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22 September 2015 / leggypeggy

Barcelona’s main market full of delectables

Barcelona market stall

Standard fruits and vegetables

Barcelona market exotic fruits

Exotic fruits from all over the world

Our first full day in Barcelona had us walking down La Rambla, a main street in the centre of town that’s popular with tourists and locals alike.

It’s only 1.2 kilometres long, but packed with shops, cafés, kiosks, souvenir sellers, pickpockets (we were warned) and, supposedly, sex workers, although we didn’t notice them.

Luckily, Poor John’s eagle eye did spot the city’s most well-known local market. Formally known as the Merkat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, it’s more often referred to as La Boqueria.

Aurélie, our hostess in Barcelona, had marked it on the map for us as a must-see destination, so we were delighted to come upon it almost by chance.

Chillies in Barcelona

Didn’t expect to see chillies. The sign said no photos, so I had to.

So in we went and were immediately struck by the overwhelming diversity of goods and the overall cleanliness of the place.

Usually in a market, you’ll see crushed cardboard boxes and other packaging, fruit and vegetable peelings, loose plastic bags, general grime and an array of other debris.

La Boqueria was spotless. Poor John and I could have eaten our lunch off the floor. But I have to admit that we didn’t eat lunch there. The meals looked good, but most of the diners were foreigners and we decided that the eateries might be a bit of a tourist trap—over-priced for what you get. We did buy a stick of cold cuts to sample.

But we marveled at the sheer variety of goods on offer, and it was the locals who were buying the produce.

I saw a few items I’d never seen before in markets, mostly in the line of seafood, charcuterie (cold meats) and mushrooms. There were special snails and barnacles, and cold cuts and mushrooms with names I’ve never seen. And it wasn’t just a matter of language difference. I may not know a lot of Spanish or Catalan, but I know most of the food names.

The market could have entertained me for hours and I could have spent lots of euros, but we only had a few days in Barcelona, so Poor John hustled me on at the first opportunity. Well, maybe the second or third.

And later we got a nice enough three-course lunch for a little less than the asking price for a simple meal in the market.

Barcelona La Boqueria

Over the entrance at Barcelona’s La Boqueria

A bit of background on the market
History shows that a market has been operating near Barcelona’s old city gate since—are you ready for it?—1217. That market sold meat. A pig market opened in 1470, and more changes happened regularly over the years.

The first market on La Rambla came in the early 1800s, and it was officially recognized by 1826. Construction on the current site began in 1840. Heaps of changes have taken place since then, but the existing metal roof was added in 1914, so it’s just over 100 years old.

Spanish recipes
My cooking blog has a couple of popular Spanish recipes—Spanish mussels and Escalavida (Spanish-roasted vegetables). I hope you’ll give them a try.

Barcelona, cold cuts

Charcuterie (cold cuts)


Leave a Comment
  1. Dorothy / Sep 22 2015 7:30 am

    Wow what a colourful display, I would be afraid to pick a piece of fruit for my basket in case I caused an avalanche!



    • leggypeggy / Sep 22 2015 3:14 pm

      I think the proprietors know about that risk. Many won’t let you select your own purchases—they choose for you. Although you can point and suggest.


  2. kayuk / Sep 22 2015 11:54 am

    There is humor everywhere…I wonder why they didn’t want you to take photos of chilis??


    • leggypeggy / Sep 22 2015 3:13 pm

      Probably because they’re the only chillies in the whole marketplace. So you know it meant I had to.


  3. priyankamoraes / Sep 22 2015 4:17 pm

    A burst of colours ! Loved the chillies and the fact that you went ahead and got a shot . Reminds me of a market in Goa . Loved the post !


    • leggypeggy / Sep 23 2015 5:35 am

      Thanks. The ‘no photos’ sign only egged me on to take a photo. Glad I did and glad you liked it.


  4. Jane / Sep 22 2015 4:56 pm

    I love fresh food markets anyway but as you say these look so clean and wow, the colours and variety! I’m slowly learning Spanish with my daughter as on my father’s side there is one line of Spanish ancestors and I was thinking of walking the famous Camino one day. I’m looking forward to checking out these kind of markets. Mind you, if they over-priced I’ll probably just be looking and not buying. Great pics, Peggy! They make me hungry. 🙂


    • leggypeggy / Sep 23 2015 5:36 am

      How exciting to have Spanish ancestors. I admit to being a little jealous.
      As for the markets—look for the bargains. The big, fancy city markets will be pricey, but the country and small towns ones aren’t.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Andrew Petcher / Sep 22 2015 5:16 pm

    I liked it but I remember that it was terribly expensive and you had to be constantly on the look out for pickpockets!


    • leggypeggy / Sep 23 2015 5:38 am

      Luckily all my travel clothes have zippered pockets, so pickpockets aren’t much of a threat. The price gougers in the stalls have to be reckoned with, but that’s easy too. We didn’t buy anything. 🙂


  6. lmo58 / Sep 22 2015 5:48 pm

    Peggy, they’re the most aesthetically beautiful markets you’ve ever posted. The colours are all so fresh and vibrant! I’ll have some of those gorgeous-looking figs thank you. I need a fairly urgent favour when you get back so have sent you an email. Please reply when you can.


    • leggypeggy / Sep 23 2015 5:39 am

      I love the colour, smells and bustle of the markets. P.S. I didn’t get your email, so you should re-send.


  7. joylovestravel / Sep 22 2015 8:19 pm

    Love this market – glad you ignored that sign, the pictures are wonderful.


  8. Traditionally Modern Food / Sep 23 2015 6:41 am

    Colors speaks a lot..grt pictures


  9. Sy S. / Sep 23 2015 9:21 am

    “Food Glorious Food” that is why Peggy loves to cook and eat…. and take pics. I can’t understand why so many places are against picture taking? Like the few you took at the Merkat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria “La Boqueria.” I can understand a unique design layout of a store/vendor display or perhaps some workers are not citizens or undocumented workers? Anyway, your photos are beautiful and colorful especially of the red hot chili’s. And wonderful that the markets are ‘spot clean.’ I would also go eat outside these expensive market areas and go to local small restaurant/street stand.

    Hungry Sy “sighing” that he is so far away from La Boqueria


    • leggypeggy / Sep 23 2015 4:00 pm

      Signs for ‘no photos’ puzzle me too. All through Africa they didn’t want us to take photos of police stations or border crossings. I figured it must be because I might mistakenly get an image of someone sleeping on the job.


  10. blondieaka / Sep 23 2015 4:27 pm

    Wow so colourful and not seen so many chillies all photos indeed 🙂 A girl after my own heart cos I would have taken one 🙂


    • leggypeggy / Sep 23 2015 5:57 pm

      Sometimes I respect ‘no photos’ signs, but rarely if I can get away with it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • blondieaka / Sep 23 2015 6:33 pm

        And why not it’s different if it’s building or art work but food in a market mmmm crazy 🙂


      • leggypeggy / Sep 24 2015 4:47 am

        Yep, crazy.


  11. Curious to the Max / Sep 28 2015 8:40 am

    I’m glad you “no speak sign” as the photos are magnificent.


  12. fitnessgrad / Aug 1 2016 8:40 am

    I have chosen to nominate you for the 3 day quote challenge, you may choose to accept or decline. The link provided will have the details:


    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Aug 1 2016 1:17 pm

      Thanks Shay-lon, how kind of you to think of me. Unfortunately, I will have to decline. Because we travel so much and are often with a good connection, I have had to keep my blog award-free and challenge-free. But it is so nice of you to nominate me. Thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Vicki / Aug 23 2018 8:50 pm

    I enjoyed this post (and photos) first time I read it, but it was just as enjoyable on the second viewing tonight. Now my Goddaughter is engaged to a Catalonian and living not far from here in Barcelona, I’ll look forward to hearing her take on this market one day.

    (She’s got a 3 year contract with London’s British Library to bring in some income so she and Marc will be crisscrossing the Channel back and forth between the 2 cities for some time into the future. Wedding is early 2019, which I can’t attend of course. So, what do you buy this much travelled couple for a wedding present is my quandary 🙂 )

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Aug 23 2018 9:22 pm

      Oh gosh, what to suggest? I like to give unexpected gifts. Some of the past ones have been (lavishness has depended upon how close I am to the bride or groom) a cookbook, a visitor’s book and a fancy pen, napkins and two engraved napkin rings, a set of cutlery (this is my most special gift and reserved for family), a subscription to a cookery magazine (such as delicious), or a decent kitchen knife or set of knives. Nothing else comes to mind right now.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. barkinginthedark / Sep 12 2018 1:29 pm


    Liked by 1 person


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