Traditionally, the Ramblas was a location where people flocked to purchase roses, lottery tickets and a regular newspaper, just to catch a spot of shade while watching the world go by. But a lot of the local charm of the Ramblas has been taken over by hordes of visitors, tacky drinks, and lousy eateries. Unfortunately, the explosion of tourists skyrocketed rents; shops now cater to visitors rather than locals, and the old neighborhood population has fled to more affordable locations in the suburbs.
Still, if you come to Barcelona…you’ve got to ramble the Ramblas.
La Rambla (or Las Ramblas) of Barcelona is the most famous and busiest street in the city located in the Gothic district, the old town, connecting Plaza Catalunya (Catalonia Square) with the Port and the famous Columbus Monument.
The Rambla is a very caracteristic street where you will find many street artists, musicians and street performers as well as several stands selling all sort of things.
Each section of the Street has a different name, depending on the use given to it in the past. That's the reason why you will hear different "Ramblas" and not just one Rambla.
Other than the street performers and stands you will also find several souvenir shops, fashion boutiques, restaurants, bars and popular places such as the Boqueria Food Market or the Liceu Opera Theatre.
Closeby you will find many important buildings as the Cathedral of Barcelona and the Government Palace.
When to go?
The Ramblas are two separate avenues by day and at night. To fully learn about his yin and yang, take breakfast on a stool in a market coffee house once in the evening and again in the morning. Note that the Ramblas can be rowdy and off-putting late at night or after the Barça soccer team wins the game. Saturday is the best time to visit La Boqueria Market.
The Ramblas is the primary pickpocket hunting ground. Keep your front pocket today’s money savings, secure your credit / debit cards, spare cash and your money belt passport.
The restaurants are traps for tourists: avoid them. Yet on the street you can find a few easy lunch spots, and La Boqueria Market stalls welcome you to graze.
How to get there
- Metro: L1 y L3, stop Plaça de Catalunya
- Autobuses: 9, 14, 16, 17, 24, 41, 42, 47, 55, 58, 59, 62, 67, 68, 91, 141
The name Rambla from an Arabian word: Ram-la, meaning water creek.
Originally La Rambla was just a water channel coming down from the river up in the mountains and channeling the water towards the sea.
During the Middle Age this street was the edge of the medieval city of Barcelona crossed by the defensive city walls.
In the XIV century, during the economic and political expansion of the reign of king Aragon, the population increased considerably and the city was expanded to accommodate this growth.
A new wall was then built by extending the city to the Raval district], and the only wide street remained La Rambla.
During the XV and XVI Centuries this street was extremely still an undeveloped part of the city made by little markets and stables.
With the arrival of new religious orders in the late XVI and XVII Centuries, Las Ramblas became the central point for monasteries and convents, many of which were destroyed in the middle XIX Century, when the walls were knocked down and the city was expanded with the Eixample area.
This expansion of the city meant a profound transformation, especially for Las Ramblas which was urbanized and rebuilt as a great and luxurious avenue.
From that moment in time on became the favorite promenade spot for the wealthy people of Barcelona. All along Las Ramblas, the bourgeois built their main buildings and points of interest, such as the Gran Teatre del Liceu (Barcelona’s Opera theater).
Don’t miss it during your visit of Barcelona, enjoy some shopping in one of the many boutiques or simply admire the beautiful buildings of this picturesque street.