I have been lucky enough to be able to visit Barcelona four times, and each time one of the first stops I make after dropping off my bags is La Boqueria market.
This market dates back to the early 13th century when meat stalls were set up near the old gate to the city. Starting in 1470 pigs were sold at this site and the market was known as Mercat de la Palla (Straw Market) until 1794.
La Boqueria began as an extension of another market between two plazas. In 1826 the market became legally recognized and a convention was held which decided to build an official place for the market.
Construction began in March 1840 under the direction of the architect Mas Vilà and the market officially opened later that year. The market went through many changes throughout the year including the opening of the fish market in 1911 and the addition of the (still standing) metal roof in 1914.
I recommend, at least for your first trip, to go close to when the market opens. During the late morning and early afternoon the market is PACKED and it’s difficult to enjoy when you are being pushed around by crowds of people. I arrived at 10am during my last visit which was a perfect time for a light snack.
One of my favorite things about the market is the fruit salads and fresh fruit juice that you can buy at almost all the fruit stands. My recommendation is not to buy from the stands right by the door, because they are a little more expensive. The juices are the same from all the stands so there is no reason to pay 2€ from the stands at the front when a few stands back you can get some for 1€.
With your juice in hand you are ready to explore the rest of the market. There are stands that sell bread and pastries, meat, cheese, fish, sweets, prepared foods and even a few tapas bars are hidden in the market.
I love going to the market on days when going to a restaurant just doesn't appeal to me. You can get a full meal for under 10€ here. I like to get a fruit salad, some juice and then a salad from Puerto Latino which has a lot of vegetarian food for around 3€. They also have empanadas and burritos. All very delicious. J
For the non-vegetarians you can get paper cones filled with the world famous jamón ibérico or Spanish chorizo.
The market is located close to the bottom of The Rambla. I prefer to walk down from the Catalunya metro stop at the top of The Rambla, but the Liceu metro stop is literally right outside the market. It’s open from 8:00am-8:30pm Monday through Saturday, closed on Sunday. When you visit Barcelona don’t miss out on this amazing foodie paradise!