Spain, a Shopaholic’s Destination:
You can’t avoid shops in Spain even if you wanted to! No matter where you go, whether it’s the big cities like Madrid, Barcelona, Seville and Valencia, or the little towns and villages that you happen to be passing through, there are all kinds of shops bursting to the seam with goods to tempt you with! Whatever your interest is, be it antiques, artwork, the latest designer wear, souvenirs or food and wine, the shops are never too far away.
The Big Sales seasons are generally between the second week of January to the end of February for winter and between 1st July and end August for summer. If you’re looking for shopping centres, shopping malls or international designer labels, then stick to the big cities. Opening hours of shops and shopping centres are tourist friendly for those wishing to shop on their spain holidays. They generally open from 10.00 to 20.30 or 21.30 hours, allowing you time to shop after a day’s sightseeing. Local shops open from 10.00 to 14.00 hours, and from 16.30 to 20.30 hours. Note: when paying with a credit card, expect to be asked to show your passport or identity card
Where to Shop?
Madrid’s five main city shopping areas are: Salamanca, Chueca, Centro, Princesa and Cuatro Caminos:
- Salamanca is known as the “golden mile” for fashion and here you’ll find luxury goods, galleries and other upmarket establishments. With street names like Serrano, Velázquez, Castelló, Goya, Jorge Juan and Lagascso, you know that you’re in the top end of town.
- Chueca is Avant-garde and shops carrying the latest of alternative fashions and designs can be found in the lively streets of this neighbourhood. Expect to see futuristic hairstyles, make-up and tattoos.
- Centro – Plaza Mayor, Gran Via, Puerta del Sol and the adjacent streets make up the oldest shopping area in Madrid. The myriad small shops sell all kinds of traditional and typical craftwork. Ceramics, pottery, leather products, beautiful lace fans, flamenco dresses, accessories, CDs, books and foodstuffs are all available here.
- Princesa represents fashion for the young. Close to the University campus, in the area called Argüelles, are the large franchise shops selling the latest clothes at very reasonable prices.
- Cuatro Caminos in the north of Madrid is another area where fashionable clothes and shoes can be found at more reasonable prices.
- The Rastro is a popular Sunday open air flea market where locals come to hunt for second-hand records and CDs, books and clothes, antiques, coins, furniture and craft work.
Seville‘s three main shopping areas are: the Old Centre, Triana and Nervión
- The Old historic centre is the lively shopping centre of Seville. At Plaza Nueva, in the pedestrian streets of Sierpes and Tetuán and the adjacent streets are the large franchises and fashionable shop. Local shops selling typical souvenirs, arts and crafts, guitars, flamenco dresses, fans and embroidered cloths are here as well.
- Triana is where you go to get popular ceramics, as well as plates, glasses, jugs, mirrors and watches. Check out the streets of Alfarería and Antillanos Campos for exclusive pieces of pottery.
- Nervión is where the large department stores and some of the other fashion franchises are.
- Street Markets – El Jueves is the Thursday morning street market in calle Feria where you can find books, second-hand clothes, curios, tools, paintings, antiques and furniture. There is also a stamps and coins as well as a pet lovers’ market on Sundays.
Barcelona‘s three main city shopping areas are: Centro, Eixample and Diagonal. It is said that Barcelona itself is like a large shop. They are serious about shopping here. The main shopping axis, known as the Shopping Line, comprises five kilometres of pedestrian precinct with wide pavements.
- Centro is where all the fashion shops are with Gotic and Born being the main areas. In Centro, you’ll find almost everything that you’ll ever need.
- Eixample is the upmarket area with exclusive and prestigious shops in the straight avenues around the passeig de Gràcia and the Rambla de Catalunya.
- Diagonal is the business and commercial zone of the city. Here you’ll also find shopping centres and other fashion, furniture stores, etc.
Valencia has plenty of shops as well. Fans, lace work, ceramics and other arts and crafts can be found in shops in the Ciutat Vella whereas the more modern shops are around Colón.
Weekend markets are very popular and one of the most popular is the Sunday stamps and coins market in Lonja de la Seda. The Rastro, near to the Mestalla football stadium is also held on Sundays.Your Turn: Do you have any advice you would like to share? What tips would you like to add? Please comment below.