La Rambla is an iconic and busy street in central Barcelona, popular with both tourists and locals alike. A 1.2 kilometer-long tree-lined pedestrian mall in the Barri Gòtic, it connects Plaça Catalunya in the center with the Christopher Columbus monument at Port Vell. Usually full of street theatre, cafés and market stalls, it serves as the emotional hub of Barcelona.
La Rambla can be considered a series of shorter streets, each differently named, hence the plural forms Las Ramblas (Spanish and les Rambles (Catalan). From the Plaça de Catalunya toward the harbor, the street is successively the Rambla de Canaletes, the Rambla dels Estudis, the Rambla de Sant Josep, the Rambla dels Caputxins, and the Rambla de Santa Monica. Construction of the Maremàgnum in the early 1990s resulted in a continuation of La Rambla on a wooden walkway into the harbor, the Rambla de Mar.
When walking down La Rambla one can visit its many small shops or enjoy watching the various performances (actors, mimes etc.). Cafes and restaurants on La Rambla often charge steep prices.
La Rambla can be crowded, especially during prime time tourist season. Most of the time, there are many more tourists than locals occupying las Ramblas -- this has changed the shopping selection, as well as the character of the street in general. For this reason also, it has become a prime target for pickpocketing. Lots of unwary tourists have had their wallets stolen on this street. Most recently robbery has also become an issue, even during daylight hours.
Spanish poet Federico García Lorca once said that La Rambla was "the only street in the world which I wish would never end".
The name rambla means, in Catalan, but also in Spanish, an intermittent water flow, and is derived from the Arabic 'ramla' which means 'sandy riverbed'.