwhile. The abundance of colorful vegetables, fruits, fish, meat, and spices are a feast for the eyes.

You also get a good example of the ingredients of the Mediterranean diet: all the vegetables and fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, grains, bread, eggs, herbs and spices, fish, shellfish, meat, cheese, and cured meats like Spanish Serrano ham are represented here. Besides all the delicious things you can buy, you can also follow a cooking workshop or enjoy delicious tapas at the Boqueria.

Mercat de la Boqueria in Barcelona
Mercat de la Boqueria in Barcelona

Market Stalls at La Boqueria

The Boqueria is known as one of the best fresh markets in the world, something the market owes to the good quality of its products. It’s no wonder that many chefs from nearby restaurants come here to do their shopping. The best products from the country, all kinds of fish from the Mediterranean Sea, and the finest delicacies from around the world are available here.

The sharp increase in visitors in recent years, most of them tourists, has had consequences for the type of products and market stalls that can be found nowadays. In addition to the traditional greengrocers, butchers, and fishmongers, where locals get their food, there are now also many stalls selling exotic products, as well as ready-made fruit cups and food. While that can look very nice in a photo, all those colorful juices and candies, to get a real impression of the Boqueria, you need to look beyond that.

Mercat de la Boqueria - specerijen
Market Stall at La Boqueria. Whoops I did not see the sign when taking the photo.

A visit to the market is perfect for getting acquainted with the Mediterranean diet and all the ingredients and dishes that go with it. Visit the market’s information center, participate in a tour and cooking workshop, or chat with one of the sales staff if you want to know more.

Where to Go at La Boqueria

Mercat de la Boqueria has more than 250 different market stalls, all placed under an impressive cast-iron canopy (except for the farmers’ market on Plaça de Sant Galdric). While most tourists stay in the middle aisle of the market, where it is busiest, you can stroll around the sides of the market or shop in peace. Some recommendations include:

  • Laura i Marc Besora (stall number 536) and Maria Pujol Balbina Ampurdanés (569): for fruits and vegetables.
  • Aroma Ibèric (183) and Cansaladeria Josep (146): for excellent quality cured meats like Spanish hams.
  • Peixos Marta (817): for fresh fish from the Mediterranean Sea. Try the fresh calamari.
  • Boket (224): for beef, lamb, and specialties like Galician and Basque ‘txuletones’.
  • Avinova Aviram (689): for eggs, chicken meat, and various game.
  • Bolets Petràs (867): for all kinds of mushrooms, truffles, edible flowers, and aromatic herbs.
  • Bacallaneries Gomà (737): for salted cod and other types of fish like anchovies and sardines.
  • Llegums La Boqueria (549): for cooked legumes. Try the mongetes del ganxet.
  • Olives i conserves Graus (485): for all kinds of Spanish olives, saffron, and canned fish.
  • Torrons d’Agramunt (405): this Catalan nougat, typical for Christmas, is an excellent option for those who want to take something sweet home.
  • Vidal Pons (471): for the best chocolates, bonbons, and cookies.

Often overlooked by tourists are the beautiful galleries that enclose the market hall. Below them, you’ll find a handful of terraces where you can sit and enjoy people-watching in peace.

For children, there are also various candy stores on the market where you can find large lollipops with “Barcelona” on them, among other things.

Farmers’ Market at Mercat de la Boqueria

To the right of the Boqueria market, behind the Palau de la Virreina, opens the relatively unknown Plaça de Sant Galdric. A beautiful and quiet courtyard with a few cozy terraces where you can sit and enjoy a beer (Bar Papitu is highly recommended!). On some days, farmers from the Baix Llobregat come here to sell their products. Sant Galdric (also called Sant Galderic) is not for nothing the patron saint of Catalan farmers!

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Eating at Mercat de la Boqueria

Unlike other market halls in Barcelona, the range of bars at La Boqueria is much larger. Here you will find the famous Bar Pinotxo and El Quim de la Boqueria, which are always packed. For the best fish dishes, sit at Kiosk Universal. They may not be luxury establishments, and you have to sit at the bar on a bar stool among the crowd, but the delicious food and the unique experience make it definitely worth it.

In the immediate vicinity of the Boqueria market, there are also various gastronomic restaurants. One of the best options for food lovers is Casa Guinart and Direkte Boqueria.

Mercat de la Boqueria - Wandelroute in El Raval Barcelona
Mercat de la Boqueria

Also delicious are the freshly made juices or smoothies that you can get at the market and the ready-to-eat boxes of fruit. Ideal to take with you during a day of sightseeing.

Aula Boqueria (bcnKITCHEN)

Cooking enthusiasts will be pleasantly surprised by this space. On the second floor of the market hall is this cooking studio, where cooking lessons and workshops for all target groups are conducted. Take a look at the website of bcnKITCHEN to see what activities are planned or book a tour of the market with a paella workshop directly to make your visit to La Boqueria unforgettable! This space is also available for hire for groups and private events.

Souvenir Shop

Unique to the Boqueria market is that it’s the only one in Barcelona with its own souvenir shop. For those who want to take a piece of La Boqueria home, you’ll find plenty of souvenirs and gift ideas here: from a La Boqueria apron to cookbooks with recipes from the same market vendors!

Palau de la Virreina

An interesting attraction near Mercat de la Boqueria is the Palau de la Virreina. This palace was built between 1772 and 1778 and is a good example of Baroque and Rococo architecture. Free exhibitions are held here on various subjects, from art to photography. It is also the seat of the city’s cultural department and the place where the city’s giants are displayed when they are not parading somewhere at a city festival.

History of Mercat de la Boqueria

The famous Boqueria market was designed by Antoni Rovira, Josep Fontserè, and Josep Cornet and opened in 1836, on the site where the Convent de Sant Josep used to be (hence it is also known as Mercat de Sant Josep). The market itself existed a little earlier.

Documentation exists from 1217 about street sales in this area outside the city walls, where street vendors and farmers from the surrounding area gathered to sell their products. They laid out all their goods on the esplanade of Pla de la Boqueria at the Portal de la Boqueria to avoid taxes. La Boqueria is in fact the oldest market in Barcelona.

The huge steel structure that covers the market hall was only added in 1914 and modeled after the Parisian Halls. With its 2,583 square meters, the Boqueria market was initially the largest fresh market in Barcelona, but since the renovation of the nearby Mercat de Sant Antoni in 2018, it is now the second largest market in Barcelona and undoubtedly still one of the biggest attractions on the Ramblas, receiving even more visitors in a day than the Sagrada Família!

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How to Get to Mercat de la Boqueria

The Boqueria market is located in the middle part of Las Ramblas, the Rambla de Sant Josep, and is easily accessible by the green metro line, station Liceu (L3).

Note: On Fridays and Saturdays until 3:00 PM, access to the Boqueria market for groups of more than 15 people is not allowed.

Useful information

Price: Free.

Opening Hours: The market is open from Monday to Saturday, from 8:00 AM to 8:30 PM.

Address: Las Ramblas, 91 08001 Barcelona

Public Transportation:

Metro: Liceu (L3)

Bus: 59, V13