La Boqueria Market (Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria or Mercat de la Boqueria) is known to be one of the most famous and biggest food markets in all of Europe, attracting millions of visitors every year.
It’s the ultimate destination in Barcelona for foodies.
Barcelona’s most renowned food market situated on the busy La Rambla street used to be an open-air market. Due to popular demand and a significant increase in visitors over the years, La Boqueria officially opened in 1840.
The first thing you notice is the impressive market-front entrance: a modernist arched structure of iron beams and stained glass. On either side, you will notice stands selling renowned Spanish Jamon. Once you step inside the market, fruit – lots and lots of colourful fresh fruit.
Your Ultimate Guide to La Boqueria Market in Barcelona
Make your way through the market’s labyrinth of vendors and eateries.
La Boqueria has over 200 stalls offering all kinds of food, from seafood, jamon, and meat to fresh produce, spices, and artisanal specialties including endless varieties of chocolate, candy, and much more. Additionally, the market boasts tapas bars, cafes, and restaurants offering exquisite specialty dishes.
Anyone can spend hours browsing the rows and rows of colourful offerings and temptations at La Boqueria.
What you’ll find at La Boqueria
Fresh fruits and vegetables are offered at multiple stalls around La Boqueria market.
Fruit Cups, Smoothies, and Fruity Popsicles to Go
It was the appetizing display of fresh fruit juices and mixed cocktails that lured us in almost every morning while on vacation in Barcelona.
Fruit smoothies and freshly cut fruit are presented and conveniently packed in plastic containers; perfect for travelers on the go! They come at great prices (from €1-3), and some stalls are more expensive than others. Obviously it’s cheaper if you cut them up yourself, but you’re in La Boqueria, so enjoy the moment! Grab a cup and wander around (it will help you avoid nibbling on the endless aisles of sinful sweets).
There are a lot of tasty things to eat around La Boqueria, but you absolutely must sample some Spanish ham (jamón). The most famous type of Spanish ham is jamón ibérico. Although it’s not cheap, it’s definitely more affordable at La Boqueria than abroad.
There are stalls at the entrance selling ready-to-eat jamon in cones. Towards the back of the market, you will find jamon in all forms (flanks, leg, etc.). Sold by the gram, jamon is cut into paper-thin slices and packed for you to take back to your hotel or apartment. The vendors can even vacuum seal it for travel. However, I’m not 100% sure whether customs will allow it (you need to make sure first).
Fresh Seafood and Meat
Barcelona offers an impressive variety of fresh fish, seafood and shellfish at La Boqueria. Near these stands, you will find beef, poultry, and the best selection of fresh eggs.
Specialty stalls around La Boqueria offer artisanal chocolate, candy, marzipan, olives, olive oil, spices, cheese, nuts, dried fruit, and more. The variety of options is insane!
El Celler de la Boqueria offers wine at great prices. Take a break from eating and order a glass at the “barrel” bar.
Eatery Options at La Boqueria
La Boqueria boasts many tapas bars, cafes, and restaurants offering specialty dishes where you can sit down and have a quick bite to eat. The food is prepared from the freshest ingredients from La Boqueria market itself.
Grab a seat (if you find an empty one!) at one of the bars and order what looks good from the menu and glass cases. Don’t know what to order? Ask your server for a recommendation. If you see your neighbours eating something scrumptious (mmm, that does look good!), don’t be shy to point!
You’ll find eateries all over La Boqueria so don’t be discouraged if the ones at the front are full.
Recommended dishes to order
If you haven’t already eaten your weight in Spanish ham, you should definitely order these dishes next time you visit La Boqueria:
Xuxo from Bar Pinotxo, €2.60
A xuxo is kind of like a fried rectangular donut enveloping a sweet vanilla cream filling – extremely recommended.
Do not, I repeat, DO NOT leave La Boqueria Market without grabbing one of these delicious xuxos from Bar Pinotxo. You really have no excuse, it’s the first bar you encounter when walking in! T and I came back for this the very next day!
Fried eggs with baby squid from El Quim de La Boqueria, €19.75
El Quim de La Boqueria is one of the most famous restaurants in La Boqueria. They offer tapas, grilled seafood dishes, and other authentic Catalan dishes. The tapas here are between €3-9 each.
The fried eggs with baby squid are highly recommended. A generous amount of soft and tender baby squid is cooked in its own ink, and served with fried eggs. The eggs had perfectly soft and runny yolk with those flawless crisp edges that make that harmonious “crackle and pop” sound under your teeth. Worth every penny.
Guided Tours and Cooking Classes
There are several guided tours run by different organizations that take you around La Boqueria for the opportunity to learn more about the history of the market and the ingredients used in Catalan dishes.
Visit the information kiosk at La Boqueria (located in the center) to book a guided tour of the market. La Boqueria even has a cooking school where you can take cooking classes given by professional chefs.
Barcelona Cooking offers a guided walking tour of La Boqueria market with tips from their chefs on picking local and seasonal products, followed by a cooking class at their school and dinner. The Spanish Cooking Class costs 65€ per person with an optional Boqueria Market Gourmet Tour for 13€ per person.
Shop like a Chef
Many top chefs are known to shop at La Boqueria, which just shows how high quality the ingredients are.
If you’re staying in an apartment in Barcelona, this could be your chance to cook up a delicious meal! Before you visit the market, find a recipe you like and make a list of ingredients. You could also wing it if you have super chef skills and just go with what your eyes find appealing at the market.
How to Get There
If you’re near the city center, then you should definitely walk! La Boqueria is just on La Rambla, the most famous pedestrian street in Barcelona, next to Liceu Metro station.
Price and Payment Methods
The price tags at La Boqueria are slightly higher than at the supermarkets, however, the food is of the highest quality.
Vendors accept cash and credit cards. It is recommended to bring cash though as some stalls may not take credit cards. Plus, cash is much more convenient in this case.
Your purchases might be subject to a tax refund depending on the amount you spend.
It’s easy to get distracted with all the beautiful colours and aromas in La Boqueria, however, you should keep an eye on your purse and other belongings at all times. Don’t put your wallet in your back pocket. There are pickpockets in most tourist-packed areas in Barcelona, just like any other popular city around the world.
Insider Tips: A Little Something Extra
- Visit La Boqueria early to avoid the crowds (i.e. in the morning before lunch time). The market is packed by noon.
- You can find better deals towards the end of the market where tourists are less abundant. Stalls closer to the entrance have a tendency to ask for higher prices than those further back (mainly due to higher rental expenses).
- Most of the vendors speak English at La Boqueria; however, it would be useful to learn a few Spanish phrases to help the communication flow more effortlessly. Here are some to get you started:
- How much does this cost? Cuánto cuesta este?
- I want Quiero (and then point to what you want!)
- Please Por favor
- Thank you Gracias
The energy that radiates from the market is remarkable! I absolutely loved going around La Boqueria and checking out all the tempting offerings at the market stalls – I would have bought everything if I could!
La Boqueria Market is a “must see” for anyone visiting Barcelona, especially food lovers.
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La Boqueria Market
Address: La Rambla, 91, 08001 Barcelona, Spain
Contact: +34 933 18 25 84
Opening Hours: 8am to 8:30pm from Monday to Saturday, closed on Sundays (unfortunately)
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Eggs with squid photo credit Mark Wiens @ Migrationology.
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