Mercat de La Boqueria

Mercat de La Boqueria (7)

What you can't find here you won't find anywhere else. That's what people always say about the Boqueria market. The fact that it covers an area of more than 6000 m2 and houses 11 aisles and some 300 stalls makes it Europe's largest covered market. In addition, the range of fresh produce on offer has given the market its landmark status on the world gourmet map.

Greengrocers, fishmongers, delicatessens and traditional butchers coexist with stalls dedicated exclusively to sweets, chocolates, cheeses, nuts, aromatic herbs, etc. The level of specialisation is such that many stalls exclusively market a single product.

As far back as the Middle Ages, a travelling market already existed on Las Ramblas, where traders gathered in front of the city walls to offer meat products and, over time, other fresh produce. The current location was not established until the end of the 18th century, when the Pla de la Boqueria was chosen as the site for the market.

The destruction by fire of the Saint Joseph Carmelite convent in 1835 was a key factor in the choice of location for the market, as the site was close to Las Ramblas but would not hinder the movement of people and vehicles on this street, and in 1840 the covered market of San Jose (St Joseph) was inaugurated, the official name of La Boqueria.

Just as attractive as the wares sold in the interior is the market building itself, which is notable for the Modernist-style elements of the architecture, the stained glass windows and the emblem above the main entrance.

We recommend a stroll through the market as the best way to enjoy this festival of colours, flavours and aromas. Just a few years ago, along with a wide variety of exotic and local produce, there was even a stall for insect tasting. Unfortunately, the marketing of insects for human consumption is not regulated by any State or European legislation, so in 2008 the Barcelona Public Health Authority forced the market to abandon the sale of this type of produce.

If photos are what you're after, the centre aisle is your best bet, but if you're here to stock up the larder, the lateral aisles offer higher quality products at better prices.

The interior of the market also houses a number of small bars where one can sample tapas and other local specialties. Among these we can highlight the popular Pinotxo, one of the market's landmark establishments, the owner of which, Don Juanito, is a popular figure throughout the city. Tapas, cod and breakfasts are the specialities.

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