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Las Ramblas: to go or not to go?

Redlands, California
Level Contributor
25 posts
27 reviews
Las Ramblas: to go or not to go?

My husband and I will be in Barcelona for the first time in about two weeks and are debating whether to go to Las Ramblas or not. We will be in the city for 3 days and 3 nights and want to know if we should be devoting our time to other sights.

My husband and I like good food and drinks (could be from a street cart or a Michelin restaurant). I like unique buildings and architecture. We tend to like off-the-beaten-path spots and would rather hang out in a cafe with locals than be in a crowded museum. I've read that Las Ramblas is rather touristy. That being said, my Dad could not stop raving about Las Ramblas when he was there a few years ago and my Dad and I have similar travel styles.

Additionally, I have a semi-irrational fear of being pick-pocketed. I'm not one of those naive travelers who leaves my handbag unattended (I learned quickly when my wallet was stolen in a restroom in London Heathrow when I was in high school), but in researching for this trip, I've read many articles about handbag thefts in Barcelona, especially in Las Ramblas--even one about a lady who had her handbag taken directly from her lap. Additionally, this is my husband's first trip out of the country (outside military tours) and I had to explain to him why he couldn't keep his wallet in his back pocket. I don't want him to be scarred from traveling if his wallet is stolen, although he has purchased an anti-theft wallet and backpack. Is my fear of purse-snatchers keeping us away from what would otherwise be a good time?

Thanks in advance!

33 replies to this topic
Albuquerque, New...
Level Contributor
2,035 posts
45 reviews
1. Re: Las Ramblas: to go or not to go?

Would you go to New York and not go to a Times Square. It is a very long street and changes greatly from one end to the other.

Montreal, Canada
Destination Expert
for Barcelona, Uruguay
Level Contributor
3,099 posts
6 reviews
2. Re: Las Ramblas: to go or not to go?

You should go just to witness it, but don't waste your time there. Go as early as possible to avoid the cruise ship and tour bus crowd. There is plenty to see, but not much to make you stick around. Do visit the Boqueria. Step into the Palau de la Virreina. Check out Plaça Reial. Walk down to the Colombus monument.

But once you've seen all this stuff, leave the Ramblas and move to either the Raval or Gotic. Perhaps go to a Granja. That's certainly what I would do.

Malaga, Spain
Level Contributor
71,300 posts
3,815 reviews
3. Re: Las Ramblas: to go or not to go?

If you are that concerned, you can just skip going there because there are many more attractive places to see in the city.

The Passeig de Gracia is the most elegant avenue, with upscale stores.

New York City, New...
Level Contributor
6,186 posts
8 reviews
4. Re: Las Ramblas: to go or not to go?

There is more than enough to do in 3 days that's more worthwhile. You will likely see enough of it in passing as you go elsewhere, and that's plenty. It is definitely not a place to eat. But pickpockets are not a good reason to avoid it: you can easily avoid pickpockets by simply securing your valuables as any wise traveler does in any big city. The prevalent pickpocketing is not purse snatching but stealth crimes in which you don't realize your wallet or whatever has been taken until the thief is long gone. Secure your valuables and you have nothing to worry about.

And for the record, I would never take a visitor in my charge to Times Square unless we had no alternative to getting from A to B.

Edited: 16 April 2018, 14:23
Barcelona, Spain
Level Contributor
2,392 posts
10 reviews
5. Re: Las Ramblas: to go or not to go?

I think las Ramblas os iconic. Whilst i don't recommend eating or drinking on this street I still think taking a stroll down is worth it just to see. It is quiet an energetic street where You will get to see alot of diversity. You can pop into la Boquieria and take in Liceu theatre further down. It really will not take up much of your time. I'm sure without planning you will cross the street at some point anyways. So yes go for it

Edited: 16 April 2018, 16:09
Tynemouth
Level Contributor
5,302 posts
187 reviews
6. Re: Las Ramblas: to go or not to go?

It will be difficult to miss it, especially if you want to visit the Boqueria market, as it is such a major street (well, a few streets in one really).

Leave your wallet, handbag etc in the safe in your hotel room and just take out enough cash for that day, then you don’t constantly need to check if your anti-theft backpack has been stolen.

Barcelona, Spain
Destination Expert
for Barcelona
Level Contributor
8,799 posts
6 reviews
7. Re: Las Ramblas: to go or not to go?

as if pickpockets just "worked" on la Rambla.

as you experienced in the past, they are opportunistic crimes, so taking some care you can avoid problems easely.

i would suggest to go to la Rambla in the morning, before 11am. walk down from plaça Catalunya to the sea. you can stop by palau de la Virreina, la boqueria, take some pictures to "la casa dels paraigues", look if there is any walking tour at el Liceo opera house, if it is a sunny day take a coffee on a terrace at plaça Reial.

Barcelona
Level Contributor
5,342 posts
8. Re: Las Ramblas: to go or not to go?

You will visit it whether you like to or not. it is located in one of the most central locations and any visit to El Raval/Barri Gòtic, Boqueria, Palau Guell, Plaça Reial and more means that you'll walk in it or cross it.

A walk along Las Rambla is nice and not too long (it's just about 1 mile long), today it is supper touristic and most locals try to avoid it, if possible, but it was the center of the city not too long ago, it is beautiful, with important places and host many traditional events so avoiding it is not recommended but you don't have to dedicate too much time just for passing through it, a partial walk along the main parts while visiting some of the attractions will suffice.

Barcelona, Spain
Level Contributor
2,392 posts
10 reviews
9. Re: Las Ramblas: to go or not to go?

Plus to further add as amirlivne mentions Palau Guell. One of Gaudis earlier works often overlooked by tourists and highly recommended.

Redlands, California
Level Contributor
25 posts
27 reviews
10. Re: Las Ramblas: to go or not to go?

Thank you for the great advice! Looks like we'll hit it whether we want to or not, so we'll probably head to the associated locations in the early morning. (And also for the record, yes, I have been to Times Square and am pretty sure it's the third circle of hell.)

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