The Barcelona Rambla
In the southwest corner of Catalonia Square (Plaça de Catalunya), comes one of the most famous streets of Barcelona and possibly the most touristy, why they should walk at least once, everyone who comes to visit the city. This is the Rambla, the street that connects Catalonia Square to the Port Vell, the old port of Barcelona, where the Spain's wharf is and also the Bosch i Alsina wharf, popularly known as the Moll de la Fusta.
The Rambla is a street belonging to the district of Ciutat Vella, Barcelona's old town and there are countless points of interest for tourists or foreign visitors, which HappyBarcelona.eu will try to list in this article.
Border between the Gothic Quarter and the Raval
To begin, it is worth noting that the Rambla is a street that divides two of the four neighborhoods of the old town. Starting from Catalonia Square and descending towards the port, the visitor will always have the Gothic Quarter to his left and to his right the Raval. Remember that the Raval is the former Chinese Quarter of Barcelona, a term that is not only obsolete, but the Raval has been established as one of the main cultural areas of Barcelona.
La Rambla or Les Rambles ?
We can find both terms as this street is divided into different segments, each is in turn a promenade.
It is very common to see it for both, singular and plural forms, but colloquially is often used the Rambles.
At the top we have the Rambla de Canaletas with the famous fountain, followed by the Rambla dels estudis (Rambla of the Studies) and Rambla de San Jose, where the San Jose Market is, better known as the Boqueria Market and also known as Rambla de les Flors (Rambla of the Flowers). In the section closest to the port, there is the Rambla of the Capuchins and finally the Rambla of Santa Monica.
What can we see in the Rambla ?
Besides some places you should visit, from the Rambla arise some of the main streets you should walk if you want to discover the Ciutat Vella district. These streets will take you to places of interest, either because of the high commercial grade, so of the bohemian street itself, or due to elements of tourist importance as a monument or historical buildings.
Although, regardless of the urban and architectural elements that you will find in and around Les Rambles, it is unquestionable that the environment you will find conveys a very special area between bohemian and touristy.
Commerce in Les Rambles
If you stroll along the Rambla, you will find newsagents, many of which are open 24 hours, which allows to acquire the first impressions of the day at dawn.
You will also see stands selling flowers, especially in the Rambla de les Flors, and other tourist-oriented products.
In the lateral sidewalks it is easy to find cafes, bars, restaurants and souvenir shops along the street. You will also see some sex shops and striptease halls, especially in the area near the Port Vell.
Along the street, you will encounter different human sculptures, painters of cartoons and other disciplines, and according to the days you can visit the craft market in the Rambla Santa Mónica.
The Canaletes Fountain
Very close to Catalonia Square is the most famous fountain of drinkable water in Barcelona.
The Canaletas Fountain is the meeting point for fans of the FC Barcelona, when they celebrate their crowded victories, in the city center.
But this fountain is also very important for the foreign visitor, as it is said that whoever drinks of its water, will return to Barcelona.
The stretch of the Rambla where the fountain is located, is the Rambla de Canaletas, which gets its name.
The Boqueria Market
About halfway up the Rambla, down on the right hand side, you will see one of the most famous markets in the world, the Boqueria market, although its official name is Mercat de Sant Josep (St. Joseph Market).
You should take a walk through its interior, where you can admire its elaborate multicolored showcases of candy, fruit, chocolates and nuts.
Although the Boqueria Market seems at first sight that it is aimed more to the tourist, this is only in its outer part. If you get inside, you will find a market with meat, fish and vegetables of the finest you can find in the city.
The Erotic Museum of Barcelona
In front of the Boqueria Market but on the other side of La Rambla, there is the Barcelona Erotic Museum.
A curious museum, that if you have time you could visit.
The Royal Square (Plaça Reial)
Walking down the Rambla on the left, just past the Ferran street, you will find a street with arcades which leads directly to the Royal Square.
In this square you'll find restaurants, bars and clubs, making it a place of leisure quite frequented, especially at night.
Antoni Gaudí's admirers should know that the street lamps of the Plaça Reial were designed by this Catalan architect and are located around the Fountain of the Three Graces.
The Gran Teatre del Liceu
After the Boqueria Market and at the right, there is the Gran Teatre del Liceu.
It is the most important theater hall of the city and its billboard offers operas, musicals, ballet performances and large performing arts.
It offers also a Children billboard, what is known as the Petit Liceu, with performances that can enchant the kids.
If you are interested in it, we recommend you to have a look at its billboard.
Human sculptures in the Rambla
One element which keeps this wonderful street in Barcelona for many years, are the human sculptures. They are renewed each season and you can see really amazing costumes.
You will be able to photograph you with these human sculptures in the Rambla, but you will hardly be saved to be requested to give a coin in exchange. Some of these sculptures change its position or made a curious movement at the time you give them a coin either to encourage the tip or to vary its posture to get a rest.
Human sculptures are one of the most characteristic elements of the Rambles.
The Rambles Trileros (Follow the lady trick)
They have also been for many years in the Rambla and are already part of it. The trileros are some scammers who try to trick tourists, and quite incredibly, there are still many people who lose their money with these artists of the little ball.
They are accompanied by a hook that makes money in a very easy way. The tourist, seeing the ease with which he can win, are encouraged to play and then lose their money.
The Rambles Trileros do not go alone and you must never deal with them, as well as besides the person who handles the ball and the three boxes, there are many more people watching out for the police to come.
The advice we give you is to never play with trileros.
Palau de la Virreina (Vicereine Palace).
At number 99 of the Rambla, stands the Palau de la Virreina.
You'll see it going down at the right hand side, and it is one of the most important buildings of baroque architecture in Catalonia, whose construction was completed in 1778.
The Vicereine Palace is the headquarters of the cultural area of the City of Barcelona, and there, you can visit permanent and traveling exhibitions.
In the Rambla of Santa Monica there is the old Teatre de la Santa Creu, whose purpose was to raise funds for the Santa Creu Hospital, predecessor of the Sant Pau Hospital.
It is at number 27 of the Rambla and nowadays it is the Principal Theatre, one of the oldest in Spain and one of the first to be built in Barcelona.
The Principal Theater offered both such as musical theater and opera. He had a period of decline, culminating by the opening of the Gran Teatre del Liceu, higher up the Rambla.
Santa Maria del Pi
It is not in the Rambla, but if you go deeper into the Gothic Quarter by the Cardenal Casañas street, it is at the height of the Boqueria Square (between the market and the Liceu theater) you will arrive at the Basilica of Santa Maria del Pi.
It is a beautiful church you should visit and it is only a couple of minutes walking from the Rambla. This basilica has formidable acoustics and it held some music and singing concerts.
Arts Santa Monica
On the segment corresponding to the Santa Monica Rambla, which is the one closer to the port you will find this exhibition center located in the former Santa Monica Convent.
This cultural center is primarily geared to the creativity and is committed to artists working this element in his works.
Getting the Wax Museum from the Rambles
This wonderful street of Barcelona, has at its closest part to the Port Vell, before reaching the Columbus Viewpoint, an alley that enters into the Gothic Quarter and will take you straight to the Wax Museum of Barcelona.
The alley that can be catch from the Rambla, is called Passatge de la Banca, as the building that houses the Wax Museum, a neoclassical mansion, belonged to the former Barcelona Bank.
El Bosc de les Fades
This is the Wax Museum café, but it is in a separate building. The Bosc de les Fades is set in a fairytale forest and under no circumstances you should overlook it if you are with children, since it is one of the most curious coffee shops in Barcelona and will transport you into a magical world.
To get to the Bosc de les Fades you will have to go through the same alley overlooking the Rambles that takes you to the Wax Museum. Remember that to enter this cafe, it is not necessary to have visited the museum.
You will be able to enter the Bosc de les Fades through the curio shop that is in front of the museum and is called Passatge del Temps, since both establishments are communicated inside.
The Columbus Viewpoint
It is one of Barcelona's most emblematic monuments. This viewpoint stands in the lowest part of the Rambla, where the Port Vell and the Moll de la Fusta begins. Concretely in the Square named Portal de la Pau.
From the Columbus Viewpoint, that you can get up via a small lift, you will have the opportunity to take great photos of the Barcelona Old Port and that area of Ciutat Vella.
La Rambla del Mar
This is the name given to the bridge with wooden surface that gets from the Portal de la Pau square to the Maremagnum mall at the Spain Wharf.
It is so named because it could be considered a contemporary continuation of the Rambles across the sea.
To cross the Rambla del Mar is a fantastic option to continue your walk because this bridge connects the end of Les Rambles with the area where are the Imax 3D cinemas, the Barcelona Aquarium and the Maremagnum Shopping Centre, among other places of interest for tourists.
Next to the Rambla del Mar there is the mooring of Las Golondrinas, a type of tourist boat to get rides along the harbor, and which allows you to get to the Parc del Forum on the other side of town.
Taking streets from the Rambla
In addition to stroll through Barcelona's Rambla, you can take any street both east and west, because whatever street you take, you will enter in the old town. Remember that at the east of the Rambla there is the Gothic Quarter and at the west, the Raval.
To be a little selective HappyBarcelona.eu will try to enumerate some streets we consider most important from a tourist point of view, but we repeat, any street you take from the Rambla has its interest.
We will start from the nearest part to Catalonia Square and take a journey to the port.
It is the first street you can take to the right hand, and at its end, it drops you off at University Square. This street is parallel to Pelayo street.
Tallers is mainly a commercial street and you will see many shops of clothes and gothic style. Formerly this street housed many music stores, some very small where vinyls were sold, but in recent times have been closed, although there are still those that have adapted to modern times.
On Tallers street you will also find some stores of musical instruments, clothes and accessories. We recommend you to consider it for a walk, especially during business hours.
Santa Anna Street
On the left side, you can take this street from the Rambla. It is a must see street because of the number and variety of commerce that it houses. Through it, you can enter through a gate which gives to the St. Anne Church, a beautiful Gothic church that many people would go unnoticed to be a little bit hidden.
At the other end of this street, you will arrive at Portal de l'Angel, one of the main entrances to the Gothic Quarter from Catalonia Square.
The Canuda street
You will be able to take this road at the same point that Santa Anna street begins, as the two streets join in the Rambla.
You should not overlook it if you're walking through this area of Ciutat Vella, especially during business hours.
The Portaferrissa street
Another must-see street. Portaferrissa is in the Gothic Quarter, i.e. at the east of the Rambla and is parallel to Santa Anna street.
It is a commercial street like the previous one, where you will also find the most diverse commerce and it ends up in Portal de l’Angel avenue.
At the right hand side, if you're going down the Rambla, there is located the Hospital street. It is not the richest in commerce from the tourist point of view, but on this street, near the Rambles there is the Sant Agustí Square, where you can visit an ancient monastery that nowadays only the Church remains, a church that certainly is very beautiful.
If you continue straight, once past the Church of St. Augustine, you will reach the Rambla del Raval, where you'll find a fantastic craft market every weekend as well as being a good area for walking.
Sant Pau Street
On the same right side of the Rambla you can take the Saint Paul street (carrer Sant Pau), just before arriving at the Liceu Theatre, through which you will arrive on the other side, nearly reaching the Parallel avenue, to the Sant Pau del Camp monastery one of the best preserved Romanesque buildings in town.
The Ferran street
If you continue going down the Rambla, on the left side you will find the Ferran street, another that could be considered a must, especially during business hours.
In this street that enters toward the Gothic Quarter you will find a lot of commerce and if you go straight, you will arrive at Sant Jaume square, where the Barcelona City Hall and the Generalitat Palace (Catalonia Government) is, and beyond, crossing Via Laietana street you will arrive at the Princesa street to delve into the Born and get among other places to the Picasso Museum or the Barcelona Mammoth Museum.
Nou de la Rambla street
At the height of the Royal Square, but getting into the Raval quarter, and very close to the Rambla, there is the Palau Güell, first major work commissioned to the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí.
A must for architecture lovers, especially of Antoni Gaudí.
The Escudellers street
The Escudellers street goes into the Gothic Quarter and is nowadays a major point of nightlife with restaurants, bars and places for eating tapas.
At the end of this street that comes from the Rambla Santa Monica, you will arrive at the George Orwell square, dedicated to the British writer who lived for a time in the city of Barcelona.
How to get to the Rambles
The Rambla begins in the south west of Catalonia Square, where the Pelaio street finishes and the Triangle is. You can start your walk, therefore, from this point of the square.
Getting to the Rambla by Metro
If you want to go to the Rambla by metro, you have different options. The first one is to take the L3 (green) or L1 (red) lines to Catalunya station, which drops you in the same square adjacent to the Rambles.
If you prefer to take the L2 line (violet) we advise you to get off at Universitat, which leaves you in University Square and you will arrive at the Rambla walking about 5 minutes down the Pelaio street.
But if you prefer to use the L4 line (yellow), you can get off at Urquinaona square. Catalonia square is less than 5 minutes walking away and then to get the Rambles, about 5 minutes more.
You may want to go directly to a particular point of the Rambles. In addition to the Catalunya station that leaves you at the top, ie, on Rambla de Canaletas, there is halfway up, the Liceu station from the L3 line, and at the lower part, on the Rambla de Santa Monica, also the L3 station called Drassanes that is very close to the Columbus Viewpoint, the Moll de la Fusta and the Royal Shipyards of Barcelona which is one of the best preserved Gothic buildings in the world and houses the Maritime Museum.
How to get to the Rambla from the Barceloneta neighborhood
If you come from the Barceloneta neighborhood, you will need to find the Moll de la Fusta wharf, walking along the boardwalk to the west and always keeping the sea on your left.
When you get to the Face of Barcelona, an American pop-art style monument, you've arrived at Passeig de Colón and then, you have to continue on this promenade or through the Moll de la Fusta to the Columbus Viewpoint. The viewpoint is at the lowest part of the Rambles.
Getting to the Rambles from Sants train station
If you find yourself in Sants Estació, you can take the L3 underground line and you can get off at one of the 3 recommended stations. Drassanes on the bottom, Liceu in the middle part or Catalunya at the top.
Getting to the Rambla from Passeig de Gràcia
Whichever the point of Passeig de Gràcia you are, you have to go walking to the south and you will arrive at Catalonia Square. Once you're in this downtown square of Barcelona, you will find the beginning of the Rambla across the street that is at the right side at the bottom.
Spherical photograph of the Rambla
About English translation
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