City of tapas, architecture and football

La Rambla

General Information

La Rambla Boulevard, Barcelona’s most renowned street, cuts right through the heart of the city center from Plaça de Catalunya down to the Port Vell area and it makes the border between the Gothic Quarter and El Raval neighborhood. The name “Rambla” is derived from the Arabic rimaal, meaning ‘sands’ and in its place there used to be a dried up riverbed before it became the most important promenade of Barcelona.

La Rambla is one of the most central and visited places of the city. It owes its popularity to the many exhibits, live performances and other street events (especially during the summer), but also to its many shops and historic landmark buildings, such as the Gran Teatre del Liceu, the world-renowned La Boqueria Market, the Palau de la Virreina and the Mirador de Colom (the Columbus Monument).



History of La Rambla

The place of today’s La Rambla Boulevard was initially occupied by a seasonal river that washed down the spring and autumn rain water streaming from the nearby Collserola Mountains. When the city was founded by the romans, this torrent river was used as one of the city limits. The stream eventually dried up when the water supply was cut and diverted by the new city walls that were expanded to enclose El Raval and thus the dusty riverbed of La Rambla started to be used as a walkway which developed into one of Barcelona’s city life centers.

There are many landmarks of real historical value on this boulevard, such as the old building of the university transformed today into a theatre, and even the first clock of Barcelona can be found on this street. However, the majority of the buildings seen today were built during the 19th century, after most of the monasteries that were occupying the land facing El Raval were demolished (for additional information – History of Barcelona). Today the area is mostly dedicated to shopping and entertainment activities.

Things To Do in La Rambla

Besides the historical attractions, the strong side of the avenue is its everyday bustling life that emerges from the many flower shops, clothing stores, coffee shops, and as well as from live street performances and events, exhibitions, artists that draw portraits for tourists and human statue performers.

Adjacent to La Rambla are two of the top tourist landmarks of Barcelona – Plaça Reial, with its beautiful porticoes and the La Boqueria food market, a worldwide foodie heaven. Other established attractions are the Gran Teatre del Liceu, the Museu de Cera (Wax Museum) and the Museu Marítim de Barcelona (Maritime Museum).

At the southern end of La Rambla, near Port Vell, stands Mirador de Colom (Columbus Monument), built in memory of Christopher Columbus, who became one of the heroes of the city when he chose to disembark first in the port of Barcelona on his return from America.

The nearby Port Vell is a good option to consider visiting after exploring La Rambla, as it is an area with many restaurants and many shopping opportunities offered by the Maremagnum Shopping Center. The Aquarium Barcelona is also located nearby.

Main Parts of La Rambla

La Rambla is separated into five areas:

  1. La Rambla de Canaletes – this is the North section of La Rambla right next to Plaça de Catalunya. It is named after the Font de Canaletes, a famous symbolic iron fountain.
  2. La Rambla dels Estudis – it is named after the old University of Barcelona building, the Estudi General.
  3. La Rambla de Sant Josep – is so called because of a convent that once stood where La Boqueria market is now placed. It is also known as La Rambla de les Flors.
  4. La Rambla dels Caputxins (also La Rambla del Centre) – it is the busiest section of the boulevard. The name derives from an old Capuchin monastery that like all monasteries in the area no longer exists.
  5. La Rambla de Santa Mònica – this part ends La Rambla proper with the Columbus Monument right next to the Port Vell.

Main Landmarks in La Rambla

El Raval

El Raval is a neighborhood located right next to the La Rambla Boulevard. It is mostly inhabited by students and immigrants that want to take advantage of the lower rent prices while living in the center of Barcelona. 

Read more about El Raval

Plaça de Catalunya

Plaça de Catalunya is one of Barcelona’s main squares and it marks the start of La Rambla on the North side. Opposite to La Rambla, at the other edge of Plaça de Catalunya, begins the Eixample area

Read more about Plaça de Catalunya

La Boqueria Food Market

It is more than just a food market, it is a legendary and prominent tourist landmark of the city. La Boqueria is among Europe’s largest and most known food markets.

Read more about La Boqueria

Welcome to one of the most amazing sites in Barcelona – the world’s famous La Boqueria food market,
a bustling place abounding in flavors and color.

Aquarium Barcelona

Aquarium Barcelona was built in 1995 as one of the biggest aquariums in Europe and is currently hosting more than 11,000 marine animals from 450 different species. Its most popular feature is the oceanarium, where visitors can see sharks, ocean sunfish and rays swimming above them from the 80-meter-long underwater glass tunnel.

Read more about Aquarium Barcelona

L’Aquárium de Barcelona offers a great opportunity to admire the diversity of the Mediterranean maritime world.

MACBA (Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art)

MACBA is the modern part of the Barcelona Art Museum. It occupies a 3 story modernist building within El Raval and it hosts temporary as well as permanent art exhibitions of pieces created from the second half of the 20th century onwards.

Read more about MACBA

Plaça Reial

Plaça Reial is an amazingly beautiful and vibrant square that lies next to La Rambla within the Gothic Quarter. A fountain of the Three Graces can be found here, which is decorated to its sides by two street lamps designed by Antoni Gaudí. Also, the place is very popular with Flamenco enthusiasts.

Gran Teatre del Liceu (Liceu Opera House)

Gran Teatre del Liceu (or just Liceu) is the biggest opera house in Barcelona and also one of the most well-known in Europe. Opera and symphony concerts as well as ballet shows are hosted throughout the year at Liceu Theatre. However, many of the visitors come to see even just the building for its beauty and architectural splendor.

Read more about Gran Teatre del Liceu

Gran Teatre del Liceu (Opera House Liceu) is a theater in Barcelona. It is adjacent to La Rambla boulevard
and it is close also to Palau Güell and to Barcelona Cathedral.

Palau Güell (Güell Palace)

The Palau Güell, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a palace designed by Antoni Gaudí for one of his first significant patrons – Eusebi Güell. It is a structural masterpiece that is meant to represent a metaphor of the owner’s rise to wealth from his humble beginnings.

Read more about Palau Güell

Palau Güell is visited by numerous families, like all Modernista buildings it is very colorful and full of imagination,
therefore it can be very enjoyable also for kids.

Palau de la Música Catalana (The Catalan Music Palace)

A large concert hall noted not only for the cultural events that it is hosting, but mostly for its architectural beauty.

Read more about Palau de la Música Catalana

Font de Canaletes (Canaletes Fountain)

It is a fountain located on the North part of La Rambla, near Plaça de Catalunya, and it represents a symbol of Catalan identity. It is the most popular meeting point for the supporters of the FC Barcelona and there is a legend saying that anyone who drinks from the fountain will return to Barcelona.

Museu de Cera (Wax Museum)

It hosts over 300 statues of real and fictional celebrities. Some of the celebrities are from an international background while others are local Spanish and of course, Catalan.

Read more about Museu de Cera

In Museu de Cera visitors can admire full size wax figures of important historical personalities and
media celebrities from Catalonia and from all over the world.

Mirador de Colom (The Columbus Monument)

The monument was built in the honor of Christopher Columbus as he chose the port of Barcelona to disembark his ships on return from America. It is located at the Southern edge of La Rambla.

Read more about Mirador de Colom

Mirador de Colom (Columbus Monument) is located in between Barcelona’s old port, which is called Port Vell, and La Rambla area.

 

Tips and Recommendations for Visiting La Rambla




 

  • We recommend to visit La Rambla for at least two or three times at different occasions because what you see in the morning or at noon is different than what you can find in the street during the evening.
  • It is highly suggested not skip the La Boqueria food market, it is one of the main and most satisfying attractions.
  • When exploring La Rambla we recommend to start from Plaça de Catalunya as the walk from here is downhill towards Port Vell.
  • Special attention should be given to pickpockets and scam artists. Carry your purse in front of you and place your wallet in a front pocket. Also, anything that is not necessary but valuable should be left in the hotel safe (for additional information – Safety on La Rambla).
  • For travelers with disabilities, all of La Rambla Boulevard is very accessible by wheelchairs. There is a lot of mobility space even when the boulevard is crowded (for additional information – Accessibility in La Rambla).

Tips for Transportation in La Rambla:

  • It is recommended to get to La Rambla by public transportation because the road is closed to private cars and it is better to do it using the metro rather than the bus. There are 3 metro stations along the boulevard (Plaça de Catalunya, Liceu and Drassanes) that make the arrival very easy, while by bus the traffic is heavy almost all the time (for additional information – Public Transportation in Barcelona).
  • Nearby there is a station of the Hop-on Hop-off bus red line (for additional information – Hop-on Hop-off Bus Map).

Tips for Shops and Restaurants in La Rambla:

  • When shopping on the La Rambla, most of the prices are destined for tourists so you should expect them to be quite higher than usual. On the other hand, at the beginning of the street near Plaça de Catalunya, there are two shopping malls where the prices are significantly lower: El Triangle and El Corte Ingles (for additional information – Shopping in Barcelona).
  • There are a lot of popular restaurants to eat at along La Rambla, but for something more authentically local you need to avoid the main roads and explore the side streets (for additional information – Restaurants in Barcelona).
  • You can also enjoy a flamenco show at Los Tarantos or Tablao Cordobes, which are in the vicinity.

Tips for Hotels in La Rambla:

Recommended Blogs and Articles About La Rambla:

 

Useful Information

Getting there
directions_subway
Metro

L1 (red) – Plaça de Catalunya station.

L3 (green) – Stations: Plaça de Catalunya, Liceu or Drassanes.

directions_bus
Bus

Bus No. 14, 59 and 91 – during the day.

Bus No. N9, N12 and N15 – during the night.

Location

La Rambla
08002 Barcelona
Spain

Opening Times

Public Area

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