The Boqueria Market in Barcelona
Boqueria. This is a word that every local living in Barcelona will recognise. If you stop someone on the street and ask them where the Boqueria is, they will, without a doubt, point in its general direction and tell you it’s worth a visit.
Last weekend I went to Barcelona to see the places I hadn’t been before and the Boqueria was one of them. ‘La Boqueria’, as it is called here, is an open food market in the heart of Barcelona that has a wide range of food stalls ranging from fruit and vegetable stalls, butchers, bakeries and fresh fish stands. It has been around since the 1200s and has, for several decades, provided Barcelonans with a place to shop for a wide range of products.
For those who haven’t been to Barcelona, it is important to know that it is the largest city in Catalonia, the autonomous region of North East Spain. Currently there are several million tourists that visit this city each year. Being a tourist myself, I booked myself into a hostel and headed up Las Ramblas - the main strip that runs through the centre of the city. It is off Las Ramblas that I stumbled into the Boqueria, which drew me in with its vivid colours, and irresistible smells.
What I discovered was that the Boqueria is much more than a market. People do not only go to the Boqueria for buying fresh food products but also to meet their friends in one of the many Tapas bars that are scattered around the area. Tapas are traditional Spanish appetisers that are found in most bars and are often served alongside a ‘Canya’ (a small beer) or a glass of ‘Vino Tinto’ (red wine). The Boqueria is a place to bring people together and share the experience of a small town market in a large city such as Barcelona.
When the weather is sunny there is generally a huge crowd of people walking around, drinking and eating and pushing past one another to buy the freshest and cheapest food. The chattering of friends and yelling of market sellers truly adds to the vibrant atmosphere of the market. If you ever decide to travel to Barcelona, do not give the Boqueria a miss; and whilst you are there don’t forget to try the fresh fruit juice for 1.50 Euros (Bargain!)
For more information you can check out the website of the Boqueria that also has an English version.