Every city in the world has a main street, which becomes a historical value and symbol. In Barcelona, it’s La Rambla. It is included in the list of attractions, tourists tend to stroll through it, interested in looking at the facades of houses, souvenir stores and cozy cafes. The Rambla in Barcelona is similar to Moscow’s Arbat or the Champs Elysées of Paris, but the amazing atmosphere of the southern country makes it not only the central artery of the city, but also the most famous street in Spain.
Street La Rambla on the city map
Barcelona’s main street stretches from Plaza Catalunya through the Gothic Quarter to the J. Monument. Columbus, ending at Portal de la Pau. There are many events happening here every day, offering entertainment that doesn’t require any financial outlay. This is where you can see the vibrant soul of the Catalans, generously sharing with others the joy of life and love for their city.
Boulevard Rambla on the map of Barcelona (interactive map)
The length of the Ramblas is 1,200 meters, we can say that it is composed of 5 sections, organically passing one into another.
A brief look back in history
It’s hard to believe that the Rambla was once a riverbed. The city was actively developing and the fortress walls became cramped for residents. In 1777 it was decided to demolish them and continue the development of the area. The dried-up riverbed suggested the direction, becoming the main street of Barcelona, while the name La Rambla, which means “the riverbed,” remained.
Gradually it became a favorite place for walks and meetings of residents, and museums, theaters, and markets began to appear on the sides, which were sorely lacking within the old city. The heyday of the central thoroughfare came in the 19th century. A series of terrible events followed, including war, an influx of refugees and migrants, and a general economic decline. The image of the Ramblas as in a mirror, reflected the state of the country as a whole. Gone was the joy and ease of communication, replaced by a hostile wariness and bitterness.
The revival took place in the 1980s of the 20th century. Restaurants, museums, and stores reopened on the street, but now the main number of visitors were tourists.
La Rambla sights
The length of the street is inferior to many of the world’s analogues, but the richness of the experience is on par with them, and in some ways – even surpasses them. There are five main parts of the boulevard, each of which is famous in its own way.
La Rambla Canaletes
At the very beginning of the street, where a small cast-iron fountain gurgles. An intriguing inscription tells us that anyone who has tasted its waters will surely return to Barcelona again. Fans of the famous soccer club often gather on the square, and under the Arc de Triomphe – fans of bullfighting.
La Rambla Teachings
In ancient times there was a university on this site, it was closed by Philip V. Later, a marketplace, the Poliorama Theater, a Jesuit church in Baroque style and the Moh’s Palace were built on the site.
La Rambla of Flowers
In this gap is a huge covered market, the inhabitants describe it by the word “abyss”. Once there, it’s very hard to get back out. The variety of goods, delicious smells, bright colors and a wide range of choices leave no chance even for someone with an iron will. It’s impossible to walk out of there without buying. There are flower pavilions scattered nearby.
The sidewalk is clearly visible with avant-garde mosaics. It is called The Woman and the Bird by Joan Miró.
La Rambla Capuchin
The monastery no longer exists, but the name stuck. It is beloved by street artists. The open-air gallery is a delight with the skill and talent of the authors. The house of Bruno Quadras is a fascinating sight. Its facade is decorated with open umbrellas, which at one time was an ingenious advertising move for an accessories store.
La Rambla Santa Monica
This part is famous:
- the square called the “Gate of the World;
- column with sculpture X. Columbus, which is 80 meters high;
- a magnificent observation deck.
What to see during the walk?
After walking down the boulevard once, it’s worth taking some time to visit some particularly interesting sites.
Montserrat Caballé and José Carreras began their careers there. The repertoire includes world masterpieces and works by contemporary composers. The perfect acoustics of the Liceo Hall, the skills of the performers, and their expression completely sweeps away the language barrier, because art has no nationality.
It was erected in the 18th century for the Marquis of Castelbel, the former vice-king of Peru. The style of the facade confirms the fact of the considerable influence of France on the architecture of Catalonia. Baroque with inclusions of classicist elements gave the building a majestic and monumental look. In the interior interiors, the flamboyant Rococo style with excessive elegance and an abundance of decorative details prevails. There is a museum and exhibitions of contemporary art in the building.
Museum of Erotica
The art of carnal pleasures is as old as mankind itself. Endless fantasy in the pursuit of pleasure is illustrated by a collection that includes:
- Erotic frescoes from Egypt, Rome, and Greece;
- Indian sculptures;
- illustrations for individual chapters of the Kamasutra;
- fidelity belts;
- literature, postcards, stamps.
Keep in mind that there is an age restriction to visit the museum.
What to do on the boulevard?
La Rambla has no rivals, all the love of the citizens goes to her. Indeed, every step along it awakens curiosity, a desire to look a little ahead in search of new surprises. At the same time, you want to take a leisurely stroll and not rush things. In order to see everything that has prepared for an attentive tourist boulevard Rambla, you need to stock up on time.
There is no traffic on the street, so you can safely enjoy your walk without looking around waiting for a car to sneak up on you.
Due to the fact that visitors to the main street of Barcelona are tourists, prices on La Rambla are inflated. But as part of the cultural program it is worthwhile:
- have dinner in a restaurant with Catalan cuisine;
- walk through the market;
- watch mimes and musicians perform;
- Take pictures with the living sculptures;
- visit the Museum of Wax Figures.
It is best to go on these walks on their own, so as not to depend on time constraints as part of the tour group.
How to get to La Rambla?
The boulevard begins at Plaça Catalunya and can be reached by subway from the Cataluña, Liceu and Drassanes stations. It is more convenient to take a cab or shuttle bus, which will take you to the beginning of the pedestrian zone.
Walking along the main street of the city will plunge into the history and for a long time will be remembered with a bright kaleidoscope of impressions.