One of the most popular tourist attractions of Barcelona is the famous Ramblas. So famous, that the word Ramblas is often one of the first things that pops into the minds of tourist visiting Barcelona alongside Sagrada Familia and FC Barcelona.
The name rambla refers to a water flow in both Catalan and Spanish, and is actually derived from the Arabic originated word 'ramla' which means 'sandy riverbed'. Before the actual construction of the Ramblas as we know it nowadays it functioned as a dry riverbed transporting water from the mountains around Barcelona to the sea during heavy rain.
Hard to imagine if you walk down the approximately 1.2 kilometers long Rambla today with the Christopher Columbus Monument in Port Vell at the southern end and Placa Catalunya at the northern end. A well-known poet from Barcelona once said that La Rambla was "the only street in the world which I wish would never end". La Rambla can be crowded, especially during the summer. Any time during the day or night several thousand tourists are walking along the Ramblas soaking up the atmosphere and enjoying the activities.
This has also changed the shopping selection around this area of Barcelona. It is an excellent place to shop for nice souvenirs to bring home, to enjoy a nice jug of sangria on the terrace of one of the hundred small restaurants and to enjoy the many living statues along your way up to Plaza Catalunya. Because of the many tourists who visit the Ramblas, this area has also become a prime target for pick pocketing. To make sure that you have a safe visit along las Ramblas please read our other Akaza blog especially dedicated to pick pocketing in Barcelona.
Did you know that La Rambla is actually a serie of shorter streets, each with a different name and different characteristics, combined together to the Spanish plural form Las Ramblas or Les Rambles in the typical Catalan dialect of Barcelona.
The most southern part of the Ramblas is called Rambla Sant Monica. This part which starts at the old harbor was named after a monastery that now is an art centre. Another interesting museum is the Museo de Cera.
The Rambla dels Caputxins is the next part of the Ramblas and offers a lot of famous building of Barcelona on either side of the street. Especially the Gran Theatre del Liceu, and Palau Guell are nice to visit and on the classical Madrilenian Placa Reial you can enjoy a nice dinner, listen to some nice musicians and even enjoy some of Barcelona´s best flamenco groups performing during summer.
The Rambla Sant Josep is also known as the Rambla de Flores with many flower stalls on both sides of the street. Worth visiting is the famous Mercat de la Boqueria, Barcelona´s biggest and most popular fresh food market.
The most northern parts of the Ramblas are called Rambla Estudis and Rambla Canaletes. The Rambla Canaletes has one fountain that you should certainly visit: the Font les Canaletes. Legend says that if you drink from this fountain you will return to Barcelona in the future.
A very nice thought indeed considering the many tourist attractions and nice areas of Barcelona. A weekend or a week is never enough to visit all the nice things Barcelona has to offer!
Ramblas and its surrounding neighbourhoods in the old part of the city, can get lively. There are hidden away streets from the hustle and bustle but if you are looking for something more low key you might want to stay in an apartment in the areas of Barceloneta, Poble Sec, Poble Nou, if you prefer to be close to the sea. If you are more in to the uptown area, Gracia and Eixample can be another option.