Shopping in Spain can be viewed as a true journey of the senses. As you wander through a small town, or even a major city, there is no doubt you will uncover some hidden gems. Throughout the country, there are numerous boutique-type shops tucked away on the streets and alleys. All while passing through some famous historical sites along the way. From high fashion to gourmet food and drink, to world-famous flamenco dresses and local crafts, Spain is sure to offer a variety of shopping options with something for everyone. Charming little shops and large shopping centers alike have it all –so whether you want to spend a lot (or a little), Spain is the place for you!
In most of the cities and towns you visit, the best options for every shopper are said to be in the city centers. The larger cities have more of a variety, with specific shopping areas, some of which are specialized and cater to a specific shopper. For example, the luxury shopping neighborhoods are located in the Salamanca district in Madrid (offering various prestigious brands and some incredible authentic high-fashion) or Passeig de Gracia in Barcelona (an avenue full of modernist buildings and all of the world’s most luxurious designers). Places with more of a modern twist, and alternative designs can be found in Soho in Malaga (where local designers have their own small boutiques and you can find unique, original items). Calle Larios, in Malaga’s old quarter, is a great walking route which allows you to go shopping while visiting tourist spots like Malaga Cathedral. More traditional shops are located in Plaza Redonda in Valencia, and Barcelona’s Gothic quarter. If you’re looking for something more alternative, check out the famous Carrer Tallers, which overflows with charming shops selling artisanal products, music and vintage clothes.
If you head south, you will find beautiful Marbella. Stop at Puerto Banús, right in the heart of the Costa del Sol, famous for glitz and glamour. It is home to more than 100 luxury brands with all the latest collections from world-renowned designers. The shops are also next to the port, where you can have a local cocktail and take in the sites of sea with amazing yachts and views that will take your breath away. Or explore the magical markets in Granada, such as the Alcaicería market (a huge bazaar where you can get lost among the silks and colorful ceramics the streets have to offer). Or stroll down the Siete Calles or “seven streets” in the old town of Bilbao (savor a maze of shops, bars and restaurants where you can buy traditional products or the latest trends in fashion and design).
In the marriage between Spanish fashion and craft, many regions produce exceptional leather goods like backpacks, bags, belts, footwear and small leather items including Andalusia and Castilla-La Mancha. Pottery from Talavera de la Reina or damascene steel (in Toledo, Castilla-La Mancha, also a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage item), are some of Spain’s most traditional finds. You can find special household items, decorative objects and even jewelry for your return trip home. Other crafts include wicker and cane baskets, lamps and decorative items from Valencia, or boxwood pieces such as bowls or clogs from Navarre.
Spanish cuisine is also certainly not to be missed! There are so many amazing choices to choose from. Every region has something unique, so you are sure to take a little Spanish “zest” home with you. Iberian ham or delicious cheeses (like manchego) are local favorites. Spanish wine is a must (the most famous wines might be Rioja or Ribera del Duero, but almost every Spanish region has something to offer upon visiting. Olive oil, or the “liquid gold of the Mediterranean” could be the perfect gift as well. And the list goes on….
Above it all, this holds true – you won’t regret buying fashion, food, or one-of-a-kind accessories from Spain (take my word for it). From exclusive lines by Spanish designers to more traditional local souvenirs, each region has its own traditional appeal tailored to every global shopper. One of the most surprising things about shopping in Spain is how long opening hours are. Most places are open from Monday to Saturday, starting at 9:30AM, and in most tourist destinations, shops are open late, and many cities let merchants set their own hours. Keep in mind, if you live outside the European Union, you can claim back the tax on your purchases (always a plus, right?) and pay with most major credit cards as well. So, be sure to bring an extra carry-on and a healthy budget, as Spain offers an array of options for all my fellow shopaholics and fashionistas alike! ¡ Vamonos de compras !
For further information, please contact the Tourist Office of Spain. Here is a link to their website www.spain.info. Please note: some images used in this blog are courtesy of Turespaña.