Barcelona's Rambla was originally a watercourse, a sandy arroyo called rmel (Arabic for "sand"). Today seasonal runoff has... more » been replaced by a flood of humanity. No wonder Federico García Lorca called this the only street in the world he wished would never end: the show of humanity rages relentlessly — mimes, acrobats, jugglers, musicians, puppeteers, portraitists, break-dancers, rappers, and rockers stretched out beneath the canopy of plane trees. A pedestrian runway between two traffic lanes, the Rambla remains an essential Barcelona event.
The crowds seethe and dawdle. Couples sit at café tables no bigger than tea trays while nimble-footed waiters dodge traffic. Peddlers, kiosk owners, parrots, and parakeets along the Rambla dels Ocells (Rambla of the Birds) create a cacophony of birdsong and catcalls that clamors over the din of taxis and motorbikes. Here, in busy Barcelona, the Rambla is permanently filled with squads of revelers, often more animated at 3 AM than at 3 PM.
Canaletas fountain, Rambla de les Flors, La Boqueria, the ceramic life of Saint Paul, Hotel Espanya, the Liceu opera house shop, Palau Güell, Plaça Reial.
Top of the Rambla at Plaça Catalunya
Best Time to Go:
Before 2 PM when everything is open and the market is raging.
Worst Time to Go:
Between 2 PM and 4 PM when the market starts to slow down and Palau Güell closes.
Where to Refuel:
Café Viena for the famous flautas de jamón iberico (Iberico ham sandwiches); Bar Pinotxo and Quim de la Boqueria in La Boqueria; La Taxidermista in Plaça Reial. less «