From its marine routes and quiet fishing harbour, Port Vell is now a significant tourist attraction of Barcelona, home to historic Spanish architecture, a city aquarium and, of course, hundreds of boats. It is an open and picturesque area, best enjoyed by slowly wandering and soaking up its distinct atmosphere, impressive art displays, and rich cultural history. There are an abundance of attractions to enjoy, including the Columbus Monument, a 19th Century landmark marking the boundaries of the Port Vell area.
One defining feature of Port Vell is the Rambla de Mar, a wooden bridge connecting the inner city with the Maremàgnum, a large leisure complex with shops, an IMAX cinema and plenty of restaurants and bars to enjoy in the long summer evenings. The Aquarium is another popular attraction and is one of the biggest in Europe with an 80-metre long observation corridor showing sharks and other Mediterranean fish through an observation glass. In one of the oldest warehouses, visitors will find the Museu d'Història de Catalunya, a perfect place to learn more about the area’s rich regional history in one of the most celebrated museums in Barcelona. At the northern end of the port, visitors will find a famous piece of artwork by Roy Lichtenstein, a colourful “Head of Barcelona” statue that dominates the area from 14 metres above the ground.
Located at the end of the central La Rambla Boulevard, Port Vell is easily accessible via nearby public transport stations. There is a bus stop on the adjacent street of Ronda del Litoral and the metro station Drassanes is at the end of the main boulevard, both of which are within a five-minute walk.
The 1992 Barcelona Olympics inspired the development of Port Vell, when an urban renewal project transformed the abandoned harbour into a coastal centre, reigniting life into the outskirts of the inner city. The project renewed the industrial past as a source of historical entertainment, creating museums and monuments celebrating the traditions of the old port. Barcelona reinstated the area as a cultural hub, through an artistic blend of old and new, modernising the old area of town into a sphere of creative energy and entertainment.