Spain’s cultural heart has unforgettable architecture, a pioneering arts scene, creative cuisine and nightlife that buzzes till dawn.
Travel bucket list idea:
Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Garcia Llorca called it the ‘most beautiful street in the world’ and it’s hard to argue: curving sinuously for a mile down to the sea. It threads past the flower and bird market, news kiosks and cafés, endless ‘living statues’ and street performers, and some of the city’s most important monuments: the Baroque Palau de la Virreina, the Liceu Opera and La Boqueria market.
It is, however, a tourist trap, always crowded and bustling and plagued by pick pockets. It can be a bit overwhelming, but it’s worth a quick walk down on your way to the waterfront, market, or another of the landmarks nearby., to say you’ve done it.
Getting there & doing it
The Ramblas runs all the way from the Port Vell waterfront (at the southern end) to Plaça de Catalunya (at the northern end). Thanks to the constant crowds and numerous distractions, the Rambla is prime pickpocket territory – beware of scams and anyone who unexpectedly starts talking to you, or tries to ‘help remove a spot’. Most of the restaurants along La Rambla are pricey, awful tourist traps, but if you stop, try the atmospheric Café de l’Opèra, founded in 1929, at number 74.
When to do it
Early evening, when the street lights come on and the locals are leaving work and heading off to the bars, is the jolliest time for a stroll. Avoid the upper part of the Rambla when FC Barcelona win an important match and supporters gather around the Font de Canalets to celebrate.
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