Stunning building Las Ramblas Barcelona

Rambling down Las Ramblas

Barcelona is rightly famous for Gaudi’s amazing architecture, and you absolutely must see his incredible architectural feats, but if it’s the beating heart of Barcelona you want, the 1.2 kilometer long tree-lined pedestrian mall, known as Las Ramblas and its surrounding districts is where you need to spend time.

This iconic street (actually a series of five shorter streets) bisects the three most important neighborhoods in the old city—the newly gentrified El Raval to the west and El Born and Barri Gòtic to the east. The promenade is crowded from until late at night, with people flocking around restaurants, street performers and kiosks that sell flowers, gelato, souvenirs and even birds.

Las Ramblas Barcelona Spain

Classic building Las Ramblas Barcelona

Start your journey at the Placa de Catalunya, just down from Gaudi’s Casa Mila and Casa Battlo and head down the gently sloping street to soak up the atmosphere. Most of the really interesting stops you should make are at least half way down.

The first should be The Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, (usually referred to as La Boqueria market) is the city’s most iconic street market, jam-packed with huge colourful and exotic food stalls of every kind. It has a permanent roof over it that seems to help add a buzz to the market and makes it weatherproof. There are several places to sit and eat or have a coffee if you already want to take a break.

La Boquiera Market Las Ramblas Barcelona

Butcher in Las Boquieras Market Las Ramblas Barcelona

La Boqueria Market stall Las Ramblas Barcelona

When you walk back out the market, turn right, and you’ll pass a charming corner shop Escriba. It is one of the oldest patisseries in Barcelona, and although it isn’t quite as impressive as say, Laduree in Paris, it is quaint and charming and you can buy small cakes or macaroons to take away.

Escriba Las Ramblas Barcelona

Then cross back onto the pedestrian walkway, and while you’re munching your macaroons, look down for the Miró Mosaic. It’s a stunning piece of art that many people seem to walk straight over without realising its significance.

Miro Mosaic Las Ramblas Barcelona

A few more steps and you’ll come across the Gran Teatre sel Liceau (or simply, Liceau) Barcelona’s renowned opera house. It has hosted many greats including the likes of Placido Domngo, Jose Carreras and Montserrat Caballe, who debuted here in 1962 in Richard Strauss’s Arabella.

Barcelona's Las Ramblas Buildings Barcelona

The Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca apparently once said that Las Ramblas is “the only street in the world which I wish would never end.” But end it does, at the Christopher Columbus Monument at Port Vell. Which is where you can either head on to look at the port, or turn around, walk up a little and right into the Barri Gotic, the Gothic Quarter, where Barcelona began its life as a walled city 2,000 years ago. Its easy to get lost in its delightful side streets and alleyways and there are a number of interesting architectural sites, including the famed cathedral, La Seu, one of the finest Gothic buildings in Barcelona.

Gothic Qaurater Las Ramblas Barcelona

Keep walking and you’ll reach the equally charming and fashionable (but slightly calmer) area, El Born. At its heart is the Passeig del Born square where medieval jousting once took place and which is now a popular evening hangout for the hip young local crowd.

If you’re hungry, try the ever-popular Cal Pep restaurant (Plaça de les Olles 8), considered one of the city’s best tapas bars. You can’t make a reservation unless you have a party of at least four, so you may have to hustle your way in. But it’s worth the effort because their menu has more than 70 tapas for you to try.

After lunch, join the inevitable queue at the nearby Picasso Museum (Montcada 15 – 23), which occupies five large town houses or palaces on a narrow medieval street. It can be quite difficult to find down the winding alleys, so make sure you have a good map. The museum focuses on the early years of the Spanish genius’s life and has more than 3,800 works in its permanent exhibition.

Placa Reial Las Ramblas Barcelona

As the afternoon winds down, head back to Las Ramblas and cross over into Barri del Raval, once the red-light district of the city, now filled with dozens of small restaurants and bars where you settle in for a while. Or else try Placa Reial, off Las Ramblas, a plaza with palm trees and porticoed buildings filled with pubs and restaurants, where you can rest your feet and people watch as the sun sets.

Munich Germany historic building

Munich Is One Of The World’s Most Liveable Cities

There’s far more to Munich than the Oktoberfest. It is often featured on lists of the world’s most liveable cities, and it’s not hard to see why. Unlike Berlin, this city has money and it shows. It was carefully rebuilt after the war and the architecture is beautiful. It is a great city to walk and cycle around and has a stunning river, parks, city squares and an open air market. Throw in plenty of arts, culture two of the top universities and a couple of famous beer houses and it’s a formidable place.

So to see it all for yourself, here’s a quick itinerary you could do in a morning…. Get a taxi to drop you at Odeonsplatz and you’ll be perfectly placed to stroll through the city’s historical centre. Head south past the Munich Residenz, the largest residential palace in Germany that was the seat of Bavarian rulers for more than 400 years. It houses a large art collection and the Bavarian State Opera is right next door. Then head to Marienplatz, the centre and heart of the city where you’ll also find the city hall.

Munich Germany Central garden entrance

Munich Germany central buildings

Munich Germany City Hall

Munich Germmany historic buildings and turrets

Munich Germany historic building

Do some window-shopping along Kaufinger and Neuhauser streets, which are closed to traffic. Then make your way back to Viktualienmarkt, a bustling open-air market just off Marienplatz full of gourmet food and a lively beer garden in the middle. It’s great for people watching.

Munich Germany pedestrian shopping street

Munich Germany beautiful building

Munich Germany sophisticated Street Busker

Munich Germany central food market

When you’ve rested, head back to Odeonsplatz and take a quiet walk in the Hofgarten. If you’re a real park lover, you could keep walking to the English Gardens – Munich’s showpiece park and the river, where people actually surf. If not, sit at the restaurant outside and have another drink or head down Maximillian Street for all your designer shopping.

Munich Germany beautiful gardens

Munich beautiful city river

Munich Germany dog sculpture

Musician playing at Berlin Wall Art Gallery

The Berlin Wall Eastside Gallery – Photo Essay

If you hate waiting in long queues to get into over-priced galleries and museums, then you’re in luck. In Berlin you get a free outdoor gallery along with a big chunk of 20th Century history, all for free.

The Berlin Wall East Side Gallery is a 1.3km-long section of the wall running along the Mühlenstrasse and the bank of the river Spree in former East Berlin. With more than 100 paintings by artists from all over the world, the memorial for freedom is apparently the largest open-air gallery in the world.

The gallery is close to the Ostbahnhof S-Bahn station on the west side and the Warschauer Straße S+U-Bahn station on the east side. Walk over Oberbaumbrücke, arguably the most beautiful bridge in Berlin and the only connection between Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg. Once you’re over the river, take a left and you’ll find the wall right in front of you.

See below for some mural highlights:

Berlin Bridge over river to Berlin Wall Gallery

Berlin Wall Old World War Van

Berlin Wall checkpoint charlie mural

Berlin Wall gallery psychedelic mural

Berlin Wall World leaders Kiss Mural

Every panel of the 1.3km was painted by a different artist in 1991, but after years of decay many of the works were later restored.

Berlin Wall store and mural

Berlin Wall gallery smoker mural

Berlin Wall Gallery Car Mural

Berlin Wall gallery Gorbachev Mural

Berlin Wall gallery chain Mural

The gallery is a fantastic reminder of what the city has been through and it should definitely be on your to-do list. You’ll love the stroll and I bet you’ll walk away with hundreds of photos.