Five separate streets strung end to end, La
Rambla (also called Las Ramblas) is a tree-lined pedestrian boulevard
packed with buskers, living statues, mimes and itinerant salespeople
selling everything from lottery tickets to jewellery. The noisy
bird market on the second block of La Rambla is worth a stop,
as is the nearby Palau de la Virreina, a grand 18th century rococo
mansion, with entertainment and arts information and a ticket
office. Next door is La Rambla's most colourful market, the Mercat
de la Boqueria. Just south of the Boqueria the Mosaic de Miró
punctuates the pavement.
The next section of La Rambla boasts the Gran Teatre del Liceu (Great Theatre Liceo), the famous 19th-century opera house. Below the Plaça Reial (Royal Square), La Rambla becomes decidedly seedy, with strip clubs and peep shows. La Rambla terminates at the lofty Monument a Colom (Monument to Columbus) and the harbour. You can ascend the monument by lift. Just west of the monument, on Avinguda de les Drassanes (Avenue of the Shipyards), stand the Reials Drassanes (Royal Shipyards), which house the fascinating Museu Marítim. It has more seafaring paraphernalia than you'd care to wag a sextant at - boats, models, maps, paintings, ships' figureheads and 16th-century galleys.