Sights to See in Barcelona - La Boqueria
It's a place of many names - La Boqueria, Mercat de Sant Josep, St.
Joseph's Market! It's all the same whatever name you use to describe it and the sights and smells will be the same. This
bustling conglomeration of food stalls, restaurants and tapas bars is one of Barcelona's most often visited attractions.
That last fact is all the more interesting since relatively few
tourists seek fresh produce on their wanderings. But here, at
La Boqueria, one can find that and a great deal more.
Set in a structure (shown above) built in 1840 La Boqueria is not
simply an artistic treasure, but a culinary one as well. The
sign itself, which you see above the entrance, a fine Catalonian
example of Art Nouveau, is well worth a look. The glass and iron enclosure comprises (and also
partially hides) a 19th century building that shares much with its
cousins throughout the city. Aspects of the market are still being
re-discovered even today. For example, several Ionic-style columns were
only uncovered in 2001 after a long absence.
But the art on display is parly in what is sold there, as well as where
it is sold. The endless palette of colors formed by artichokes,
oranges, carrots, ham and fish of all description requires a photograph
(or, better still, a visit) to truly convey the artistic value of the market itself.
Whether you're looking for an afternoon snack, a drink or just a
fascinating look at the best market in Europe, you could probably find
none finer than La Boqueria.
Anyone wanting to spend part, or all, of the day wander through La
Boqueria has a number of options. Seen from above it would resemble the
hub of a wheel with the spokes heading off in several directions.
At the center of the market are the fish sellers who offer an array of local species so fresh some of them are still wiggling. Barcelona is, after all, on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.
Wander in any direction and you'll run into mushroom stalls offering
some of the world's finest truffles.
Move one way and you'll see the juiciest cherries to be found anywhere
on the continent. Stroll the other way and you'll come upon zucchini so
fresh the blossoms are still attached.
A number of great bars and restaurants are set around the perimeter.
The Pinotxo (Pinocchio) is famed for its wide selection of drinks, its excellent
tapas and its extraordinary collection of bar stools. Can't say that
about many places. While you're there, don't miss seeing the ceramic portrait of the famed marionette character displayed there.
The El Quim de la Boqueria is another superb option. In
a city full of outstanding tapas bars, El Quim stands near the
pinnacle. The bar is full of great food, lively customers and sports a
happy atmosphere. Locals often dine there to enjoy the fresh squid for
The exterior of the market provides several interesting sights as well.
Just outside the entrance are animal stalls that sell birds, lizards
and other small pets.
La Boqueria is located in Barcelona about halfway between Carrer del Carme and Carrer de
l'Hospital, close to the Liceu
metro stop. It's not far from the famed cathedral, La
Seu, in the center of Barri Gotic (the Gothic Quarter).
St. Joseph's Market is open from early in the morning until late in the evening, but the liveliest times are going to be in the afternoon.
More Sights to See in Barcelona