Shopping in Spain offers a delightful contrast to some other cities in Europe. The pace is more relaxed, the shopkeepers friendlier, and the range of good excellent. Here’s a look at the shopping scene in Barcelona and Madrid.
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Shopping In Spain
Spain offers all the international brand names you could ever need. But why buy imported goods when Spain has its own specialties? Here are some examples. Spain is a great place to buy leather items, especially shoes. Crafts are famous too. These include ceramic items such as tiles and vases with beautiful designs, often Moorish in origin. Another local craft that’s thriving again is lace making.
If you’re short on time and want to do all your shopping in one place, you’ll find a branch of the El Corte Ingles department store in nearly every town. They sell everything from jewellery to designer clothes, food to to furniture, and so on.
Shopping In Barcelona
Barcelona has undergone sweeping changes in recent years and the shopping scene has been transformed in the process. All the big names are here along with a range of local boutiques, antique shops, art galleries, and futuristic shopping centers.
Maremagnum is one of the new shopping and leisure complexes that’s proved very popular. Other than its comprehensive shopping mall, it also offers find a dozen cinemas and many restaurants, pubs and discos.
The new boutiques and stores are great places to shop. But to savour the authentic shopping experience, be sure to get away from the haunts of the glitterati and visit the old city. Here you can take a look in Barcelona’s oldest shop, Cereria Subira, which first opened its doors in 1761. If candles are on your shopping list, you’re in luck, for Cereria Subira is a candle shop. Even if you’re not buying, the vast range of candles of all sizes and colours is well worth seeing. Then plunge into the streets around the Barri G?tic. Here you can browse shops selling everything from fish and herbs to bullfighter’s capes.
Shops in Barcelona open around 8 am and they generally close a few hours after sunset.
Shopping In Madrid
As the nation’s capital, Madrid not surprisingly offers the best range of up-market shopping outlets in Spain. But these make up just a small proportion of the city’s shopping charms. Madrid’s 50000 stores also sell everything from paintings and ceramics to guitars and bullfighters’ costumes.
If it’s designer labels you’re after head for the eastern district of Salamanca. Here you’ll find the logos of Prada, Armani, and Louis Vuitton, and all the others. More interesting are the boutiques of trendy Spanish designers like Sybilla, Amaya Arzuaga, and Victorio & Lucchino.
When you tire of the brand name stores, the area around the Street Fuencarral is a pleasant one to visit. It’s home to a bunch of trendy boutiques selling both men?s and women?s clothes. There’s also an indoor market hawking clothing, bags and jewellery. For shoes, head to the Street Augusto Figueroa. It’s lined with mostrarios selling designer’s shoe samples at half price or less.
Shopping in Spain would be incomplete without visiting one of the street markets. Sunday morning is the time for the El Rastro street market on the Calle de Ribera de Curtidores which is closed to traffic. You can buy everything from squawking chickens to pirated DVDs to antiques and smutty post cards. But be careful, pickpockets abound.