La Rambla

La Rambla information

Barcelona , Spain
Getting there
Metro: Catalunya, Liceu or Drassanes
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Barcelona's most famous street is both a tourist magnet and a window into Catalan culture, with cultural centres, theatres and architecturally intriguing buildings lining its sides. Set between narrow traffic lanes and flanked by plane trees, the middle of La Rambla is a broad pedestrian boulevard, crowded every day until the wee hours with a wide cross section of society. A stroll here is pure sensory overload, with souvenir hawkers, buskers, pavement artists, mimes and living statues all part of the ever-changing street scene.

It takes its name from a seasonal stream (raml in Arabic) that once ran here. From the early Middle Ages on, it was better known as the Cagalell (Stream of Shit) and lay outside the city walls until the 14th century. Monastic buildings were then built and, subsequently, mansions of the well-to-do from the 16th to the early 19th centuries. Unofficially, La Rambla is divided into five sections, which explains why many know it as Las Ramblas.

The initial stretch from Plaça de Catalunya is La Rambla de Canaletes , named after a turn-of-the-20th-century drinking fountain, the water of which supposedly emerges from what were once known as the springs of Canaletes. It used to be said that barcelonins ‘drank the waters of Les Canaletes’. Nowadays people claim that anyone who drinks from the fountain will return to Barcelona, which is not such a bad prospect. This is the traditional meeting point for happy FC Barcelona fans when they win cups and competitions.

The second stretch, La Rambla dels Estudis (Carrer de la Canuda to Carrer de la Portaferrissa) is also called La Rambla dels Ocells (birds) because of its twittering bird market.