Last Updated: 11/07/2017
It goes without saying that the Ramblas street in Barcelona is one of the most iconic landmarks in this colorful city, and one that should be atop everyone’s list of places to visit when taking a trip to the Catalan capital. This famous 1.2km avenue is said to be a dry riverbed that once marked the limits of medieval Barcelona. Today, Las Ramblas is as synonymous with Barcelona as ‘Gaudí’ and ‘Freddie Mercury’, and the official stats reflect its popularity, with an estimated 7.5 million tourists visiting this amazing avenue annually.
Situated in the heart of Barcelona, this bustling vein of the city, also referred to as ‘La Rambla’, divides the Old Town into the historic Gothic Quarter and the super-chic Raval. It is actually made up of five different streets joined together, with Plaça Catalunya at the top and Port Vell at the bottom. And while it may be considered a ‘tourist trap’ to locals, this avenue does have its own charm with endless outdoor cafes, quirky street performers and lush trees lining the walkway.
So, become a ‘ramblista’ (one who strolls along the Ramblas) for a day and check out a few of our favorite spots along this Barcelona street.
The Boqueria Market in Barcelona is probably the most famous sight along the Ramblas. It is renowned for its colorful displays of succulent fruit, fresh seafood and delicious veggies as well as some of the very best spices and candy in town. When visiting the Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria (to give it its full name), we recommend you grab a sweet smoothie or a freshly squeezed juice as you meander through the market stalls, or even stop at one of the many tapas bars that can be found inside the market such as ‘El Quim’.
The beautiful Liceu Theater has stood on Las Ramblas since 1847 and is one of the biggest opera houses in Europe. The theater has suffered numerous setbacks in its time including a bomb attack and several fires, but still remains to be one of Barcelona’s most important culture and arts centers. From opera to ballet shows, the stage of the Liceu Theater has been graced by some of history’s most popular shows such as the Nutcracker and Madame Butterfly. If you just want to take a look around, access to the Concert Hall, the Saló dels Miralls and the foyer, as well as the Cercle del Liceu, a private club that shares the building with the Opera House and houses a collection of works by Ramon Casas, is available.
The Wax Museum in Barcelona offers an intriguing insight into all things Spanish, from history to cinema, and literature to fantasy. Get an up-close look at the long-standing tradition of Flamenco, or shake hands with Pablo Picasso. However you choose to spend your time at the Museu de Cera, we do recommend making a quick stop at El Bosc de les Fades Café, which adjoins the museum. Translated as the ‘forest of the fairies’, this magical joint is a great place to unwind, as you find yourself surrounded by gnomes and mystical creatures in this unforgettable Barcelona theme bar.
Walking the length of this Barcelona boulevard may leave your tummy grumbling, so for a bite to eat, you’ll have your pick of cafés and restaurants lining Las Ramblas – perfect for a spot of people-watching! For dinner, we recommend heading to Tablao Cordobés. A Barcelona staple since 1970, this restaurant serves traditional Spanish and Catalan food as well as a buffet. What’s more, this charming restaurant doubles as one of the best places to catch a Flamenco show in Barcelona, so go on, grab a glass of Sangria and make a truly Spanish night of it. ¡Olé!
Whether you’re in search of the perfect souvenir, or browsing some high-fashion labels, the stores on Las Ramblas will definitely have something for you. With everything from Gaudí-inspired trinkets to official FC Barcelona gear, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to picking the perfect present for those back home. We suggest heading into Custo for some seriously special designs unique to Barcelona.
The legendary street performers on Las Ramblas are well worth a photo or two. From angels to demons to famous faces like Alice in Wonderland’s Mad Hatter, these living statues will have you jumping, laughing and staring in amazement as you amble along this avenue.
By now you will have noticed the various stalls on Barcelona’s most famous path. From street artists and caricaturists to hamsters and flower arrangements, the stalls of Las Ramblas are odd yet intriguing and we guarantee you’ll find some unusual purchases at these unconventional huts.
As in most large European cities, where there are tourists, there are pickpockets. This is one of the top complaints about Las Ramblas, but that does not mean that you can’t enjoy all of the wonders of the street without leaving your wallet behind. Here are some tips to avoid falling victim to the old cutpurses:
– Always wear backpacks/handbags on your front and check all zips are closed
– Never leave your bag on the back of your chair or on the floor while eating
– Avoid keeping belongings in your back pockets
– If someone asks you to sign a petition, ask to see their badge – this may be a distraction technique
By renting one of the many Ramblas apartments in Barcelona, you will have the chance to experience all of the charm and endless activities that occur up and down this famed boulevard! What’s more, being centrally located means that you will enjoy easy access to all of the sights in and around the Catalan capital. And don’t forget to sip water from the iconic Font de Canaletes, an old fountain located at the top of Las Ramblas. Local legend holds that those who do are sure to return to Barcelona, and who wouldn’t want to?
Check out Apartment Barcelona’s video guide to this bustling avenue right in the heart of the city!