Las Ramblas, Barcelona
Las Ramblas is a boulevard linking Placa Catalunya in the city centre to the port area.
The boulevard has any number of "living statues", bird stalls (Spain has signed various international conventions but protection of exotic species seems virtually non-existent), craft stalls (especially at the Port end of the boulevard) and city life in general. The Rambla is lined with hotels and hostals (pensions) ranging from fairly upmarket and decent to the direst end of the budget range.
Starting from the Placa Catalunya end, highlights [to right and left] include:
-Virreina Palace (right) (occasional art exhibitions)
-Umbrella factory (left) (the interesting thing is the facade, with 19th century chinoiserie and chinese umbrellas)
-Boqueria Market (right) (foodstuffs. There?s even a stall selling edible insects!)
-Guell Palace (right)
-Liceu (Opera House) RHS (right) worth a visit to see the ravishing restoration of the opera hall after the 1989 fire).
-Placa Real (left) (Baroque Square - a bit seedy but lined with bar terraces away from the traffic).
-Wax Museum (left) (not worth a visit but building is a 19th century oddity)
-Columbus statue (arm points seaward - to the East, not to the West!)
-Maremagnum shopping centre - over the yacht haven footbridge. IMAX, Aquarium nearby.
There are any number of bars and terraces along the Rambla (the name comes from Arabic, and means water course a stream used to run here at the foot of the now vanished city wall).
The terraces are dear (see my home page) and the atmosphere spoilt somewhat by busy traffic on the roads running on each side of the boulevard. Barcelona should turn the entire Rambla into a pedestrian precinct.
Be careful of pickpockets and don't flash expensive cameras around. Wear shoulder and handbags cross-wise. Pickpockets tend to work round the edge of crowds watching street performances. Police Station (Comisaria) - English-speaking police on hand) is on right about halfway down.
The famous, broad leafy boulevards of Las Ramblas are and aren’t a great place to get the feel for Barcelona. It’s a great place to grab a coffee and people-watch the throngs passing you buy, but when you realise that most are wide-eyed tourists like yourselves it kind-of looses its appeal a bit. The further you venture down the Ramblas to the Waterfront the more performance artists, street vendors, restaurants and kiosks you’ll find, but they are all predictably all geared heavily toward the tourist Euro. It’s a good introduction to the city to stroll the length of it as part of a morning, but I’d urge you to turn off into the Bari Gotic of L’Eixample once you’re all strolled-out to really begin to get the pulse of the city. Once the menus aren't automatically printed with english alongside big patronising pictures of the dishes, then you can generally tell you're heading in right direction.
You’ll hear it wherever you go, but the Ramblas is the main haven of the pickpockets. These warnings aren’t repeated ad infinitum for no reason, but as long as you keep your wits about you and are aware of your personal space and belongings at all times you’ll have no problems.
Las Ramblas is the place where the tour buses stop to let visitors wonder and buy their souvenirs. Actually, the walk to the Plaza Colon is quite pleasant, particularly in the morning. A great stretch of pedestrian only walkway that goes from the Plaza Sol to Plaza Colon, which is at the waterfront. Unfortunately, the Barcelona civic leaders didn't see the opportunity to actually build Las Ramblas ALL the way to the waterfront, so around the statue of Christopher Columbus, there is a rather hazardous circle of traffic. Mimes and other street entertainment actually make Las Ramblas a must see destination with Barcelona, as well as a tourist trap. This is a good place to shop for the cheap gifts to take home. Watch out for pickpockets and be careful at night.
Here is a photo of young ladies from England... taken at Las Ramblas, this is right next to the Liceu Opera House. A small regular pitcher of Sangria costs these tourists 30 Euros. This small pitcher only was good for 4 fancy glasses. So, avoid drinking your Sangria on this particular terrace which is right next to the metro stop Liceu, which is also infront of the Liceu Opera House.
Unique Suggestions: Go to this supermarket which is called "CHAMPION" and buy a bottle of Sangria which only cost 3 Euros. Avoid the terrace on Las Ramblas....
Fun Alternatives: We shall continue writing about this tourist trap....
If you wanna sip a couple Sangrias and watch people go by and don't mind spending 20 bux to do so... then any of the cafes along Las Ramblas is for you.
Unique Suggestions: Be prepared to pay a hefty price tag for it.
Fun Alternatives: However, if you want a real meal... cheap, fun, delicious and with real Spanish flair, hit one of the tiny little Tapas Shops in the Bari Gotic. I promise they won't disappoint.
Just about any outdoor seating along Las Ramblas is a trap. We ordered Cava Sangria, which conveniently did not have the price on the menu. Each drink was 13 euro. The menus are also all the same for overpriced, sub-par food.
Unique Suggestions: Ask pricing and order smart. I'd really just play it safe and avoid it.
Fun Alternatives: Travel on one of the side streets into the Barrio Gotico, they prices will go down and food quality will go up.
Honestly the Ramblas probably is a tourist trap, but ironically it is still a must see for Barcelona, it's definitly worth strolling a couple times but you won't want to spend your entire trip, or limit your nightlife to the Ramblas.
Unique Suggestions: You must go becuase there are great places along the way, the columbus statue, la boqueria, the liceu opera house, and those street performers.
OK, Las Ramblas. I thought I would love it, I didn't. It wasn't bad exactly, just a bit disenchanting. Too many loud americans (sorry, I love most of you!) and too many burger stands. Just not my thing.
Unique Suggestions: Just walk down it for the sake of it. Don't stop and eat though! It's tourist-orientated muck and NOT local cuisine.
Fun Alternatives: Why not side-step into the Gothic Quarter for a cafe stop or restaurant? A much cooler alternative.
Ahh, of course you expected the Ramblas to be in the tourist-trap section. That's why I put it here. And admittedly, iin many respects they deserve their reputation. BUT: it's a perfect place for people-watching. Don't eat in the restaurants or have your fortune read at the stalls, but treat yourself to a coffee in the Cafè de l'Opera and watch the world go by. The Ramblas is a stage, not the real world. If you look at it like that, it can be very enjoyable indeed.
The prices for food and drinks at the restaurants, cafes and shops along La Rambla are tourist prices. Once when I was hungry I bought a simple hot baguette with salami in a shop at La Rambla for 7 EURO. In fact it was bad quality for an expensive price ... :-(
Nevertheless the terraces of the cafes and restaurants are great places for people watching, but if you like to have good meals for affordable prices then go somewhere else.
La Rambla, the main street in the city of Barcelona is filled with market stalls, vendors, artists, & flower stands and is most undoubtedly the place where everyone, locals and tourists alike, come together. Don't skip this cosmopolitan area but be sensitive to the fact that it is a touristy street and there are many things to see outside of this street.
Unique Suggestions: Walk down the Ramblas, and follow it to the Calle Nou de la Rambla, which is where the Palau Güell is located (another masterpiece by Gaudí). You should not miss Pl. Reial with its archway and palm trees (some say the tallest of Europe).
When I was doing research about what to do in Barcelona, Las Ramblas kept popping up. This area is a complete tourist trap. The restaurants are all WAY overpriced, the shops are all souvenir type places and also overpriced. The pickpockets are aplenty. I guess if you visit Barcelona you have to go here to check it out, but don't stay here. Eat and shop in other areas, you'll save yourself a ton of money.
The cup game is played on the street on the la rambla, and it's the game where they have three cups or three matchboxes and you need to guess where a small ball is hidden. The thing is that they trick you into believeing that you're actually winning alot of money until you suddenly bet to high and they, with their small quick little thief fingers switch the boxes so you loose the box where the ball is, and poof, you're money is lost to a silly game!
Unique Suggestions: Don't play... If you feel tempted to play, then watch some one else play first, and see how easy it seems to win at first but then suddenly the tourist will start loosing money! I say, if you want to spend your vacation money on something this stupid, then do it..
Fun Alternatives: Walk down the la rambla, watch all the funny clowns and artists that do alot of fun stuff to collect money. We saw alot of those standing-still-statue-people, and they looked all exactly like staues. We also saw a spanish dancer, a devil and an angel playing chess, and a clown scared the h*ll out of me.. They also sell a lot of wierd stuff there, like puppies and birds that eventually will grow huge, emu's I think they're called...
When I was reading about Barcelona in travel guides, it sounded as “Las Ramblas” where THE place to be. So of course when we arrived this is the first thing we decided to do… and I was extremely disappointed. “Las Ramblas” is just a big avenue, full with tourists, street performers, pickpockets and prostitutes. You are bothered every two seconds by someone who wants to sell you something, or give you a flyer for a “pub crawl”. Boring ! It is such a tourist trap !
Barcelona has much better to offer...
Unique Suggestions: But if you still want to go, just don’t take any bag or extra money and don’t stop to look at performers or people playing money games on the streets. And avoid restaurants in the area who are of course more expensive.
yes im currently in Barcelona and las ramblas, well, i wont be going back to that area.. ever again! this is my second time in barcelona and todays events have certainly put me off going back. las ramblas is a street of unimaginable theft. i was walking down las ramblas and my mother and i are pretty wary about pickpockets etc and were certainly not stupid. there are many acts and markets stalls along las ramblas and eventually you will become relaxed and absorbed into the atmosphere. as my mother and i stopped to watch one of those performing artists someone reached into my mothers bag and swiped her purse. this wasnt down to stupidity but to the fact that these thieves are professionals. once your targeted they wait until you least expect it; taking a simple photograph or taking some coins out of your purse to give to the performers. my advice, dont ever let your guard down on las ramblas EVER. dont take photos, the performers arent that great and dont give money to them because once your wallets been spotted they will want your wallet! we had to cancel all my mums credit cards and we lost €300 cash plus some personal photos.