Who doesn’t love a walkable city? Even if you aren’t from the city, you want to be able to get out and learn about the new places that you visit. If you are from the city, it’s like being at home because city life is city life no matter where you go. From crossing the street, to walking fast, to the abundance of cafés, restaurants, bars, and entertainment – city living is the best! A central street in Barcelona that both tourists and locals love is La Rambla. This 3/4 mile (1.2km) long tree lined pedestrian mall is wide and beckons everyone to walk, shop, and admire their surroundings. Off of the main walking area are more streets, more shops, and more things to visit like Mercat de la Boqueria, Barcelona’s biggest market with about 800 booths.
La Rambla starts at Plaça de Catalunya and goes toward the harbor. The construction of the Maremàgnum in the 1990’s meant that La Rambla continued via wooden walkway into the harbor, also known as the Rambla de Mar. This area near the water is known as Rambla de Santa Mònica and you can find art dealers and more souvenir stands in this area. In the distance you can see the tall, modern building, which is the new Westin. We were thinking about staying there, but it is quite a distance from central Barcelona. I’m glad we didn’t because we would have missed out on much by being so far away from La Rambla.
I always advocate the use of the “hop on/hop off” tour bus wherever you go because if you want to learn about the city you are in quickly, but don’t want to take a long organized tour, these buses can give you a quick insight into your surroundings.
Of course, we spotted one quickly in Barcelona, but opted for walking instead. However, if you didn’t want to take the bus or walk, how about a bike? I love that Barcelona, like the rest of Europe, has embraced this system. In Barcelona the system is called Bicing and started up in 2007. Annual subscription is about €30 and includes the swipe card to unlock the bikes. The first 30 minutes are free and you pay extra for each additional half an hour. The maximum time you can keep a bike is 2 hours.
One of the unusual things about La Rambla is the abundance of living statues. Literally lined up one after another were people in makeup and costumes to look like tin men, cowboys, you name it. This area is known as Rambla dels Caputxins and is unfortunately, an area for pickpockets so be careful with your money and be aware of your surroundings.
Much more left to talk about in Barcelona and Spain so stay tuned!