La Rambla (or Les Rambles) is Barcelona’s main drag and best known street. It runs down the center of Ciutat Vella (dividing the Raval and Barri Gòtic) and bustles with life, music, and commerce.
Beginning at Plaça Catalunya and running into the Mediterranean Sea, this pedestrian promenade is popularly thought of as a single street when in fact it is made up of 5 separate rambles. It’s full of street performers, artists, flower and animal (mostly bird) vendors, temporary art fairs and so much more. It’s also known to be an ideal spot for pick-pockets and extraordinarily overpriced eateries, so be careful.
Although it can get quite crowded, La Rambla is one of the best places for people-watching.
There are a few key spots really worth checking out:
La Boqueria (Mercat de Sant Josep), the most famous market in Barcelona, is a great (though packed) place to find an endless variety of cheap fresh food and hidden tapas bars.
The Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona’s 1847 grand opera house that’s been rebuilt several times due to fire damage (both technically in El Raval district since they’re on the Western side of La Rambla).
Monument A Colom (Monument to Columbus), although the background story may be more interesting than the monument itself (erected for the 1888 Universal Exhibition as a tribute to Columbus’ return from the Americas, and said to point at the Americas, he’s actually pointing towards Libya). Take the elevator ride to the top of the monument for an amazing view of the city.
Simply put, La Rambla is impossible to define and each trip is completely different from the last, which is maybe why it has its own verb in Catalan, ramblejar, roughly meaning going to La Rambla and rambling around.
Details: Check out the lesser-known Plaça Vila de Madrid, adjacent to La Rambla, to see part of an ancient Roman cemetery. And look for a vacation rental apartment that is away from the crowds of La Rambla. Private Access Journeys can help you find a comfortable homebase.