La Boqueria is Popular with Tourists Even Though Few Come to Buy Fresh Produce:
La Boqueria, Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, St. Joseph’s Market…. No matter what name you use to describe it, the sights and smells of this famous Barcelona market will be the same.
La Boqueria is one of the most spectacular food markets in Europe and it is not surprising that this bustling conglomeration of food stalls, restaurants and tapas bars is one of the most visited Barcelona attractions. That last fact is all the more interesting since relatively few tourists come here to look for fresh produce. But at La Boqueria one can find fresh produce and a great deal more.
La Boqueria Building
Set in a structure built in 1840, La Boqueria is an artistic treasure as well as a culinary one. The sign itself above the entrance, a fine Catalonian example of Art Nouveau, is well worth a look. The glass and iron enclosure comprises (and partially hides) a 19th century building that shares much with its cousins throughout the city. Aspects of the market are still being re-discovered. Several Ionic-style columns were only uncovered in 2001 after a long absence.
The Amazing Food at La Boqueria
But the art on display resides as much in what is sold there as how it is sold. Our La Boqueria photo gallery goes a little way in showing the endless palette of colors formed by artichokes, oranges, lemons, mangoes, carrots, sweets, ham and fish of all description but nothing beats being there to see for yourself.
Anyone wanting to wander through La Boqueria has a number of options. Seen from above it would resemble a hub with spokes.
At the centre are the fish sellers who offer an array of local species so fresh some of them are still wiggling. Barcelona is on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Wander in any direction and you’ll run into mushroom stalls offering some of the world’s finest truffles. Move one way and you’ll see the juiciest cherries to be found anywhere on the continent. Stroll the other way and you’ll come upon zucchini so fresh the blossoms are still attached.
Eating and Drinking at La Boqueria
If you’re looking for an afternoon snack or a drink you could find no finer place than at the best market in Europe. Set around the perimeter are a number of great bars and restaurants. The Pinotxo (Pinocchio) is famed for its wide selection of drinks, its excellent tapas and its extraordinary collection of bar stools. Don’t miss seeing the ceramic portrait of the famed marionette character displayed there.
The El Quim de la Boqueria is another superb option. In a city full of outstanding tapas bars, El Quim stands near the pinnacle. The bar is full of great food, lively customers and sports a happy atmosphere. Locals often enjoy the fresh squid for breakfast.
The exterior of the market provides several interesting sights as well. Just outside the entrance are animal stalls that sell birds, lizards and other small pets.
La Boqueria is about halfway between Carrer del Carme and Carrer de l’Hospital, close to the Liceu metro stop. It’s not far from the famed cathedral, La Seu, in the center of Barri Gotic (the Gothic Quarter). You can also visit La Boqueria Market as part of a Barcelona Gourmet Food Walking Tour and let a local guide tell you all about traditional Catalan products and food to taste.
La Boqueria is open from early in the morning until late in the evening, but the liveliest times are in the afternoon.