What to See in Barcelona ~ Las Ramblas Street Entertainment and More
Rambla de los Flores in Barcelona, Spain
Entertainment in Las RamblasClick thumbnail to view full-size
If your travels ever take you to the seaside city of Barcelona and you are wondering how to spend some time, one of the main attractions is a street or more accurately a series of streets. Yes...you read that correctly! These streets called Las Ramblas are literally in the heart of the city. Pedestrians can be seen milling about and living their lives both day and night in lively style.
During the Olympics back in 1992, our base of operation in Barcelona was at the Palace Hotel (a part of the Ritz Hotel chain) where the downstairs was converted for our use on a 24 hour basis. They provided air conditioned comfort, restrooms including showers, food and refreshments, comfortable furnishings and television screens where Olympic events were continually being shown. Published schedules and other information was provided to keep us on track with the daily activities that we had chosen prior to ever leaving our homes.
Those from our group were shuttled by airplane back and forth to the Island of Majorca where we spent the nights, when not attending Olympic events in and around Barcelona. A few from our party who missed the airplane, spent the night there. Not much of a hardship! In fact...if one has to become unexpectedly stranded...hopefully it will always be in a Ritz Hotel setting with all of the fore-mentioned amenities.
One day in between games or arranged tours, my husband and I decided to spend a bit of time exploring the famous Las Ramblas. The fortunate people who live near those streets have everything available to them right outside their doors including markets, cultural venues and street entertainment that would never fail to get old.
Monument to Christopher Columbus
Street Entertainers, Las Ramblas, Barcelona
As you can see from the photos, many people have a front and center view of the crowds of people who come from all parts of the world to walk this main promenade. Those who get there early sit in the first row of chairs. They catch up on their visiting as well as having an ever changing panorama of stimuli in front of them. Talk about a great place for people watching!
This paved pedestrian-only walkway stretches from the Placa de Catalunya down to the harbor where a 197 foot (60 m) tall monument to Christopher Columbus stands with his arm extended and finger pointing out to sea.
It was Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand who paid for his journey to explore the New World and this is the spot where Columbus supposedly returned to tell the tales of that trip and why it is now memorialized.
The main promenade is wide and is seven tenths of a mile long or 1.2 km. One does not have to go far before seeing various street performances ranging from individual performers to groups of performers.
We even saw a band performing and many of the local residents (and probably some tourists as well) got up and were dancing in the streets. It was a jovial and happy sight to behold bringing smiles to our faces.
Other streets of the Ramblas intersect and a person could literally spend days investigating all of the interesting buildings and sites contained within that part of Barcelona. Alas, we did not have that much time, but at least we got an overall impression of this spectacular part of the city.
Las Ramblas MarketClick thumbnail to view full-size
Also known as Mercat de Sant Josep, this fabulous food market is a sight to behold!
For people living in Barcelona, there is a seemingly endless supply of fresh and dried fruit items, vegetables, spices, and aisle after aisle of tempting treats.
Even for tourists who simply wish to pick up some items for a quick picnic lunch or other meal, the market presents a visual feast of colors and aromas. I had personally never seen such a large market up to that point.
La Boqueria has an entrance from Las Ramblas and is under cover so that the stalls of food items including fish and other things for sale are safeguarded from inclement weather.
The original market goes back in time to 1217 and has evolved over the years to what it has become today...a major tourist attraction as well as a valuable site providing the locals with a wide array of food.
Shows some street scenes and then the fabulous food market called La Boqueria.
Barcelona Street Acrobats
Sightseeing in Barcelona
Definitely put Las Ramblas on your list of things to see in Barcelona! Depending upon the time you have to spend...a little or a lot...you will be able to enjoy some wondrous things.
Be sure and notice the mosaic tile piece of art that people walk upon in the tree lined promenade of Las Ramblas. It was created by famous artist Joan Miró who was born and lived in Barcelona during his youth.
Near the part called Rambia dels Estudis you will see cage after cage of colorful birds and other small animals for sale right out on the streets.
Every hue and color of the rainbow will assault your senses when you get near Rambla de les Flors.
No one in Barcelona need be gloomy when looking at such bright and vibrant bouquets of cheerful flowers!
Stalls filled with the latest magazines and books of all types are available as you stroll through these streets.
Various types of buildings ranging from the 17- 18th century Baroque Betlem church to a mansion, Palau Güell, designed by the famous architect Gaudi in 1888 will be there among numerous others to interest students of architecture.
Tapas bars as well as many other restaurants line the streets making it easy to grab a bite of food if and when one becomes hungry. Had my husband and I had more time, we would have loved to have gone into some of those tapas bars and tasted food specific to that area, but the clock was ticking and we had to return to the Ritz hotel in order to catch a plane back to Majorca for the night.
There are so many other buildings ranging from private residences ,to storefronts of various types, hotels and even public venues such as those housing opera troupes and musical theater in which one can stay or spend a bit of time.
So whether just strolling through Las Ramblas and absorbing some of the beauty of the exterior facades of the buildings or concentrating on the street entertainment and joining the moving tide of people enjoying themselves out on the streets, it is a place to see and also be seen if in Barcelona.
A friend of ours loaned us his book and I got to read it before we traveled to Spain. I would heartily recommend it! I think it makes a trip to Spain even more enjoyable.
Other sites in Las RamblasClick thumbnail to view full-size
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Las Ramblas in Barcelona, Spain
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© 2012 Peggy Woods