What is a trip to Barcelona without a visit to the Boqueria Market? In order to get the most out of this emblematic market, we’ve compiled our top tips to enjoy it like the locals do!
You could argue that the Boqueria Market is the epicenter of Barcelona’s tourism scene. Perched right in the center of the most vibrant boulevards in the city, (La Rambla or Las Ramblas as it is locally known), La Boqueria makes it onto even the busiest visitor’s itinerary!
Open from 8 am to 8 pm, this bustling market was built on the ruins of an old convent called Sant Josep. In fact, this is where the full name, Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, originated from. Its origins go as far back as the 1200s and actually began as an open-air market. It wasn’t until the 1900s that the metal roof was inaugurated! You can read all about its history on the market’s web page.
Like any famous place in Barcelona, it can be hard to know the best way to experience it. That’s why we’ve compiled our top tips to visit to La Boqueria Market!
1. Avoid the rush
The market opens each day at 8 am, which is the perfect time to start to discover all this colorful institution has to offer. From about 11 am each morning, the market is filled with many tourists, making the experience a bit more crowded indeed, so the earlier you get there, the better.
Visiting in the evening is an option as well. All of the bars and restaurants usually take last orders at 8:15 pm, which not only means you’ll miss the major crowds, but it also increases your chances of grabbing a seat in the center of the action as the stalls begin to close for the day.
2. Eat like a local
Don’t go looking for a sit-down meal or expect to be waited on hand and foot here. It may be a tourist destination, but La Boqueria is still a market—and an insanely busy one at that! If you go with that in mind, you’ll be much more likely to enjoy it as it is meant to be enjoyed. Bustle through and grab a drink at a bar while waiting for a possibly somewhat more comfortable stool! Trust us when we say all of the best places will be crammed with people! So if you want to taste the best food, expect to wait for a little!
Local’s Tip: Jamón ibérico, the famous acorn-fed Spanish ham, can be quite expensive in any of the tapas bars dotted throughout the market. Instead of ordering it at a tapas bar, visit one of the stalls selling this delicacy and get it to go!
3. Forget about local prices
This is not your typical local, neighborhood market, so forget those prices! Enjoy the impeccable food stalls and take in all the fresh produce as you wander. But if you’re looking to truly shop for ingredients, we’d recommend another market in Barcelona.
And while the restaurants and bars may not be as cheap as those in other areas, they are by no means over-priced. The tapas bars within the market offer truly high quality, thoughtfully prepared dishes, making it a great option if you’d like to try some of the very best Barcelona has to offer. If there is just one of our top tips to visit La Boqueria Market that you take note of, make it this one!
4. Search for the best deals
The stalls at the front of the market, whose vendors pay higher rent, usually have higher prices than those at the back! So if you see something you fancy, have a wander down the aisles and try to pick it up deeper in the market!
Our expert local guide Victoria shares other top tips for visiting La Boqueria Market in the video below!
5. Eat some incredible food
Now that we have shared our best tips for success at La Boqueria, you might be wondering how to decide where to eat! Check out some of our top places to go for some of the finest seafood and tapas in La Boqueria.
After your trip to La Boqueria, come visit our favorite neighborhood market on our Tastes & Traditions of Barcelona Food Tour! Come along with us to meet the stallholders, sample tasty offerings and devour Barcelona alongside a passionate, local guide!