Five things only Catalans know about La Boqueria market
Every year, the vibrant stalls and bustling atmosphere of La Boqueria market raise it to the top of Barcelona’s list of must-see landmarks. However, for those skeptical of what this thriving commercial hub can offer, here are five lesser-known facts about the most iconic market in Spain, and even Europe.
The fact that locals have been coming to the same place to buy and sell their wares for over 800 years, should be enough to persuade you to pay La Boqueria a visit. By 1217, folk from the hinterlands were selling meat at the city gates and, in some ways, the market hasn’t changed all that much. Today, you can still find many butchers stalls offering traditional delicacies such as jamón ibérico and spiced chorizo, delivered into Barcelona from the surrounding countryside.
More intrepid explorers should try hunting down one particular stand that exclusively sells the meat of fighting bulls, the toro. These steaks are considered a speciality, with old-timers believing that the energy, the power and even the sexual prowess (depending on what part you eat - enough said!) of the animal, is passed on to the lucky consumer. Myth or reality, the meat is favored by select gourmet chefs in Barcelona for its singular succulence.
Speaking of chefs, if you get up early - due to jet lag, young kids or sheer vacation excitement - you might find yourself browsing the many stalls alongside local cooks. Indeed, nearby restaurants favor the market for its fresh and quality stock of ingredients, and send their head chefs to source their top of the range products. If you overhear haggling in rapid, amicable Catalan between the vendor and customer, it is likely the best choice to buy your own produce from. (Top tip: delve deep into the market to find the finest merchandise, and always compare prices between the various stalls).
One of the most striking attributes of the market is its enormous steel roof that shelters clients and sellers alike. This impressive feat of design was the brain-product of Catalan architect Antoni de Falguera in 1914, though it’s hard to imagine how the market fared under the Mediterranean sun before then. Remember to look up as you enter to get a glimpse of the coat of arms of Barcelona, proudly emblazoned above its visitors’ heads in stained glass.
Last but not least, a practical tip for all market-goers, the rear of the site opens out into a sun-kissed square with plenty of benches. This is Plaça de la Gardunya, often missed by tourists, but the ideal place to escape the crowds for a brief respite, and enjoy your goodies. Armed with this recondite information, enter La Boqueria with useful and fascinating insights, that will hopefully enhance your shopping experience.
la Boqueria Market
Open: 8am to 8:30pm
Days: Monday to Saturday
Closed on Sundays, partially open on Wednesday afternoons and NO fish market (one the great things to experience!) on Mondays
Our favorite stands for eats:
Pinotxo Bar - the shear cultural experience of real locals only enhances the great food. Look out for Joselito the bow tie wearing septuagenarian owner!
Bar Central - located at the very back of the market this family owned and run restaurant specializing in seafood.
E-Slice: - a favorite with kids and adults this stall makes excellent pizza by the slice warm out of the oven!
Sara Siddeeq: Born and raised in Buckinghamshire (England), Sara is a recent graduate from the University of Leeds. She primarily works in digital marketing and PR, however she is also a journalist in Barcelona, contributing to over half a dozen websites in the city alone.