La Boqueria… what?
The moment you begin your visit in Barcelona, you start planning your next visit. Barcelona has so much to offer! There is no way even a whole week of site seeing could cover all the interesting spots. So what could be done when you have only a day or two? How can you choose which more-or-less famous places to visit? There is of course the Gothic Quarter and there are Gaudi’s works of architectural genius… but there are so many others.
I loved seeing the famous Sagrada Familia (it is not overrated, it truly is a masterpiece), ancient buildings and more quiet but fascinating streets of Gràcia… But the place that surprised me the most with its vibrant personality and loud presence was… a food market. Doesn’t sound all that grandiose, huh? I would say that this market should be on your itinerary even if you are vising Barcelona for just one or two days.
An unusual tourist hot-spot: a food market!
Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, or just La Boqueria for short, is simply a public food market. You will find it by the very famous La Rambla street, which is in itself a tourist attraction. It is located pretty close to the Liceu, Barcelona’s opera house (and the nearest metro station!).
Hundreds of years of La Boqueria’s history
History of this market reaches 13th century when there were first market held in that spot. Some suggest, that the current name of La Boqueria comes from the Catalan word boc meaning “goat”, for goat meat was sold at that place.
For many years the market was simply an open-air unofficial spot for fishmongers,
butchers and farmers to come and sell their goods in front of one of the city gates. It was only in the 19th c. that the metal structure for the market was constructed, while the current roof comes from the beginning of the 20th c.
La Boqueria today
With time La Boqueria has continued to change – the improvements were related to sanitary issues as well as decorative. Its colorful, loud and vibrant presence became a strong part of Barcelona’s life – and a must site to visit for tourists. No one can walk by and be not moved by the orgy of colors, smells and sounds.
La Boqueria: between goat’s eyes and fresh strawberries
Wherever you turn something screams for your attention. You can find every kind of food there: fruits and vegetables artistically presented to the passers-by, ready to eat cocktails and fruit salads, every kind of sea food, meat and offal possible, herbs, delicatessen and nuts, pastries and breads, the famous hams and chorizo, wine and ice cream… There are even restaurants there!
Have your camera ready!
When I walked between the various stalls my eyes were moving fast from one image to the other. Fish eyes to huge knives in fishmonger’s hands, juicy red fruits to sea food of unknown to me name (was it even edible?), huge hams, beef stomachs and eggs, cheeses, sweets and broccoli and … thousands of other things.
The best time to visit Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria is in the morning. Plan you visit to just look around or buy for yourself fresh fruit juice, snacks or drop by for a quick and unique lunch. Just make sure you don’t forget your camera!
Have you been to Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria? What were your impressions? Would you love to go? Let me know below!