La Boqueria market
The famous street city centre mercat, where colourful stacks of fruits and vegetables are piled next to herbs, meats, cheese and fish stands. Wander further back to the butcher stands to see frighteningly fresh sausage, beef, and poultry. The seafood, from snails to razor clams and salmon, is always a first-rate buy. Gelato and fruit juice as well as unique sweets are also sold. For an excellent pastry, tuck off to one of the side street patisseries where lower rent sometimes means more authentic. Just outside the main covered market, on the north side, you'll find a small farmer's market, whose prices are often very competitive.
Make sure to keep wallets and other valuables somewhere safe as pickpockets are known to join the throngs.
Metro: Catalunya: L1 & L3; Liceu: L3
Insider's tip: although La Boqueria is certainly worth a look, Barcelona has a lot of other neighbourhood markets that shouldn't be forgotten. Though smaller, you will get an authentic local experience with a wander through. Santa Caterina near the cathedral has recently been restored and has an impressive tiled roof along with stalls and stalls of local produce. For details of all the city's markets, click here
Formatgeria La Seu
Cheese lovers rejoice, this is shop specialises in Spanish farmhouse cheeses. Goats' milk cheese from Zamora and Pasiego from Cantabria are sold and can be tasted with a glass of wine for only a few euros. Stop by for cheese and a chat with the Scottish owner at a shop that prides itself on its selection and reputation.
Dagueria 16, Tel. 93 412 6548, www.formatgegerialaseu.com
Open: 10am-2pm, 5-8pm Tues-Thurs; 10am-3.30pm, 5-8pm Fri & Sat. (Closed in August)
Metro: Jaume 1: L4
Every year on May 11th, Barcelona celebrates Sant Ponç, patron saint of beekeepers and herbalists. An extensive outdoor market on Carrer d’Hospital (in the Raval) offers multiple flavours of honeys, beeswax candles, herbs, candied fruit and perfumes.
Barcelona Gourmet Food and La Boqueria Walking Tour
A two hour walking tour that includes La Boqueria, as well as Tostaderos Casa Gispert, a roasted coffee and nut shop in business since 1851 and still using the same wood-burning oven. A variety of shops specialising in pastries, chocolate and wine are also on the route. Samplings of fruits, wine and tapas are included in the price. The tour embarks on Fridays and Saturdays.
www.viator.com/ours/barcelona, Price: €18 for adult, €7 for children
Penedès wine and cava region
A simple day trip out of Barcelona is the Penedès area where a wide range of wine is made, with white wine and sparkling cava being specialities. Various of the wine-producing companies are open to the public, letting you tour their installations and, of course, try their wares. Just one word of warning: although it is possible to take the train down to this area, it is much better to go by car as the vineyards are spread out and most are out of town. Of course, if you do take a car, you'll need a designated non-drinking driver, which is rather cruel on a wine tour.
A selection of vineyards to visit:
Torres—Tel. 93 817 7487
Blancher—Tel. 93 818 3286
Nadal—Tel. 93 898 8011
Mas Tinell—Tel. 93 817 0586
Cava San Martín—Tel. 93 898 8274
Masía Pere Rius—Tel. 93 891 8274
For full information about the area, visit the website of the region's tourist board here
Best to avoid:
the Chocolate Museum. It's small and shockingly, doesn't offer free chocolate samples.