For years now La Rambla has been a subject of controversy between both locals and foreign visitors. On one hand, this pedestrian boulevard stretching 1.2 km, from Plaza Catalunya and to the Columbus Monument, has clearly become one of the city’s landmark, easily the most famous and recognized street in Barcelona. At the same time, it symbolizes everything you might hate about a city this popular among tourists – crowd rushing back and forth, pickpockets, and eateries with overpriced food of dubious quality just to name a few. While some advice to avoid La Rambla at all cost (which is fairly hard to manage – unless you are spending your entire vacation in say, Horta – Guinardó, a remote barrio in North-Eastern corner, at some point you would HAVE to cross it), it is still worth mentioning that lined along the boulevard are some historic sites, La Boqueria food market – a gourmet’s heaven, free of charge cultural center Palau de la Virreina (La Rambla, 99), a Neo-Classical Palau Moja (Calle Portaferrissa, 1), one of the world’s leading opera houses Gran Teatre del Liceu (La Rambla, 51-52), and even more finds are waiting on the adjoining streets.
The history of La Rambla spans almost seven centuries; in the old times along the present-day’s street lay a sewage-filled stream, at that time still outside the city walls. The expansion of Barcelona in the 14th century led to the area being included in the city limits and converted into a pedestrian street. Over the years, it has become a popular spot for public celebrations, fairs, while the architecture turned into something much more profound and sophisticated.
It is not generally recommended to eat at La Rambla (except for food stalls in La Boqueria), but there is one spot which definitely deserves at least one visit – Pastelería Escribá (La Rambla, 83). Founded in 1906, this family establishment has some of the best croissants in Barcelona, elaborate pastries, chocolates, and even savory tarts and sandwiches, excellent for a quick lunch.
Metro: Liceu (line 3).