La Rambla Walking Tour, Barcelona (Self Guided)

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 tour 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: 10
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 km
Author: clare
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.

Nearby, there is an elevator to the viewing platform from which one can enjoy a sweeping view of the area. For that, visitors must pay an admission fee.

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 at the top that charges admission for a panoramic view.
Sight description based on wikipedia
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
Museo de Cera de Barcelona

3) Museo de Cera de Barcelona

Barcelona’s wax museum (Museo de Cera de Barcelona) situated 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
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 Gaudi for the industrial tycoon Eusebi Guell. Gaudí was commissioned to the project in 1885. The construction began in October 1886 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 Gaudi". 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.

Another key element of this building is the roof terrace with colorful chimneys installed in 1895 and 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.

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.

The roof terrace is the pièce de résistance, with colorful chimneys, decorated with broken tiles and mosaics, and no two alike! Perfect on a sunny day, but don't go on wet days as they'll close the roof.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 10am-8pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Gran Teatre del Liceu

5) Gran Teatre del Liceu (must see)

The Gran Teatre del Liceu is an opera house in La Rambla, inaugurated in April 1847. A peculiar thing about this theater is that, unlike other old European opera houses, usually sustained with royal funds, this one has been supported entirely through private shareholding, namely: the Great Liceu Theatre Society. For this reason, the theater has no royal box.

Also, unlike the majority of opera theaters, it has only two facades (with the main one overlooking la Rambla) and is flanked on two sides by other buildings.

The theater's auditorium is huge, seating up to 2,300 spectators, which makes it one of the biggest opera houses in Europe. In 1994 it was ravaged by fire but then was faithfully restored to its original beauty with some improvements.

Over the years, many top international singers have performed here, including Fedor Chaliapine, Maria Callas, Birgit Nilson, Joan Sutherland, Franco Corelli, Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, and others.

Why You Should Visit:
Excellent place to see a recital, opera, or other performance.
If not, do take a tour, either self-guided or a morning tour with a guide. Unless there's a special event, you will get to see the theater, hallways, and maybe the private rooms.

Avoid buying any seats in the first three blocks at each side of the stage. Instead, you should buy seats in the central three blocks or in the stalls.
Later on, have a nice glass of cava in the interval in the beautiful foyer on the first floor, with a fabulous decoration to admire.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Mercat de Boqueria

6) Mercat de Boqueria (must see)

The Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, commonly known as simply La Boqueria, is a large public market in the Ciutat Vella district of Barcelona with an entrance from La Rambla, not far from the Liceu opera theater. 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. Starting December 1470, for several years, there was a pig market called Mercat Bornet. After that, up until 1794, there was a straw market (Mercat de la Palla). Eventually, a purpose-built marketplace, mainly for fishmongers and butchers, was designated on La Rambla. However, it wasn't until 1826 that the market was officially recognized and the current facility construction began in 1840, run by architect Mas Vila.

La Boqueria is a great place to learn about Catalan traditional food, to enjoy light tapas lunch or buy 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.

Why You Should Visit:
Great place to learn and taste Catalan traditional food ingredients. Good place for having a light tapas lunch or aperitif. The place to buy culinary souvenirs.
There's also a sit-down counter/bar-like place called Kiosko that has the freshest fish and once you choose it they cook it right there.

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

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 8am-8pm; closed on Sundays
Sight description based on wikipedia
Museu de l'Erotica

7) Museu de l'Erotica

Barcelona is famous for being a home to some peculiar works of art and museums. One of them is the Musue de l’Erotica (museum of 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
Palau de la Virreina

8) Palau de la Virreina

The Palau de la Virreina (palace of the Viceroy’s wife) at #99 La Rambla was originally designed as residence for the Viceroy of Peru and served that purpose until his death, upon which his widow remained there alone (hence the nick “Palace of the Viceroy’s wife”). The construction lasted from 1772 to 1775. Today, the palace is the municipal property of Barcelona’s department of culture, and houses art exhibitions of various sort. On the ground floor it holds contemporary photography gallery named after the famous local photographer, Xavier Maserachs; the first floor is given to the contemporary art exhibitions organized by the department. The ground floor gallery plays host to one of Barcelona’s most prestigious annual photography events, FotoMercè, held in September.
Poliorama Theater

9) Poliorama Theater

Poliorama Theater, one of the oldest theaters in Barcelona, sits on the premises of the Science and Arts Academy on La Rambla, near the "Font de Canaletes". At some point it switched ownership from public to private, and today is very much busy with both theatrical performances and musical shows, including traditional Catalan music, flamenco, opera, etc. The theater seats 654 people. Additional info regarding its daily program can be obtained at tel. 933177599.
Placa de Catalunya

10) Placa de Catalunya (must see)

Placa de Catalunya – centerpiece of Barcelona's commercial crossroads – is packed with shopping opportunities. Department stores, fashion boutiques and cosmetics shops are all here, so if you're in for some retail therapy, this is the place to go. Some of the city's major avenues (e.g. Passeig de Gracia, Rambla de Catalunya, La Rambla, etc.) meet here as well. The spacious 50,000 square meter plaza is also known for its fountains and statues, attracting flocks of tourists and pigeons in their thousands. Knocking down the medieval city walls in the 19th century gave way to the ambitious designs of public spaces conceived under the guidance of notable urban planners. Placa Catalunya, in particular, was conceived as part of pla Rovira in 1859, but it wasn't until 1888 (year of the Universal Exposition) that the municipal government gave official permission for the construction. The square underwent its first round of “urbanized” development in 1902 and then was further modified in 1929, on the occasion of the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition, seeing the construction of a metro station by architect Francisco Nebot.

Why You Should Visit:
Central meeting point in Barcelona and definitely a landmark to get to other places within the city.

Go to the nearby El Corte Ingles store rooftop cafe and get a seat by the window. The view over the square is amazing.
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Barcelona, Spain

Create Your Own Walk in Barcelona

Create Your Own Walk in Barcelona

Creating your own self-guided walk in Barcelona is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Montjuic Walking Tour

Montjuic Walking Tour

Montjuic is a hill in Barcelona which offers a variety of great attractions of historic, cultural, and architectural value. Here, you can watch a magic show by Font Magica de Montjuic, visit the place where matadors faced the bulls in the past, explore the Castell de Montjuic with its spectacular views, and much more. Discover the best spots of Montjuic with this tour today!

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.8 km
Shopping Walk

Shopping Walk

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....  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.5 km
Eixample Souvenir Shopping

Eixample Souvenir Shopping

It's a pity, if not a crime, to leave Barcelona without visiting the local specialty shops. Check out this Eixample souvenir shopping tour for some gifts and souvenirs unique to Barcelona that you may want to bring home to your loved ones from this wonderful city.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.5 km
Ciutat Vella Nightlife

Ciutat Vella Nightlife

It is safe to say that Barcelona is one of those cities that never sleeps. Whatever kind of nightlife entertainment you may think of – a classy music joint or a swanky club to have a drink in and more – you will find it all in Barcelona. This walking tour takes you to some of the best discos and bars in the Ciutat Vella district.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.5 km
El Raval Walking Tour

El Raval Walking Tour

El Raval is a district in Barcelona which features many worth visiting attractions. The neighborhood is known as Barri Xinés, which means "Chinatown". El Raval is very lively during the day and quite awake all through the night, so visitors will always have something to do and see here. Be one of them and enjoy yourself in El Raval.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.4 km
Montjuïc Museums Tour

Montjuïc Museums Tour

Montjuïc is a hill in Barcelona, located just southwest of the city center and overlooking the harbor. Besides the great view, it also offers visitors many interesting and significant museums such as the Poble Espanyol, Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, Museu Olímpic i de l'Esport, and others. Here, you will learn many interesting facts about the history and culture of Catalonia,...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.0 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

Barcelona Souvenir Shopping: 17 Uniquely Spanish Things to Buy

Barcelona Souvenir Shopping: 17 Uniquely Spanish Things to Buy

Spain, in general, and Barcelona, in particular, are a treasure trove of all things exciting. Set your foot in Barcelona and you'll be spoiled for the choice of things worth trying and taking home. Before your head starts spinning, check this guide out to put yourself in the right...
Top 10 Spanish Foods and Drinks to Try in Barcelona

Top 10 Spanish Foods and Drinks to Try in Barcelona

In the countries like Spain, food is a national heritage and cultural attraction in its own right. The latter is even more true of Catalonia in general and Barcelona in particular. Presented here are the 10 staples of Catalan food tradition, missing which would be a gastronomical...

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Barcelona for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Barcelona has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Saving Money with City Passes

To save yourself time and money getting around Barcelona and visiting the city's multiple sights, you may want to resort to the so-called city passes, such as iVenture Card, Hola Barcelona: Transport Pass, Barcelona Pass, and Barcelona Museum Pass.

These city passes combine all or multiple Barcelona's top highlights, tours and experiences in one prepaid attractions pass, using which you can save incredible amounts on general admission fees as compared to purchasing tickets separately. Often, a city pass also allows you to skip the lines at major attractions, thus saving you precious time.

Staying at Walk-Friendly Hotels

Since you're keen on exploring cities on foot (we assume that you are, and this is why you're here), it is important that you stay at a hotel close to the city's major attractions. It saves you time and energy. Here are a few of Barcelona hotels that are conveniently located: Iberostar Paseo de Gracia 4* Sup, Catalonia Plaza Cataluña Hotel, Olivia Plaza Hotel.

Taking Care of Your Feet

To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Barcelona, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device

Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.

Exploring City on Guided Tours

We have a strong bias towards exploring a city on foot, at your own pace, because this is how you get to see things up close with a maximum freedom. You decide how much time you wish to spend at each attraction and don't have to worry about following a crowd. That said, however, we also understand that some of you may want to go with a guided tour. If that is your case, here are some guided tours to consider. Be ready to fork out a bit of money, as a guided tour of Barcelona typically costs between around US$15 and over US$80 per person:

- Hop on a “hop-on hop-off” double-decker and enjoy sightseeing of Barcelona from the open top of the bus, listening in the headsets to the commentary provided in a variety of languages, and be able get off at any of the stops along the two interconnecting routes (your ticket is valid for both).

- Embark on a self-balancing Segway tour – this usually lasts around 2 hours and allows you to get a real sense of the city. Most people (even those aged 70+) find it quite fun and convenient, enabling to cover much more ground than you otherwise would have done by walking.

- Pedal your way around Barcelona on a 3-hour bike tour visiting the city's most spectacular sights, stopping at each (for 5-20 minutes) to get rest, watch the surroundings, and learn much about the city from an informative group leader.

- If you're an arts and architecture buff, with a keen interest in Catalan modernism of the late 19th century, then you may definitely enjoy a 2-hour guided stroll around the Quadrat d'Or (Golden Square) in Barcelona's Eixample borough to explore in-depth the works (buildings) of the celebrated pioneers of modernism: Domenech i Montaner, Puig i Cadafalch and, of course, Barcelona's most acclaimed architect Antoni Gaudí. As an extra bonus on this tour, you will get a 20% discount on a guided tour of the Palau de la Música Catalana (Music Palace), discounted entrance at Casa Batlló, free admission to the Museu del Modernisme Català (Catalan Modernism Museum), plus savings on admission to Casa Batlló. Great value and tons of information for the money spent!

- If you don't find tales of the supernatural terrifying, and if the gruesome details of witchcraft, exorcisms and paranormal activity, told after sunset, make your hair stand but only with curiosity, then why not treat yourself to a 2-hour “ghost” walk to discover sinister secrets of Barcelona, visiting some of the city's haunted places, entertained along the way by an informative commentary from an expert guide.

- Have the taste of Catalonia’s gourmet culture on this 3- to 4-hour tour of Barcelona's tapas crawling some of the city’s most prominent bars and cafes in La Rambla, La Boqueria food market, and the Gothic Quarter led by an expert food guide. Apart from savoring a variety of traditional Catalonian cured meats, cheeses and breads, as well as drinks, you will also learn how to order these iconic bar snacks in style, like a true local!

Day Trips

If you have a day to spare whilst in Barcelona, why not use it to explore some of the out-of-town destinations, like Costa Brava, Pyrenees mountain range, or Tarragona and Sitges. For as little as US$90+ to US$190+ you will get a chance to observe the picturesque villages and dramatic cliffs of the nearby Mediterranean coast, get high up in the Pyrenees Mountains visiting the historic town of Vic in the north of the country with optional hiking, horseback riding or boating excursions, or discover historical highlights of the Roman city of Tarragona complete with a seaside leisure at Sitges. All these trips start and end at your hotel and you'll be carried by a comfortable air-conditioned coach or minivan, accompanied by an English-speaking tour guide.