Mercat de la Boqueria is a large open air market located directly off of Las Ramblas, the famous and very popular boulevard in Barcelona, Spain. The market is impressive in size, many small alleyways with hundreds of booths selling anything from seafood to spices. Small restaurants line the sides where patrons can enjoy tapas and other spanish delicacies, although said restaurants appeared to be closed when I returned to the market on a week day.
I am quite the foodie, so of course I was immediately smitten with the place. I purchased a small bag of candied nuts and was immediately in love. I munched on them as I perused the many stalls, admiring the delicious fresh produce and eyeing the meat stalls with some apprehension; some had whole pigs hanging! La Boqueria was loud and crowded and colorful, fragrant with all sorts of different smells, some delicious and others what I could only describe as interesting.
I would definitely recommend spending an hour or two wandering La Boqueria and sampling the various foods, although shopping there on a regular basis would probably start to but a strain on your finances. While everything I saw at the market seemed to be high quality, what was also high were the prices. We are staying in an apartment in the L'Eixample district of Barcelona, and very close to us is a smaller, far less touristy open-air market named Mercat Ninot. Although it's not nearly as famous and the selection isn't nearly as broad, I found the prices to be a bit more agreeable, and it's close proximity to our place results in my going there every morning to buy fresh bread and whatnot for breakfast. The moral here is that you should definitely go to La Boqueria for the experience, but if you're looking to stock up on food for your stay you should probably search out more economical options.
I was able to buy the spices needed to make traditional Spanish Paella, a dish I've had several times despite only having been in Barcelona a few days. I can't wait to learn how to make it properly in the Spanish cooking class I'm going to take with my mom!
Have you been to La Boqueria? What are your thoughts?