Barcelona Shopping Walk (Self Guided), Barcelona

Set among the world's prime cultural destinations, Barcelona is en route to becoming one of Europe's top shopping spots as well. Fashionable designer stores are filling the streets of Barcelona with each new day, from well known international brands to local start ups. Barcelona is also an excellent gourmet destination, offering plenty of goodies to try on the spot or take home with you. Take this self-guided walk and explore the city's main shopping zones.
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Barcelona Shopping Walk Map

Guide Name: Barcelona Shopping Walk
Guide Location: Spain » Barcelona (See other walking tours in Barcelona)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 Km or 2.1 Miles
Author: clare
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • La Rambla
  • Placa de Sant Josep Oriol
  • Portal de l’Angel
  • Placa de Catalunya (Catalonia Square)
  • Passeig de Gracia
  • El Bulevard dels Antiquaris
  • Avinguda Diagonal
La Rambla

1) La Rambla (must see)

La Rambla is Barcelona's main thoroughfare packed with colorful shops, cafes, restaurants and just as colorful leisurely crowd. It is by far more than just a street but a live manifestation of Barcelona's adventurous and independent spirit. The street runs for 1.2 kilometers from the Christopher Columbus Monument at Port Vell to Plaça de Catalunya in the center of the city, and is particularly dense at the height of a tourist season. The pavement cafes and souvenir kiosks, lining the street, attract numerous city guests much as the local pickpockets, beware, so it's always good to keep one's eyes open, just to be on the safe side.

The prices here are a bit steeper than elsewhere in the city, but then again, excitement does come at a price, you know, and La Rambla sure gives tonnes of it. One of Spain's greatest poets, Federico García Lorca, once said of La Rambla that it's "the only street in the world which I wish would never end." Ahh...

You have to walk on Las Rambla to get to the famous La Boqueria market, which has tons of places to eat and many great options. However, if you want excellent food at half the price and to be able to actually sit and enjoy your meal, go to Mercado de Santa Caterina, which is a 10min walk from La Boqueria.
Placa de Sant Josep Oriol

2) Placa de Sant Josep Oriol

Placa de Sant Josep Oriol is a cute little plaza in the Gothic quarter of Barcelona. It is named after Josep Oriol, a 17th-century priest who served community at the nearby parish of Santa Maria del Pi and dedicated his life to looking after the sick and needy. His statue tops one of the doorways overlooking the square but is somewhat difficult to find. The square is always packed with buskers, street artists and tourists drawn here by numerous cafes, restaurants and craft shops lining the adjoining streets, and thus making it a lively spot to hang out.

This is even more surprising, given that the square sits on top of the church’s former graveyard.

There are several attractions here worth noticing, namely:
- a bronze statue of Angel Guimerà, one of the classics of Catalan literature, created by Josep Cardona i Furró;
- the 16th-century building at Nº4 (commissioned by the Fivaller family) housing the Institut Agrícola Català de Sant Isidre;
- the del Pi Bar, one of the most iconic bars in Barcelona, set inside an 18th-century building at Nº1;
- a commemorative plaque on the wall of the of Santa Maria del Pi Church marking the historic and rather lucky escape of the builder José Mestres who fell from the top of the church and miraculously survived, without serious injury; and finally
- the ‘Square of the Unknown Soldier’ inscription painted on the northern wall of the church by a soldier during the Civil War in 1939. Under Franco’s regime, the inscription was painted over but in 2009 was restored back to its original form.
Portal de l’Angel

3) Portal de l’Angel

Portal de l'Angel is a pedestrian street in the Ciutat Vella district of Barcelona by Placa Catalunya, and part of the large shopping area that spans from Avinguda Diagonal to Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter). It's one of the city's most visited streets and is always crowded with tourists at any time of the year. It's also worth of noting Portal de l'Angel is one of Barcelona's most expensive areas. There is a large El Corte Ingles department store on this street, just opposite to a building that has a giant thermometer in its facade. It's also home to other international shopping brands, such as Zara, Massimo Dutti, and Benetton.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Placa de Catalunya (Catalonia Square)

4) Placa de Catalunya (Catalonia Square)

As well as being the most connected transit hub for Barcelona's metropolitan area, Plaça de Catalunya is the heart of the city in a wider sense. It is undoubtedly one of the busiest and most interesting places, acting as one of the starting points of Barcelona's main arteries, such as Las Ramblas, Passeig de Gràcia, or the pedestrian street Portal de l'Àngel. It is also the connection point between the Old City and its gridded 19th-century extension known as Eixample, which is home to some of Europe’s most exquisite architecture.

One of the largest squares in Spain, it stands as one of Barcelona's most bustling places due to the endless restaurants, hotels, shops, cafes and entertainment venues found throughout the area. If you look in the middle of the square itself, you will find pavement stones arranged in the shape of a star which, they say, marks the center of the Catalonian capital.

For high fashion, design, jewelry and department stores, the principal shopping axis starts here – so if you're in for some retail therapy, this is the place to go. An initial orientation point for visitors is the white-faced El Corte Inglés, Spain's only surviving department store, an enormous fortress-like behemoth that houses everything you would expect – from books, music and food to high fashion, jewelry, technology, and homeware. The store is famous for its decent customer service, but also the 9th-floor cafeteria where you can get a seat by the window affording a great panoramic view over the square below. On the opposite side is El Triangle, a commercial center that is home to FNAC, a mega media store with several slick floors of books, music and technology.

Plaça de Catalunya is also known for its fountains and statues, attracting flocks of tourists and pigeons in their thousands. As the afternoon proceeds, it gets increasingly crowded and colorful, perfect to get a sense of life in Barcelona as there are always lots and lots of details to observe.

The fountains are pretty in the day but the display at night is beautiful, illuminated by alternating colored light.
Passeig de Gracia

5) Passeig de Gracia (must see)

Formerly known as Camí de Jesús (or "Jesus Road"), this wide, tree-lined avenue originally linked the Old City and the former village of Gràcia even before Barcelona's ancient walls were torn down. The urbanization project started around 1820, provided impetus for Passeig de Gràcia to evolve into what it is today. Even by the early 1900s, it was Barcelona's most fashionable street.

Aside from the beautiful wrought-iron street lamps installed in 1906, one can also notice here the greenish-gray pavement tiles designed by Antoni Gaudí, creating an abstract vista of sea creatures which add a great deal of uniqueness to the area.

Delightful for strollers, this boulevard is now home to many of the city’s most elite stores, similar to those found on Paris's Champs-Élysées or New York's 5th Avenue. Eating out here is a bit pricey, but there are quite a few budget-friendly venues down the side streets, with foods ranging from Syrian and Ethiopian to some Asian fusions.

More notably, this is also the top place for Modernist architecture, most of which is clustered on the main street and some of the side streets as well. Buildings, balconies, stained-glass windows and carved doors are all within sight, including major highlights like Gaudí’s La Pedrera and Manzana de la Discordia, as you wander around the area fitted with gems by the world's three top Modernist architects. With the most mansions here belonging to Barcelona's wealthiest citizens of the late 19th – early 20th centuries, there's no shortage of richly and tastefully decorated facades to behold. Day or night, Passeig de Gràcia offers a fantastic opportunity for architecture buffs to crane their necks admiring Barcelona's urbanism.

This boulevard is particularly magical in summer when the locals compete between themselves decorating the streets as part of the Gràcia Festival, which, together with the live music played everywhere, makes it a really fun place to be!
El Bulevard dels Antiquaris

6) El Bulevard dels Antiquaris

Located in the center of Barcelona at Passeig de Gracia, El Bulevard dels Antiquaris is an indoor market that gathers over 70 shops which offer a comprehensive range of art and antique works including furniture, paintings, sculpture, primitive and oriental art, archeology, jewelry, ivory and crystal ware, dolls, general decorative arts, Asian antique furniture, old French goods and small gifts. All items sold at El Bulevard dels Antiquaris are genuine antiques, which come with a certificate of origin and a written guarantee.

Operation Hours Monday - Sunday: 10 am - 8:30 pm
Avinguda Diagonal

7) Avinguda Diagonal

Avinguda Diagonal (meaning "Avenue Diagonal) is one of Barcelona's broadest and most important avenues. It cuts the city in two, diagonally with respect to the grid pattern of the surrounding streets, hence the name. Its construction began in mid-19th century. It provided an opportunity for the rich to display their wealth by going around in their large and expensive carriages.

Avinguda Diagonal is a showcase of Catalan Modernism given the the large number of buildings built in that style on both sides of the road. It is one of the top shopping destinations in Barcelona with large department stores, malls and designer boutiques dotted along the street. There are also plenty of cafes and restaurants to stop for a rest while admiring all the buildings.

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