Las Ramblas have it all. Hemingway didn't referred to them as the most beautiful street in the world. Not only the architecture, but also the urban life, which also includes the horse-drawn carriages, typical in the old parts of town. Take a ride and you can go from Plaza Cataluña to the Columbus monument. Nice for a romantic summer evening, even though you can also do it during the day and at different seasons of the year.
The Passeig de Gràcia is a wide avenue which runs through the center of Barcelona and some of its most important neighborhoods. The richest families in Barcelona settled here when it was first built and, to show off their wealth, they commissioned homes by architects like Gaudi, Domenech i Montaner and Puig. These three architects each have a house on the same block, which was a bone of contention as the owners fought to have the most beautiful and most modern house. The Casa Batllo is one of Gaudi's most famous buildings and is now owned by a private organisation. Entry costs 16 euros, and is well worth it for the tons of information you can get from the audio guide. A little further up, on the right, is La Pedrera, another wonderful Gaudi home that now belongs to the Caixa Catalunya Foundation and costs 8 euros to visit. In the summer, they have concerts on the roof, and tickets are just 7 euros with a glass of champagne (make sure to book in advance!). On Sundays, the luxury shops on Passeig de Gracia are closed, but you'll still see plenty of people!
Quite legendary, and it only houses a standard mall (the Maremagnum). But the walk becomes pleasant: you sit down on the shore, looking at the boats coming and the bridge opening and closing. The Maremagnum, by the way, has a decent restaurant and mirrors you can play with to take curious pictures.
If I talk about Barrio de la Ribera I'm sure very few know it. Currently it is better known for el Born, el Mercat de Santa Catarina, Santa María del Mar, the Picasso museum, or Ciutadela park.
Vilanova de Mar, this is how this area used to be known, one of the most interesting, fascinating and beautiful places in Barcelona, called "de la Ribera" (shore) because it used to touch the shore of the sea.
The neighborhood dominates the wonderful Santa María del Mar (overworked since a few years ago due to the novel "La Catedral del Mar"), center of Barcelona from the 13th century till the 15th century. The very famous street of Montcada provides class and nobility, full of palaces (and of tourists depending on the time of the day). Montcada street was once what the Paseo de Gràcia now represents.
El Palau de la Música gives the modern and revival touch of the Catalan feeling. Neighborhood of appreciated medieval weave were street, alleys, squares and walk remind the jobs and protests of the inhabitants who lived and worked in what is to me the real old part of town. Esparteria, dels Sombreres, dels Mirallers streets.
Apart form all this, a great part of the wall of the old Barcino is located in the urban weave, confirming the patrimonial, historical, and cultural value of the neighborhood. Don't miss the small and amazing Mare de la guia or d'en Marcús chapel, the only Romanesque church preserved in the city.
If you are one of those who like the coolest, fashion or exclusive shopping, or if you simply love the most hidden, remote and authentic shops and if you hate the "brands" world, el Barrio de Ribera is also a place for you. I can only advice to walk, get lost, let you seduce, enjoy and live all what this area of Barcelona offers. As always, you'll find beautiful spots where to get your hunger satisfied, chat with the locals or those who, like me, fell in love with this neighborhood.
In a city like Barcelona with so many wonderful, incredible (and I could go on like this) spots, it is difficult to opt for only one place, but I'll try. La Ribera, my number one. When I walk in the neighborhood I remember why I fell in love with Barcelona.
The street "Carrer dels Caputxins" owes its name to the convent which once stood in the area and disappeared when Josep Tomas Ventosa i Soler acquired the land with the law of confiscation of 1,845. This allowed the lengthening of the shopping street of Vilanova. Here you can find all kinds of shops from clothing to books and music stores, gourmet stores, many shoe shops and a toy store which holds a special place in my heart, because every summer when we walked past, I was so excited to see what new toys they had.
Since learning to walk until now, I've spent a lot of time on this commercial Sitges Street. It starts at the Cap de La Vila and goes to the Plaza del Ayuntamiento. It's full of shops, clothing stores, cafes, decor shops, all of very good taste. You won't find a beach snack bar here. In summer, it's nice and cool and is a perfect place for evening strolls.