The most important stops on the Rambla
The first time I ever visited Barcelona with friends, we spent most of the evening walking up and down the Rambla and never really getting anywhere! Convinced that we were just a corner away from a cute hidden bar or undiscovered plaza, we kept wandering until we got so hungry we just ended up in one of the most touristy bars on the Rambla itself, paying a fortune for a glass of wine!
So as I was walking down the Rambla this weekend, (the main pedestrian street in Barcelona) I thought it might be useful to point out how close you are to some of those gems which I can share with you as well as the most important spots to stop at & avoid whilst in the centre of Barcelona.
Starting at Plaza Catalunya, the Ramblas heads down in the direction of the Port with the Columbus monument at the end. The metro stops are Plaza Catalunya (Green Line/L3), Liceu (same line) at the middle and Drassanes (also same line) at the end by the port and monument. But walking down the Rambla is the best, as there´s so much to see.
Hang out with the Barça fans
A few minutes down on the right hand side, you´ll see the Fountain of Canaletes. Apparently, anyone who drinks from this water fountain will return to Barcelona, but nowadays it´s mainly where the Barça fans hang out and sing when they´ve won a cup!
|Font de les Canaletes (photo:web)|
Leafy square for coffee and the kids to play
Just past Canaletes, you´ll find Carrer de Bonsuccés on your right. Walk down there until you reach some archways on your right which take you into a lovely open square with a small children´s park and plenty of cafés and bars. Known by locals but often missed by tourists, Kasparo café sits in the corner & is my favourite for a bit of lunch or mid-morning coffee in the sun.
An oasis of calm
If the crowds get too much, escape to the oasis on the rooftop of Hotel 1898. Located on the right hand side of the Rambla it has the most beautiful views over the city and is an oasis of calm away from the heat and noise of the Rambla.
|Terraza Isabela - Hotel 1898 (photo:web)|
La Boqueria Food Market & a hidden away restaurant
The main tourist attraction and really, one not to be missed is the world-famous Boquería market. Have a wander around & if you fancy stopping for lunch and trying some traditional Catalan cuisine, grab a bar stool at El Quim de la Boqueria, a local favourite inside the Boqueria, or the hidden away Òsties Pedrín (just behind the Boqueria to the right), a glam little restaurant with some typical local dishes.
People-watching in a pretty square
Plaça Reial is half way down the Rambla on your left via this entrance (pic. below). A touristy square but worth discovering and the prices for drinks etc in bars in the square are reasonable and not as over-priced as on the Rambla itself. Good for people-watching. I recommend Ocaña for late drinks and tapas.
Go beyond the Gothic Quarter
The area to the left of the Rambla is known as the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona. Its narrow cobbled streets open up into pretty plazas which makes it a great place for wandering. But go beyond the Gothic and discover another beautiful part of the city, known as the Born. Only a 10 minute walk from the Rambla turning left down Carrer Ferran (just before Plaza Reial). Here you can see the stunnning Santa Maria del Mar Cathedral, the main Passeig del Born, unique boutiques and some of the best mojito bars in town.
Take it all in
The final part of the Rambla towards the Old Port is filled with human statues, performers & artists so wander slowly and take it all in. (Just be careful to always keep an eye on your bag / phone whilst standing watching anything as the pickpockets unfortunately are rife on the Rambla, and don´t get sucked into the random "games" played by groups of men such as the "3 cup / where´s the ball" game. Just a scam to pickpocket unfortunately.)
The best views from downtown
The final stop and although it´s quite a touristy one, I think it´s a great option for incredible views of Barcelona; Head up to the Mirador de Colom (top of the Columbus Monument) at the end of the Ramblas and check out the far-reaching 360 degree views of the city. It costs around 5 euros and the lift takes you straight up to the top. Probably not great for those who are scared of heights, especially if it´s a windy day! But the views are incredible and it really gives you an idea of the layout of Barcelona.
|La Rambla from the top of the Columbus Monument|