La Rambla Walking Tour (Self Guided), Barcelona

La Rambla is the street in central Barcelona, popular with tourists and locals alike. Seemingly endless, it is filled with cultural and historic landmarks, as well as shops and cafes. The Spanish poet Federico García Lorca once said about La Rambla, "The only street in the world which I wish never ended." Take this self guided walk to explore the most famous sites on La Rambla, Barcelona.
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La Rambla Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: La Rambla Walking Tour
Guide Location: Spain » Barcelona (See other walking tours in Barcelona)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 Km or 1.4 Miles
Author: clare
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Columbus Monument
  • Maritime Museum
  • Barcelona Wax Museum
  • Palau Guell
  • La Boqueria Market
  • Museum of Erotica
  • Palace of the Viceroy’s Wife
  • Placa de Catalunya (Catalonia Square)
1
Columbus Monument

1) Columbus Monument (must see)

The Columbus Monument is a 60m monument to Christopher Columbus found at the lower end of Rambla street in Barcelona. It commemorates Columbus's reporting to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella upon his return to Spain from the first American expedition.

The monument was built in 1888 for the International World's Fair held in Barcelona that year. The bronze statue of Columbus, crowning the monument, was sculpted by Rafael Atche. Originally, the statue was intended to point westward in the direction of the New World, but instead, it points east, reportedly, towards Columbus's home town of Genoa in Italy. Underneath the statue, there is an inscription reading: "Tierra" (land). Down below are the series of sculpted images of the people related to Columbus, important scenes from his voyage to the Americas, the places he visited, as well as the scene of him meeting King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella in Spain.

Tip:
Take the time to go around the monument which has four groups of sculptures at the base, as well as a wine bar and a store selling some great souvenirs/gifts that aren't as mass-produced as what you'll find at the street vendors.
You can then take an elevator to the viewing platform from which you can enjoy a sweeping view of the area. For that, you must pay an admission fee.

Viewing Gallery:
Daily: 8:30am-8:30pm
2
Maritime Museum

2) Maritime Museum

Barcelona’s Maritime Museum is a definite must-see for anyone in love with the sea and maritime history. It is located in Drassanes Reals, the former royal shipyard built in a distinctive Gothic style. Among the many artifacts displayed here is a wonderful model of the Santa Maria de la Victoria ship aboard which Magellan circumnavigated the Earth for the first time in 1522. The collection's centerpiece, however, is a life-size replica of the Juan de Austria’s Lepanto vessel. The display also includes many other scale replicas of ships, dioramas, and various naval objects, as well as the fruit and vegetables brought to Europe by sailors from the American continent, including potatoes, tomatoes, bananas and more. Operation hours: Monday - Sunday: 10:00 am - 8:00 pm
3
Barcelona Wax Museum

3) Barcelona Wax Museum

Barcelona Wax Museum (Museo de Cera de Barcelona) is located in a 19th century square, slightly off La Rambla, is a home to 300 life-like statues portraying both fictitious and real personalities of the past and present from all over the world. The museum offers audiovisual tours and the display itself is enhanced with splendid backdrops, sound effects and many other special effects set to reinforce the experience. It also provides comprehensive information on the lives of the featured personalities. For extra fun there are two themed cafes: El Bosc de les Fades - designed in the form of a haunted forest, and; Passatge del Temps - built around the theme of ancient origami. Operation hours: Monday - Friday: 10:00 am - 1:30 pm and 4:00 pm - 7:30 pm; Saturday - Sunday: 11:00 am - 2:00 pm and 4:30 pm - 8:30 pm. In summer open daily from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm
4
Palau Guell

4) Palau Guell (must see)

Palau Guell (or Guell Palace) is a town mansion in the Raval district, created by Catalonia's #1 architect Antoni Gaudí for the industrial tycoon Eusebi Guell. Gaudí was commissioned to the project in 1885 and the palace was opened in time for the World Exhibition of 1888.

A magnificent Modernist building, this is one of Gaudí's early works in Barcelona and is now part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, known as "Works of Antoni Gaudí". Designed as a multipurpose building, with flats, event and exhibition spaces, there were just 18x22 meters of floor space available to build it.

Some of the facade elements make it look like a Venetian palace. The interior is centered around the main guest room fitted with tiny observation holes, hidden in the ornate walls and ceiling, through which the owner could sneak peek at the guests, from the upper floor, prior to greeting them in person. The two large oval gates at the front, featuring iron-work in the form of seaweed, resembling a horsewhip, made it possible for the high-society guests to arrive in their carriages straight into the horse stables at the basement. From there, they could then climb upstairs.

Why You Should Visit:
Location just off the famous Las Ramblas and being less well-known means fewer tourists and a great way of saving time yet managing to see some nice Gaudí work right in the old quarter of the city.

Tip:
The roof terrace is the pièce de résistance, with colorful chimneys, decorated with broken tiles and mosaics, no two of which are alike! Altogether there are 20 chimneys, which also serve as ventilation shafts.
On a rainy day, the roof is closed, mind you, so you better check the weather forecast upfront so as not to visit here when it's wet outside.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 10am-8pm
5
La Boqueria Market

5) La Boqueria Market (must see)

Located to the north of Las Ramblas and a couple of blocks south of Catalunya Square, the Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, commonly known as simply La Boqueria, is extremely busy no matter what time you go, but the vendors are so quick and used to it and the market is so large that the crowds are quite tolerable. The first-ever mention of a marketplace here dates back to 1217 when the stalls were installed near the old city gate to sell meat; however, it wasn't until 1826 that the market was officially recognized.

La Boqueria is a great place to learn about Catalan traditional food, to take yourself on a tapas tour, to learn about and sample jamón (usually served with cheese), to buy the world's freshest saffron (sold in various-sized small boxes) and fresh-caught seafood (no fish Sundays and Mondays) or buy tasty culinary souvenirs to take home. There's also a sit-down counter/bar-like place, called Kiosko, that offers fresh fish cooked right there for you. And, of course, there's an abundant choice of olives and fantabulous fresh fruit!

Explore deep into the market where some of the better stalls are. Try a little of everything and you won't be disappointed.

Tip:
Keep in mind that there are lots of pick-pocketers in the area. Whether by yourself or with friends, it's a good idea to watch your belongings.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 8am-8:30pm; closed on Sundays
6
Museum of Erotica

6) Museum of Erotica

Barcelona is famous for being a home to some peculiar works of art and museums. One of them is the Museum of Erotica (Musue de l’Erotica) located on La Rambla, highlighting educational and recreational aspects of eroticism, the oldest and most consistent theme in the history of mankind, regardless of culture and race.

The museum showcases eroticism and its development in different cultures, presented in the form of literature, pieces of art and archaeological findings. There are over 800 artifacts on display, originated mostly in Rome and Greece, providing comprehensive information on the rituals, religious beliefs and recreational aspects of eroticism. The museum is conveniently equipped for people with special needs. Opening hours: daily from 10 am to 12 pm. December 24: 10:00 - 17:00; January 1: 12:00 to 24:00; December 25: Closed
7
Palace of the Viceroy’s Wife

7) Palace of the Viceroy’s Wife

Palace of the Viceroy’s Wife (or Palau de la Virreina) was a private residence of Manuel Amat, Viceroy of Peru. Amat was Viceroy of Peru from 1761 to 1771. He took full advantage of his powerful position to accummulate a huge amount of wealth. In 1772, he hired the architect, Josep Ausich, and the sculptor, Carles Grau, to built a palace on La Rambla to show off his wealth. The construction lasted from 1772 to 1775. Unfortunately for Amat, he did not live long to enjoy his palace. In the years after Amat's death, Barcelonans saw a widow living in a luxurious palace and started calling it “Palace of the Viceroy’s Wife”.

The palace is an impressive building and one of the best baroque style building in Barcelona. Its highly-decorated façade and the interior courtyard and staircases give a glimpse of wealth and power. Today the building is the headquarter of Barcelona's City Council Culture Institute which hold frequent art exhibitions. The building is well worth a visit because its beauty is best appreciated from inside.
8
Placa de Catalunya (Catalonia Square)

8) Placa de Catalunya (Catalonia Square) (must see)

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.

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

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