La Boqueria, Barcelona

Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria or simply called La Boqueria, is located off La Ramblas, the street that borders the Raval and the Gothic areas. It is one of the oldest market in the country. Originated as a meat market it has gone through many changes and today it is a common meeting point where tourists and chefs mingle.

a sweet stall strategically placed near the main entrance/exit
Spanish jamon dressed to impress
talking cured meats with the friendly stall vendor

Behind the grand wrought iron entrance, lies a modern market where you can find just about anything. From fresh seafood bought from around the coasts of Spain, exotic fruits and vegetables, delicately cured meats, nuts, herbs, spices, empanadas and juice stalls.

a welcoming display of fruit with some in ready to eat bowls
nuts, legumes and dried fruits
fresh fruit icy poles (or popsicles) – understandably, she took a while to decide

Inside it is a cool and clean market that is well laid out with wide isles.  The floors are slippy from the combination of melted ice and fruit peels. The stall holders manage to shout above the buzz of tourists and locals.  The fruity air mingles gently with the salty, spicy scent of the Jamon Serrano. And we… we were one of many awestruck tourists bumping into each other as all three of us point in different directions and say “look at those!”.

precious commodity – can you imagine how many flowers it took to get this much saffron?
fresh fruit juices and pieces
some of the first customers for lunch

Dotted around are the tapas bars where you can purchase food and drinks, the perfect spot for lunch or lighter meals. Take a seat on one of the coveted bar stools and watch the market thrive through the lunch hours. Or if you’re at the very back of the market, where those bars are just as good, watch the men carry cartons of vegetables and carcasses of meat, and let it serve as a reminder of just how fresh the produce is.

cutting the jamon iberico or jamon serrano is an art
the eggs proved to be educational – we saw different coloured chicken eggs, speckled quail eggs and other edible eggs
decisions decisions – an amused vendor at the empanadas stall watching Izzy ponder her dilemma of which empanada to eat first

To say that this place is a feast for the senses, is a cliche and an understatement. But I can’t find any other way to best describe it.  I love farmers/food markets and have been to many but La Boqueria tops them all.

chillies, dried beans and spices
fresh and dried seafood

Trip Notes

  • Official website:- (English version)
  • Open Monday to Saturday from 8am – closed on Sundays
  • Go early, especially if you’d like to have lunch at the tapas bar
  • There are bathrooms located at the back of the building and one level above the market area
  • Most stalls accept credit card but best to bring cash

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