As a student living in Barcelona, my classes all ended before lunch. One of my favorite activities was to walk the short distance to Plaza Catalunya and then down las Ramblas, eventually steering into el Barrio Gotico. People watching was cheap and entertaining, so I’d get a coffee at a café and nurse it for hours as I watched people walk by, saw the street performers, and sometimes even did a little homework.
For me, taking my mom to Las Ramblas was a necessity. I wanted to make sure we fit it in. And we not only managed to go in once, but ended up there almost every day, helping her understand why I loved the place so much.
Plaza Catalunya is the base or entrance to Las Ramblas. It’s a large beautiful plaza with fountains, statues, and plenty of benches to sit and relax. The center is filled with vendors and pigeons. Be careful because those pigeons can be aggressive. It’s an excellent juxtaposition – on one end, the old style street of las Ramblas and the area of the city steeped in Roman tradition while on the other, a large modern El Corte Ingles, the major department store of Spain, and a block away, Passeig de Gracia, the famous street with high end shops and famous Gaudi work. All around, buses, taxes, tours, and people milling around soaking in Barcelona, the old and the new
Las Ramblas is one of the most famous pedestrian streets in the world. Filled with shops, cafes, flower stalls, and street performers, las Ramblas is 0.75 miles of rambling strolling with much to see and much to love. We didn’t sit in any café’s directly on las Ramblas this time, but I ate some candy and watched some moving statues to my delight.
Right in the center of Las Ramblas, there is a famous market called La Boqueria. Entering the market is a feast for your senses. There are candy stores, fruit stalls, meat and fish of all types for sale, cured pig legs being sliced for jamon, wine, and a few bars for sitting and getting a snack. We bought olives. We bought cones of meat. We bought calamari. We bought candy. We bought it all. There is nothing more wonderful than eating a cone of meat and olives while walking around the market. Divine.
Monumento a Colón
At the foot of Las Ramblas, pointing the way to the sea, is the famous monument to Christopher Columbus. Regardless of what current history has found of his atrocities, many in Spain still adore him and admire his connection to Spain. These monument serves as an anchor point to the area, guiding you to Barceloneta area and the sea. All around the monument you see ubiquitous street vendors, who are selling cheap souvenirs, knock-off purses and shoes, etc. You can also take an elevator to the top of the monument to see the views, if you so desire, but we didn’t have a desire since by then we had seen the high up view from a few places. But my Italian step-father was excited and proud to see how the Spanish admired him, and I enjoyed being in the area and getting to show them the Barcelona I know and love.
Barcelona is a city made for wandering, for walking, and for having exploring. And there is not better place to do that than Las Ramblas.
- Address: Rambla, 91 08001 Barcelona
- Hours: Monday – Saturday, 8:00 AM – 8:30 PM
- Address: Plaça del Portal de la Pau, Barcelona
- Hours: Daily, 8:30 AM – 8:30 PM
- Cost: 4 € for Children 4-12 and Senior Citizens 65+, 6 € for Adults, Discounts available with pre-purchased tickets online