El mercado de la Boquería: origin and traditions

If you come to visit Barcelona, even if you spend only one weekend, one of the places you can’t miss is the El Mercado de la Boqueria. La Boqueria opens every day from 6am to 8pm and has free admission. The market is one of the best markets in the Word, not just because the fresh ingredients and cooked foods available are impressive, but also because it is a space that has remained almost intact over time. The history of the Mercat de la Boqueria begins in the year 1840 when the place we know today was first inaugurated. 

The origin of the name of this market is related to the Catalan language. The University of Barcelona says that the name is related to the kid meat that was sold abundantly in this market. The word “goatling” in Catalan is “boc” and, from there, it changed to La Boqueria, that is to say, the market where kid is sold. Nowadays at the market, there are more tourists, than Barcelona local people shopping.



It has more than 200 food stalls, offering fruits, seafood and drinks, but since it is a tourist attraction, you can also enjoy typical tapas, paella and pizza. There are restaurants and bars built that are perfect to take a break. One of the best traditional restaurants in La Boqueria is El Quim, very famous for the fresh products and the quality of the dishes that offers. If you want to visit it, you should go for lunch, because it closes at 4pm during the week and at 5pm during the weekend.  

The key to La Boqueria’s success is that although the space is owned by the Ajuntament, the stalls pass down from generation to generation favouring a commitment to the tradition. Secondly, the market is internally administrated so it is run by the stallholders with the stallholders’ interests in mind. The stallholders take great pride of their stalls and their products and that is no surprise, preparing their working places takes couple of hours every day.

From beautiful fresh seafood to meats and jamon, to fruits and vegetables galore, to spices, nuts, and dry ingredients, you can spend hours browsing through the colorful walkways of La Boqueria. The only down site to mention here is that you have to be careful with your belongings; given that it can get really crowded sometimes.

It doesn´t matter if you are visiting Barcelona for the weekend or you have been living here for some years now, the Mercat de la Boqueria is a great place to visit, eat, take amazing pictures and have fun with friends and family. Want to learn how to order food in Spanish? Check our page with basic vocabulary. ¡Bon appetit!

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