A first stop for most visitors to Barcelona, La Rambla (more commonly known as Las Ramblas) is a heartbeat of the city, with lively vendors, restaurants and tons of things to see!
Las Ramblas is approximately 1.2 km long, connecting the central Plaça Catalunya with Port Vell and the Christopher Colombus statue. The Plaça Catalunya is one of the most central stops in the plaza and a common spot for tourists to begin their visit, as this is the last stop on the bus that connects the airport to the city. The Port Vell is the beginning of the harbor area, where you can find the cruise ship terminal as well as a bridge that connects to the newer development areas of the city including the aquarium.
If you are walking down Las Ramblas from the north (Plaça Catalunya) there are opportunities to veer off to various other neighborhoods in the city including two of the oldest in the city, Raval and Barri Gòtic. On the right side is the Raval area, a diverse immigrant section full of bars, nightclubs and cabarets and on the left the Barri Gòtic (or Gothic Quarter), the center of the old city of Barcelona.
What To See On Las Ramblas
In all honesty it’s hard to answer this question. The possibilities are endless! The central area of the street is pedestrian, with two small lanes on either side. Each day you’ll find thousands of locals, tourists and all that’s in between walking up and down Las Ramblas. There are tons of little stands selling anything from FC Barcelona football jerseys to small souvenirs to artwork to live flowers.
There are tons of little restaurants along the way, all advertising an enticing plate of tapas with an “authentic Spanish Sangria”. I would recommend not to eat on Las Ramblas, however, no matter how good the food sounds. The prices are typically higher and the quality much lower. If you venture out a little in either direction you can find tons of little places with a higher value for lower cost.
A bit expensive, but a cool place to stop is the La Boqueria market. This is an authentic food market, dating back to the 1300s, which has tons of fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, cheeses, grains, sweets and little tapas bars and places for a quick snack.
Also make sure to see the live statues that frequent Las Ramblas, especially on the south end. If you put a little money in their cup they will do a “performance”. Some really gather a crowd too!
Near the Liceu Theatre there is also a piece by Miró. It is a large circular colored mosaic tiling that is right in the center of the walkway. If you look closely you can find one tile signed by Miró himself.
Safety Along Las Ramblas
There are many kinds of people you’ll find along Las Ramblas. This includes pickpockets and thieves on the lookout for unsuspecting tourists excited about their trip. Keep your bags in front of you, even if you have a backpack. If someone comes to talk to you proceed with caution. Especially be careful in areas where it gets really crowded because the pickpockets can easily reach into your pockets without you realizing!