Las Ramblas is Barcelona’s most famous avenue since it perfectly expresses Spain’s atmosphere and the city’s character. Everyone who visits the city goes there to walk the entire pedestrian avenue from Plaça de Cataluña to the waterfront. But what’s there to do in Las Ramblas?
Here are nine things you should look for when touring along this lively avenue in the heart of Barcelona.
1. Watch the Street Performers
You can start your walk along the avenue by taking a look at the street performers. Human statues are nothing unique to Las Ramblas, but what is characteristic of this avenue is the overwhelming amount of human statues found throughout its stretch. You’ll almost feel like walking through a live and interactive open-air sculpture museum.
Since there’s a lot of competition, performers tend to up their game by creating even more outstanding costumes, more impressive routines, bigger acrobatic stunts, and more.
2. Eat at La Boqueria Market
La Boqueria is Barcelona’s flagship market. There you’ll find the freshest seafood, and some of the best local food in the city. But beyond being a market, La Boqueria also counts with some excellent tapas restaurants, that naturally, use ingredients bought at the market.
Since it is a very popular market among tourists, you should expect to pay more than the usual (contrary to common city markets). But still, it is an experience you shouldn’t skip on.
3. Hit the Museums
Right on Las Ramblas, there’s the Palau de la Virreina and the Centre d’Art Santa Monica, both with contemporary art exhibitions. But, if contemporary art is not your thing, you can check the wax museum with replicas of famous people (similar to Madame Tussauds) or even peek at the erotic side of Barcelona at their Erotic Museum!
4. See a Show at the Liceu
Built in 1847, the Gran Teatre del Liceu is Barcelona’s most famous theater. Though it is famous for opera, other types of performances can be seen there throughout the year. In addition to enjoying the performances, don’t forget to look up to see the beautiful facade facing Las Ramblas, in addition to the intricate details in the Foyer.
5. Get Lost in Barri Gotic
Barri Gotic is Barcelona’s “old town” and its most famous district. Just walking its narrow, labyrinth-like alleys is an experience on itself. Plus, you can hunt for a few of Gaudí’s buildings hidden in this tight quarter.
You can find great hotels in Barcelona, both old and new areas, but I always recommend staying in the heart of the city, the Barri Gotic.
6. Relax in Plaça Reial
This plaza is located slightly off the avenue, but this small deviation is well worth it. Plaça Reial has a very picturesque environment, which makes it an excellent place to have a coffee and look at the Gaudí lampposts (the first public works attributed to the architect). If you’re there by night, make sure to watch a flamenco show in Los Tarantos or spend the night in one of its nightclubs.
7. Set Some Time for Coffee or Snacks
Many of the cafés along the avenue still conserve the looks and environment that made them characteristic a century ago. Take a break from walking by going into one of the cafés to snack some sweets along with coffee.
8. Look up for Architecture
Upon first impression, most buildings might look the same and all commercial on the ground level, but once you look up, the beauty and uniqueness of all those buildings come to life. Today there’s a mix of mostly historic buildings with a few modern buildings contrasting the scenery.
A building that presents some great contrast to what’s found along the avenue is the Baroque Esglesia de Betlem.
9. Go up the Columbus Monument
At the end of Las Ramblas by the waterfront, there is the Columbus Monument – dedicated to the famous explorer, Christopher Columbus.
The monument might look very narrow, but you can go up to the small viewing tower! From up there you can get one of the best views of the city, but be aware that it is not for claustrophobic people.
Certainly, Las Ramblas is no typical avenue, so take your time to enjoy the local environment and get lost in its surroundings. That’s the best way to experience it!