La Boqueria Barcelona Food Market is one of the top foodie stops in the city. Plan your visit to one of Europe’s largest and most famous food markets.
Enjoy exploring food markets when you travel? Be sure to visit these posts:
- Mercado San Miguel Food Market
- Rialto Market Venice
- San Francisco Ferry Building
- Asiatique Night Market Bangkok
La Boqueria Barcelona Food Market Today:
La Boqueria Barcelona continues its long history today serving as a neighborhood market, a place to socialize with your favorite tapas or drink, and a tourist attraction. With bars (serving food and drink) and delicious ingredients as well as prepared food all around, it’s easy to see why locals and tourists alike stroll the more than 270 stalls. Today meats, game, fruits & vegetables, seafood, sweet treats, homemade pastries, cheese and more can all be found within the aisles of La Boqueria Barcelona.
We found the market busy, and if you are visiting at lunch time or later, it is not for the timid. The produce and treats within the Barcelona food market will definitely get your appetite going, so I recommend visiting early and stocking up for a lovely, local, picnic lunch! When our group of high school Spanish language students visited we sent them on a scavenger hunt for both the items on the list we provided, as well as something they wanted for lunch. We celebrated the winners when the students returned, then sat in Plaça de Sant Josep and dined on our bounty.
If you are looking for more foodie options while you are in the city, check out this Barcelona food tour!
La Boqueria History
The origin of La Boqueria food market in Barcelona traces as far back as a first mention in 1217. At that time, the market was made of temporary stalls set up in the open air. This unofficial market was actually set up to be just outside what was then the city, probably to avoid the taxation of bringing goods inside the city limits. The Barcelona food market sold mostly meat, and the word “boqueria” likely derived from the word “boc” meaning “goat.” The next mention we know of is in December 1470 when a pig market was held here.
Over the years the location of La Boqueria Barcelona moved several times. Carlos IV visited in 1802 prompting the market’s removal to the convent of St. Joseph. Then, in 1823 the stalls were moved to the Convent of Carmen, only to be returned to Rambla. We also know that the first regulation of La Boqueria Barcelona food market was in 1827, and at that time it consisted of 200 stalls. Of those stalls, 100 were for the sale of fresh and salted meats, 48 of them sold fish, and the rest were a varied mix of vendors.
The final location move was necessitated by destruction caused by riots in 1835, and the Barcelona food market moved to it’s current site. Ironically, this was supposed to be a temporary move. Clearly since it is still there today… not so much temporary!
Construction of La Boqueria
It was on March 19, 1840 that the foundation stone was laid at the current location of La Boqueria Barcelona food market. The architect, Josep Mas Vila’s design called for a central stall area with fish stalls located separately. Initially the Barcelona food market held meat and flowers. It was not until 1853 that the distinctive roof of La Boqueria Barcelona was completed.
Fruit and vegetable stalls were added to the Barcelona food market, and the areas around the market were acquired to allow for its growth in 1869. It would be in 1871 that gas lighting was added to the market, and in 1911 the fish stalls moved to the central location they hold today. The structure of La Boqueria itself got an upgrade in 1913 when modernist arches were added to the entrance and 1914 when the metal roof was added. Both elements designed by architect Antoni de Falguiera.
Evidence of our changing society is reflected in further modernizations of the food market in Barcelona. 1985 brought a remodel, building both a loading area and car park. From 1998-2001 Lluis Clotet and Ignacio Paricio completed a remodeled stall area and allowed more natural light to enter with the removal of the original arcades.
In the 2000s La Boqueria Barcelona food market added a classroom, underground car park, and additional warehouse space. The now famous modernist arch at the entry from La Rambla was also restored in 2013. Finally, the rear façade and Placa de la Gardunya landscaping was completed in 2015, bringing the food market in Barcelona to its current appearance.
Plan Your Visit to the Famous Barcelona Food Market:
- Address: Rambla 91, 08001 Barcelona
- Hours: Mon-Sat 8am-8:30pm
- Official Site of La Boqueria with map of stalls
Tips for Visiting La Boqueria Barcelona Food Market:
- Arrive early as it can get very busy afternoon into the evening
- For the best deals, shop on Saturday when Vendors are clearing stock for the Sunday closure.
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