The Rambla de Canaletes is right in the heart of Barcelona City Centre in the top section of La Rambla closest to Plaça de Catalunya and is named after the wrought iron drinking fountain that you'll find a lttle way down on your left.
This is the first view you get of Barcelona's most famous street as
you exit the main entrance of Catalunya Metro station, and that first
impression is one of space and light, crowds permitting, of course.
This part of La Rambla was just outside the Porta de Santa Anna - one of the main gates of the old city walls, which were demolished in 1854.
The Rambla de Canaletes is full of interesting buildings and you read on, you'll see why it's a place of great significance to most Barcelonans.
The main focus of this sentiment is the Font de Canaletes, the fine metal drinking fountain that you see on your right just before Carrer dels Tallers.
The original fountain was at the Estudi General,
the forerunner of today's university, but after the demolition of the
city walls, this more modern fountain replaced it and the water, coming from the Montcada mine, acquired a reputation for purity.
It is said that whoever drinks water from the Font de Canaletes will always keep coming back to Barcelona.
This what I did on my first holiday in Barcelona and I never left, so be careful!
At the end of the seventies, as Franco's dictatorship ended and a new era of democracy dawned, Rambla de Canaletes was also one of the main places where the demonstrations demanding the return of liberty were held.
To this day, it is where FC Barcelona fans go to celebrate the club's major victories, so Canaletes remains a place charged with Catalan symbolism.
On the same side of La Rambla as the drinking fountain, you'll find the wonderful old 1-star Hotel Lloret and directly opposite is 3-star Hotel Continental, which is where George Orwell and his wife stayed during the Spanish Civil War.
Carrying on down, keep an eye out for the renowned Boadas Cocktail bar on the corner of Carrer dels Tallers.
Opened in 1933, Boadas Cocktail was the one of the first bars in Barcelona to specialise in cocktails and its Caribbean drinks made it a haunt of the rich and famous in the post-war period.
If you are into
music, it's worth venturing down Carrer Tallers and paying a visit to
Discos Castelló, Barcelona's legendary vinyl record shop.
Discos Castelló sadly closed recently but it spawned a lot of copycat stores and a number of guitar shops have opened up on the street, so if you combine this with a couple of cool spit and sawdust bars, Carrer Tallers is still a great place to hang out for ageing rockers like me.
On this stretch of La Rambla there are benches where you can sit and rest with a newspaper bought from one of the old press kiosks.
Further down on the same side of La Rambla de Canaletes, lovers of contempoary art and culture will want go down Carrer del Bonsuccés into El Raval.
Here you'll find the marvellous MACBA - El
Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona Contemporary Art Museum or the fascinating CCCB, El Centre de Cultura Contemporànea de Barcelona.
Both these excellent museums are included on the Barcelona Museum Pass, which offers free access to six of Barcelona's most important art museums, and you also get a reduction on the entrance fee if you have a Barcelona Card, which although is mainly a travel card also offers discounts on selected museums and attractions as well as in some shops and restaurants.
Back on La Rambla, look out for the lovely old Modernista chemist shop, Farmacia Nadal, which was built in 1850.
Almost opposite Carrer del Bonsuccés, on the other side of Rambla de
Canaletes, you'll see Carrer de Santa Anna and Carrer de la Canuda.
Both streets are worth exploring for their typical buildings and authentic old shops and both eventually take you to the pedestrianised Avinguda del Portal de l'Àngel - one of the best shopping areas in town.
Carrer de Santa Anna is lovely and a little way down, to your left, you should look out for for the Gothic church, L'Església de Santa Anna, which is a surprising oasis of peace and calm in the hustle and bustle of the city centre.
Immediately opposite the entrance to the church, you'll find the lovely Hotel Nouvel and La Lluna restaurant, which is not only very good but also very reasonably-priced and is a great option for lunch.
My main reason for going down Carrer de la Canuda is to visit the Ateneu Barcelonès at number 6.
The Ateneu one of the oldest cultural institutions in the city and the building it occupies is one of Barcelona's secret marvels - the Palau Savassona, built in 1796.
Apart from the free talks and cultural events the Ateneu organises, the building is home to the largest private library in Catalonia and must for researchers and history buffs.
A little further down Canuda is Plaça de la Vila de Madrid, with a sunken garden where you can see part of a Roman necropolis, laid bare by a bomb that fell in the Spanish Civil War.