City Visit: Exploring Barrio La Rambla in Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona was a city of contrasts compared to the more modern and business oriented Madrid. In the first portion of our time in Barcelona, we set off to explore Barrio La Rambla and its beautiful features. This part of our our journey was through the La Rambla district where there were many gothic attractions.


This post is one chapter in our Around the World in Star Alliance First Class via China, Thailand and Spain. This trip was booked using Air Canada Aeroplan miles. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

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City Visit: Exploring Barrio La Rambla in Barcelona, Spain

We enjoyed several days in sunny Barcelona and saw some great sights. 

Barcelona to me represented what Spain meant to tourists. Large amounts of female, younger Western students sitting on the patios while being served paella’s by slick tanned Spanish waiters. The Centro of Barcelona was beautiful, as was wondering the streets and sitting amongst the wine bars of the city. Despite this, with a little searching, there were quite a few interesting attractions that were well worth seeing.

Getting into La Rambla:

We started on Barcelona’s most famous street to get into the vibe of the city. Indeed, the “La Rambla” had the cachet of the Champs Elysees or the Rodeo Drive of Barcelona. It was a place of restaurants and side walk cafes serving touristy Paella’s between a maze of side streets. Although most of the visitors here appeared to be tourists, it was an attraction that wasn’t to be missed when visiting Barcelona.

The Streets of La Rambla
The Sidewalks of La Rambla

The side streets of La Rambla split off from the main attraction like fragmented glass shards in all directions. There was lots of opportunity to explore these secret alley ways with discoveries at almost every turn.

Surprises around many corners

Needless to say, the tapas throughout Spain were fabulous. Although the cosy-ing up to the bar to order took a little getting used to. We were professionals before we knew it. 

Wandering through Barri Gòtic:

The Barri Gòtic or Gothic Quarter is the historic centre of the old city of Barcelona.

The quarter encompasses the oldest parts of the city of Barcelona, and includes the remains of the city’s Roman wall and several notable medieval landmarks.  Much of the present-day fabric of the quarter, however, dates to the 19th and early 20th centuries. El Call, the medieval Jewish quarter, is located within this area, along with the former Sinagoga Major.

The Barri Gòtic retains a labyrinthine street plan, with many small streets opening out into squares. Most of the quarter is closed to regular traffic although open to service vehicles and taxis.

This neighbourhood is a must see when passing through Barcelona and is pleasant to visit on a hot day thanks to the maze of streets that shield the area from direct sun and hot temperatures.

Stopping in at the Palau de la Generalitat:

Our wandering led us to the Palau de la Generalitat. It houses the offices of the Presidency of the Generalitat de Catalunya. It is one of the few buildings of medieval origin in Europe that still functions as a seat of government and houses the institution that originally built it. Today, it appeared to have some demonstrations occurring outside of it,

Palau de la Generalitat, Barri Gòtic, Barcelona
Palau de la Generalitat, Barri Gòtic, Barcelona

From the , we headed over to Palaça Reial. The plaza hosts many restaurants and some of the city’s most famous nightclubs, including Sidecar, Jamboree, Karma and the historic and reinvented speakeasy cocktail bar Nou Pipa Club. The square is the site of the Hotel Roma Reial and is also known for its many outdoor venues. 

Plaça Reial, Barri Gòtic, Barcelona

Shopping at the Mercat de la Boqueria:

From the Plaça Reial, we wandered back up La Rambla to the Mercat de la Boqeria. The mercat is a large public market in the Ciudad Vieja district of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, and one of the city’s foremost tourist landmarks. The market has a very diverse selection of goods

Street Art in Barri Gòtic, Barcelona, Spain
Mercat de la Boqueria, Barcelona, Spain
Everything food oriented is on sale and great for takeaways
A great selection of Serrano Ham is also available

Sipping Wines next to the Santa Maria Del Mar Church:

After the market, we walked over to the Santa Maria Del Mar church. The Santa Maria Del Mar is located in the Riberia District of Barcelona. It was initially built as a result of the mercantile and sea trading market in the area at the time. One of the benefits of this neighbourhood was that it was much quieter than the usual busy Catalonian tourist attractions which made for a much more pleasant experience taking it all in.

Eglisa Santa Maria Del Mar, Barcelona, Spain

After taking in all of the beauty of the place, it was time for a short break. While in Europe, this means a break in a square at an out door cafe. This one across from the Santa Maria Del Mar church happened to serve wine with picturesque front door views. The “La Vinya del Senyor” had terrific small bites and an excellent wine list. The wines by the glass appeared to change every two weeks.

A Great Place to Sit Down for a Wine Bar
Great Wines by the Glass at La Vinya Del Senyor Wine and Tapas Bar
Delightful White Wines by the Glass paired with fresh Kalamata Olives

Exploring the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Barcelona:

After our brief snack, our travels took us towards the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Barcelona. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Barcelona is considered a minor basilica and pastorally it serves over 2 million catholics in the Barcelona area. It is located a short walk from the Mercat de la Boqueria.

Archdiocese of Barcelona
Impressive detailing above the entrance way

The interior of the Archdiocese of Barcelona was impressive

Interior Halls of the Archdiocese of Barcelona
Inside the Archdiocese of Barcelona
Inside the Archdiocese of Barcelona

This last attraction rounded out an interesting day exploring this corner of Barcelona, Spain.

Summing up La Rambla:

The La Rambla neighbourhood was a neat part of Barcelona, Spain that was well worth a day or two of exploring. Although it was not filled to the limit with tourist attractions, the area had an interesting charm of what people expect when they come to visit Europe. With a little careful searching, once you get past all the paella and house sangria either specials, a traveller can locate some gems here that are worthy of a great cultural experience.


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