A Walk Down La Rambla tells the 2000-year Story of Barcelona through a three-hour walk along the city's most famous street.
This half-day tour is a fascinating mixture of history and anecdote and includes Roman ruins, Medieval shipyards, the best public market in the world and lots more!
The Ramblas Walk is followed by lunch, which is a great opportunity to get to know each other and also get insider tips on how best to enjoy your time in Barcelona.
As on all my Guided Tours the maximum number of participants is 8 and it is worth bearing in mind that they are not really suitable for young children as there is quite a lot of walking and the main objective is to give a historical introduction to Barcelona.
Prices start at €80 for two people and go up by €10 to a maximum of €120 for 6-8 people for the 3-hour tour.
If your group is staying in the same hotel and the location is reasonably central, I'm happy to pick you up.
Otherwise we meet at 10.30 sharp at the Ramblas Exit of Catalunya Metro Station, which has connections for the
If you are coming on the Red Line, you need to follow signs for the Green Line and follow signs for Sortida La Rambla.
Once past the ticket machines, you come to a circular hall and you should take escalators out onto the street where I'll be waiting.
You need to be punctual because the top section of The Ramblas is always quite busy so it's sometimes quite difficult to find us, once we're on the move.
So much Barcelona History has happened on La Rambla so obviously there are a lot of stories to tell, but without giving too much away, here are a few highlights ...
We begin by setting the scene of La Rambla as a seasonal river that came down from the Collserola mountains some distance from the original Roman city of Barcino but just outside the Jaume I's medieval city walls.
The riverbed dried up when Pere the Cerimonious's 14th century wall cut off the water supply when it enclosed El Raval and La Rambla became a walkway with the original wall on one side and convents on the other.
The tour proper starts on the first of the five ramblas - La Rambla de Canaletes, where FC Barcelona celebrate major victories and legend has it that if you drink water from the Font de Canaletes drinking fountain, you'll always return to Barcelona.
During the Spanish Civil War, George Orwell stayed at the Hotel Continental just opposite, went for breakfast at Café Moka and witnessed fighting on the roof of the Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences, which now houses Teatre Poliorama.
Before contnuing our Walk Down La Rambla, we branch off to take a look at Plaça Vila de Madrid, where 70 Roman gravestones line an old Roman road that left the city on its way to Via Augusta.
On La Rambla dels Estudis
we bemoan the loss of the original Barcelona University building, which
was closed by the occupying Castilian troops of Felipe V in 1714 when
the Catalan language was banned for the first time.
This section also boasts the clock that tells the official time in Barcelona, the Baroque Església de Betlem church that was once the centre for Jesuits in Spain, Hotel 1898 that housed the head offices of The Philippines Tobaco Company and Palau de la Virreina palace dedicated to a Viceroy's widow amongst other things.
The next stop is La Rambla de Sant
Josep also known as La Rambla de les Flors because of its flower stalls
and is generally regarded as the most beautiful section of The Ramblas.
It also contains the wild and wonderful Boqueria Market and the world famous Liceu Opera House, where Lorca not only performed but also described The Ramblas as the street he wished would never end.
By now it's time for a coffee break either inside the modernista Café de l'Òpera or outside in the gardens of the medieval Hospital de la Santa Creu depending on the weather.
Back on our Walk Down La Rambla, we reach El Pla
de la Boqueria once the site of medieval hangings and now featuring Joan
Miró's famous floor mosaic.
This is the oldest section of The Ramblas and marks the start of La Rambla dels Caputxins, where on our right in Plaça Reial we find Antoni Gaudí's very first commission - a set of lamp posts - and to our right Carrer Nou de la Rambla, where he built his first major building - Palau Güell.
Just below Plaça
Reial, La Rambla de Santa Mònica takes us down to the port with tales of
absinthe dens, brothels and risqué cabarets as well as Barcelona's
oldest theatre - Teatre Principal.
Before we reach the sea, to our right we have the breathtaking Les Drassanes Reials - the best-preserved medieval shipyards in Europe, featuring amongst many other things a replica of the world's first submarine, which was designed by a Catalan.
Following at the old Port Banking buildings now occupied by the Wax Museum, we reach the statue of Christopher Columbus, who was received by the Catholic kings in Barcelona following his discovery of the Americas.
And our Walk Down La Rambla has reached its end!
Heads spinning and stomachs rumbling we make our way up The Ramblas into the Barri Gòtic backstreets for lunch.
It's important to have had a decent breakfast because following Spanish eating times, we won't be sitting down to lunch until at between 1.30 and 2 o'clock.
If you haven't travelled in Spain much, having a Menu del Dia lunch will be a useful lesson that will help you have a cheaper and more authentic food experience throughout the rest of your stay in Barcelona.
The Menu del Dia consists of three courses
Lunch has to be a relaxed affair and generally takes a couple of hours.
The food is simple and tasty, certainly not haute cuisine, but lunch is a fantastic opportunity to get to know each other better.
You are also completely free to pick my brains and ask for specific Barcelona holiday and travel advice.
'This tour was a great way for both tourists and locals alike to soak up a lot of Barcelona's most famous street's history and culture. I definitely recommend it to anyone looking to soak up the sun, wanting to get their nose outside the guidebook and into the gritty of this gorgeous city.'
Jennifer, New Jersey, USA
'If you are planning to go on a walking tour in Barcelona, you should definitely get in touch with Simon to let him guide you through two thousand years of history in this walk down the wonderful Ramblas.'
'It was a great experience and I thoroughly enjoyed all of the anecdotes that Simon added throughout the 3-hour walk. I couldn't help but be fascinated in checking out the places that Simon showed us.'
Natalie, Bromley, Kent, UK
'Having spent three hours with Simon Harris on his Walking Tour of the Ramblas, my wife, Jane and certainly intend to and experience the culture and lifestyle of this remarkable city and the region of Catalonia. I recommend that you take the Three Hour Walk of the Ramblas, I think it will inspire you to return to Barcelona too.'
David Goodall, Solihull, UK
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