The Monument a Colom (Christopher Columbus Monument) stands at the foot of Las Ramblas, near the Barcelona Harbor. It was built in 1888 to honor the explorer and his discovery of America. The statue stands atop a sixty-meter-tall column (197 ft.) that overlooks the sea.
The pedestal of the monument contains a gift shop and tourist information center, and the hollow column has an elevator that takes visitors to a platform overlooking Barcelona.
If you haven’t experienced this attraction, you may think the column is too narrow for visitors – it certainly looks narrow when you view it from the outside! It’s true that it’s not the roomiest platform you’ll ever take photos from – while you’re at the top, you’ll be able to walk around the viewing platform, but you’re enclosed by plexiglass and it’s just wide enough for two people to pass each other as you travel around the center of the column. For this reason alone, we recommend visiting during the middle of the week, when there are fewer visitors!
Once you are at the top, however, you will have a unique view of some of Barcelona’s attractions. First, you will enjoy the view of La Rambla de Mar, including the swing bridge and Maremagnum.
Next, you’ll get a great view of La Rambla. It’s interesting to see how many trees line this popular pedestrian walkway! In summer, this must look like a river of green flowing through the city!
Our favorite view from Monument a Colom is that of the Barcelona Cathedral above the rooftops. We have visited several of the city’s high points, but this was a unique perspective for us!
We do not recommend wearing a backpack to photograph from this location. The lens we found most useful was a 70-300mm with a lens hood. Since you’ll be shooting through plexiglass, you’ll want to put the hood as close to the glass as possible to cut down on reflection. However, because the glass is curved, you’ll have a tough time getting a completely clean image and you’ll probably notice a soft spot or two in your final image (the glass is pretty scuffed as well!)
We recommend visiting either early in the morning, if you’re most interested in views of the cathedral and city, or in the afternoon, if you’re most interested in the harbor. If you visit on an overcast day, the time will be less of a factor and you’ll have fewer reflections on the glass.