There have been some pretty significant shifts in my travel style over the past several years. Instead of crashing in the cheapest hostel, in the largest dorm, I tend to opt for private rooms or apartment rentals. Rather than jumping from one mega metropolis to the next, I prefer spending more time immersed in a single place, from a small town to an up-and-coming neighbourhood.

Alongside these changes, a deep love for food has slowly begun to hijack my entire travel experience. From street food to fine dining, I’ve been excited to discover the many ways that food (and drink) create entry points to local culture and opportunities to meet new people. And while this is all possible in restaurants, and perhaps even more so in the local bar (though perhaps less memorable), I find that markets are really the hub for this type of culinary anthropology.

Recently, I booked a trip to Spain with the sole purpose of exploring its cuisine (read: eating and drinking). While my co-traveller already shared part of this of this experience, which included a jamón-fuelled trek through Madrid, and an incredible road trip through Spain’s Basque region where we had the great pleasure of sampling traditional basquaise cuisine and (over)indulging in pinxtos (basically bite size tapas), these experiences only reinforced a love for Spanish cuisine that I initially discovered years ago when visiting Barcelona’s La Boqueria market.

Barcelona’s Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, or simply La Boqueria, is one of the world’s top markets and an institution in Spain with roots dating back to 1217 when butchers installed tables near the old city gates to sell meat. Today, with hundreds of proprietors specializing in cured meats, fresh seafood, traditional and unique cheeses, and local fruits and vegetables, La Boqueria is a food lover’s paradise. What’s more, you almost can’t miss it as you stroll down Las Ramblas, Barcelona’s main pedestrian street.

As part of our recent food-driven Spanish road trip, I had a chance to revisit the market I fell in love with years ago. And while photos are a terrible substitute for a market defined as much by taste and smell as colour and composition, I hope these will at least wet your appetite for Barcelona’s incredible culinary culture. With that, here are a few photos of Barcelona’s La Boqueria market.

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Photos by JP Bervoets