Las Ramblas is 3/4 mile (1.2 km) of pure strolling joy. It’s the heart of Barcelona, a wide, tree-lined boulevard where tourists and locals alike go to promenade, to see and be seen. Sometimes people call it La Rambla but this is not quite correct as it’s a whole collection of connected short streets thus making up the plural name Las Ramblas. It leads from the square Placa de Catalunya to the port area, Port Vell.
While traffic zooms up and down the sides, the wide central strip with its lines of protective trees is pedestrianized and full of the weird and the wonderful. There are buskers and artists and eccentrics and people walking dogs, tourists taking photographs and a multitude of kiosks.
Along the way you pass many of the Barcelona landmarks: the opera house Liceu dating from 1847; the Centre d’Art Santa Monica which is a contemporary art gallery of changing exhibitions housed in a 17th century convent building; take a tour of La Boqueria Market, Barcelona’s oldest and most famous fresh food market which began in the 13th century and has been in this building since the early 19th century; Placa de Reial, a lovely 19th century square surrounded arcades of shops and restaurants; Font de Canaletes, a fountain which it is said will bring anyone who drinks from it back to Barcelona; Palau Guell (located just of Las Ramblas in Carrer Nou de la Rambla) which is one of architect Antoni Gaudi’s remarkable buildings.
When you reach the waterfront you’ll be in good company: the Mirador de Colom is a statue of Christopher Columbus. If you’re hungry after your walk, head back to the restaurants of the Placa de Reial, or to the little streets around the market where you’ll find lots of bars and restaurants dotted around.