Getting to La Rambla
La Rambla is on the very western edge of the Gothic Quarter and on the eastern boundary of the El Raval district. It’s one of the liveliest streets in Barcelona, known for its flower sellers, street performers, shops and endless choice of dining venues.
Staying around the Gothic Quarter or close to Plaça de Catalunya? You’ll be able to reach La Rambla leisurely on foot. Heading there from farther neighbourhoods like Gràcia or Montjuïc? You might want to make the most of Barcelona’s efficient public transport system.
It’s run by TMB and includes a mix of trams, buses and metro trains. La Rambla is serviced by the Liceu metro station. It’s a main stop on line 3 (green), which cuts right across the city and passes through Barcelona-Sants – one of the cities two major mainline train stations.
You could also hop off at Drassanes metro station further down La Rambla or catch a line 1 (red) metro to Plaça de Catalunya. Alternatively, reach La Rambla by bus; the 59, N9 and V13 all stop at various points along the street.
Tickets for TMB transport can be purchased at any metro station, online or on the TMB app. You can use the same tickets on any TMB service. Prices start at €2.40 for single tickets, or you can get a ten-journey travel card for €11.35.
The best things to do in La Rambla
As well as being a central hub for shopping, dining and nightlife, La Rambla street also hosts some of Barcelona’s top attractions. Want to check out a centuries-old market? Or how about catching a show at a historic opera house? Here are a few options to add to your itinerary.
La Boqueria Market
Love a good food market? La Boqueria is easily one of the best in the city – and it’s located right on La Rambla. Packed with vibrant stalls selling everything from fresh fruit and veg to cured meats, plump olives and other Spanish delicacies, it’s a feast for the eyes and the stomach!
The famous indoor market is open Monday to Saturday. It attracts locals, tourists and chefs from Barcelona’s top restaurants. As well as picking up some produce and treats, why not dine in at one of the market’s onsite restaurants?
Liceu Opera House
This grand opera house is conveniently located steps from the Liceu metro station. It’s stood on that exact same spot since 1847 and is the perfect place for a cultural evening out.
Not just showcasing the latest in the opera world, the Liceu Opera House’s programme includes everything from classical music concerts to ballet performances. Book tickets and get ready to experience an incredible show in the stunning, ornate surroundings of this 175-year-old venue.
You could easily stroll up La Rambla and not even notice this attraction! The Miró mosaic sits right outside the Liceu metro station in the wide pathway between the roads.
Vast and colourful, it was designed by famed Spanish artist Joan Miró in the 1970s. Look at his signature primary colours and bold, monochrome lines. Due to so many feet traipsing over its tiles, the mosaic was restored in 2006. Spare a minute to admire its striking design and seek out the tile that features Miró’s signature.
You’ll find this tinkling fountain at the very top end of La Rambla, just before the street turns into Plaça de Catalunya. Font de Canaletes dates back to the 15th century and was once a primary source of Barcelona’s drinking water. Nowadays, the fountain is a popular meeting spot for locals. It’s also where Barcelona football fans traditionally gather to celebrate match wins.
According to local legend, if you taste the water flowing out of the fountain, you’re destined to return to Barcelona!
La Rambla history and facts
Walking along La Rambla now, it’s hard to imagine the street being anything other than a destination for shopping and eating out. Rewind several hundred years, and this boulevard played a role in some of Barcelona’s most important chapters of history.
From sewer to street
Before La Rambla was turned into a street in the 15th century, it was actually one of the most extensive sewers in Barcelona. The stinky stream separated the Gothic Quarter (the original walled city of Barcelona) from El Raval.
However, in the late 1300s, plans were drawn to extend the city walls to incorporate La Rambla and El Raval. The sewer was covered over, and the stream redirected in 1440, making space for shops and other businesses.
Building up La Rambla
Over the next few centuries, La Rambla gradually became a popular place for shopping, sports and festivities. The now world-famous La Boqueria Market was one of the first things to appear on the street, initially an outdoor market. It was here where the tradition of selling flowers also began; stallholders would offer them to visitors as a gift for their custom.
During the 16th and 17th centuries, several churches and other religious buildings popped up along La Rambla, including the still-standing Església de Betlem. The first homes were constructed in the early 1700s. Hundreds of trees were also planted, transforming the street into an elegant, leafy boulevard.
The Spanish Civil War
By the early 20th century, Las Ramblas had become one of the busiest areas of the city. It was dotted with well-known landmarks alongside markets and housing – from the Canaletes fountain to the Columbus Monument from 1888.
In the 1930s, the Spanish Civil War started. Barcelona’s La Rambla was sadly the site of several fights and riots, with the government forces based on the Gothic Quarter side of the street and the anarchists on the El Raval side.
Although you wouldn't know it now, much damage was done to the buildings. Today, lively La Rambla has become the most visited place in the city, with over 100 million people estimated to stroll down its pavements each year.
La Rambla or Las Ramblas?
Confused about which to call it? Both are actually correct. La Rambla is the collective name for the entire street, while Las Ramblas refers to the five sections it’s made up of. These include:
- La Rambla de Canaletes
- La Rambla dels Estudis
- La Rambla de Sant Josep (sometimes called La Ramba de Les Flors)
- La Rambla dels Caputxins
- La Rambla de Santa Monica
Restaurants, bars and shops around La Rambla
Stroll along La Rambla, and you’ll be greeted by hundreds of different venues for eating, drinking, dancing and retail therapy! From must-visit La Rambla shops to exciting nightlife venues, here are a few of our favourite places to pop into.
Tablao Flamenco Cordobes
One of the many amazing things to do along La Rambla at night is to visit a flamenco club. Tablao Flamenco Cordobes is a great pick, and it sits towards the bottom end of the street, just seconds from Palau Güell.
The flamenco club first opened its doors in the 1970s, and it’s now a staple in the city for dinner dance shows. The venue is traditionally decorated and often hosts some of the best talents in the flamenco dancing world.
Mercat de la Boqueria
We’ve already mentioned this La Rambla shopping venue – and it really is essential for any food fans! The thriving market has every kind of Spanish produce you can imagine. It’s particularly brilliant if you plan to self-cater while staying in Barcelona.
Cafè de l’Opera
Situated steps from the Liceu metro station, this beautifully decorated dining venue is easily one of the most historic on La Rambla. Cafè de l’Opera began as a tavern in the 18th century before being transformed into a stunning Viennese-style café (complete with sparkling chandeliers) and later a fine dining restaurant specialising in Majorcan cuisine.
The Cafè de l’Opera you can visit today is much like when the current owners took it in 1929. It’s recognised for its gorgeous Modernist interiors and classic menu. What’s more, up until 2020, the café proudly claimed that it had been open consecutively for seven days a week since the 1920s, including during the Spanish Civil War!
Book a table and get ready to tuck into tasty tapas or indulge your sweet tooth with some moreish churros dunked in decadent melted chocolate.
In addition to well-known brands and luxury designer stores, you’ll find several long-running independent shops along La Rambla. This includes Casa Beethoven, an absolute haven for music lovers! The charming shop is next to Mercat de la Boqueria, selling sheet music, books and other memorabilia since 1880.
There’s sheet music for every kind of instrument too, plus options from both classical masters and modern composers. Even if you’re not a musician, it’s worth a visit to view its vintage-style interiors and shelves piled high with crumbling books.
Taking the train to Barcelona?
If you're planning to spend some time in the historic city of Barcelona, why not travel by train? Spain's extensive rail network is operated by Renfe and you can travel to Barcelona from a number of European cities. Some of the most popular routes to Barcelona from other countries include Paris to Barcelona (6h 40m), Amsterdam to Barcelona (13h 17m) and Lisbon to Barcelona (24h 30m).
Looking for more information about travelling to Barcelona by train? Check out our expert guide to trains to Barcelona.