If you’ve considered visiting Barcelona, chances are you’ve heard of Las Ramblas. Las Ramblas is a series of contiguous streets located in downtown Barcelona. It’s lined with trees, forming a wide pedestrian walking mall starting at Plaça Catalunya and ending at the Mediterranean Sea.
To give you an idea, Las Ramblas is a sort of Catalan 5th Avenue, if 5th Avenue was filled with street vendors and performers and instead was actually Times Square. There are plenty of fancy shops, restaurants, and of course the requisite Starbucks. If you’ve never been to Barcelona, it’s a must see. Once you‘ve seen it for the first time, however, you’re probably tempted to steer clear of the crowds that it attracts.
Originally, Las Ramblas was a stream that separated the city from the surrounding suburbs. Now it separates the Gothic Quarter from Raval, which has since been incorporated into the city limits. The concept of the stream was incorporated into the wavelike patterns in the sidewalk.
Walking from the top of Las Ramblas towards the water there are a few notable sights to see. The first of which is La Boqueria. La Boqueria is a warehouse-sized market filled with a variety of different produce, cheese, meat, fish, and candy stalls. Be sure to duck in and check it out when you see it.
A few more steps leads you to Liceu Theater, one of the biggest opera houses in Europe. Depending on your penchant for opera, you may find it has some competition. Just across the street is Marilyn Monroe herself. Or at least someone dressed as her in a third floor window, attracting the attention of passersby.
Continuing down the street a block and a half on the left is the Plaça Reial. Meander on over and grab a few photos. It is pretty impressive. At any point on your walk, keep an eye out for interesting side streets to turn down. They tend to be filled with boutiques, bars, and hidden squares.
One last thing to keep in mind. Las Ramblas is tourist central, otherwise known as a little slice of pickpocket heaven. Keep your wallets close, your purses closer, and your FCBarcelona soccer tickets clenched tightly in your fists. You don’t want to let those puppies go.
What: Las Ramblas
Where: Downtown Barcelona, there are metro stops at the top, middle, and bottom of Las Ramblas
When to Go: Mid-morning, before the crowds are up
Time it Takes: About a morning’s worth of casual strolling
What to See: La Boqueria, Liceu Theater, Plaça Reial
What Else to Know: Las Ramblas is pickpocket heaven, be careful where you stash your valuables