SHOPPING IN BARCELONA!
Shopping in Barcelona is definitely an experience. From sore feet to sore credit card and on to intense pleasure, and for some people, very much a part of their holiday. With almost infinite variety in Barcelona, it is a very pleasant assault on all your senses AND it is good value too! From Designer shops all down the Paseo de Gracia, past the very individual shops of the Gothic quarter to the brilliant colours of the markets, such as La Boqueria on the Las Ramblas and on to the open air shopping alongside the Old Port. As a cosmopolitan city, with people coming from all continents to live here, as well as on holiday, it is definitely World Wide Web...only the real type not virtual! We have many apartments in the city centre, an ideal base for shopping. Find a great value place to stay for your shopping trip at Barcelona Apartments and Flats
If you are looking for great deals on Christmas shopping head to the Roca Village. Only 45min away from Barcelona lies one of the best outlet shopping malls! There are approximately 50 stores side by side offering discounts on luxury brands in a Disney open air village type setting. Some brands include - FC Barcelona Official Store, Custo Barcelona, Swarovski, Polo Ralph Lauren, Burberry, Timberland to name a few. The Roca experience is relaxing and fun and there are several cafes and restaurants to choose from if you are making a whole day out for your shopping. There is a direct and regular express bus service leaving from Plaza Catalunya, Monday - Saturday for your convenience, so there is no need to rent a car!
New Shopping Mall - Las Arenas Barcelona
Las Arenas Shopping Mall opened on March 25th 2011, after many years of planning and construction. It is the former bullring at Placa Espanya (famous for bull fights from its beginnngs in 1900 until the last bull fight in June 1977). The commercial centre hosts 126 shops, restaurants, 12 screen cinema, gym/spa and car-parking. You can find the shopping mall at Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes 373 - 385 Barcelona. Happy shopping!!
The markets were instigated by the authorities in Barcelona many years ago to bring together food sellers, so that some control could be exercised over the quality of the food being sold at a time when food hygiene was not what it is today. The authorities still exercise some control and they should be applauded for the quality of food now on sale in the Barcelona markets, together with the fact that they have a programme of renovation which has kept the character but improved the hygiene.
The vibrancy in the markets is an assault on all your senses. The colour, smell, taste (because you can try things before buying), the touch (because you should always check your produce before buying) and of course the sound, because Barcelona markets can be noisy! All these are a testament to the freshness and quality of the products on sale, from vegetables, seafood, meat, cheese to the exotic fruits and fresh fruit juices. Also a testament to the quality is the fact that you will see locals mingling with holiday makers to buy their daily requirements. In the centre of Barcelona, flats and apartments are the norm for those of us who live here. We have no gardens so these markets perform a vital function for us. With many thousands of cafes and restaurants in Barcelona, the markets also help to provide the quality of food that the many holiday makers, (short break, City break and every other type) who come on a visit to Barcelona enjoy daily.
There are 43 markets in Barcelona and near our Barcelona Flats and Apartments are the most famous: La Boqueria, on Las Ramblas, Barceloneta, in Barceloneta area and Santa Caterina across Via Laeitana from the Cathedral and very close to three of our holiday flats. Santa Caterina Market, (pictured above) was designed by Enric Miralles who also designed the Scottish Parliament. You really should make a visit to a market part of your holiday, even if you don't want to buy fresh products. It really is part of the real Barcelona Holiday experience. If you have children, in particular, it will be a revelation to many of them to see what their fruit and vegetables, fish and chips and even their sweets should really look like.
Designer Shopping in Barcelona
OH-Barcelona!! How could you do this to us? Barcelona is full of designer shopping opportunities. As you can see Gucci and Chanel vie with Prada, Burberry, Luis Vuitton, Hermes and many others, mainly on the Paseo de Gracia. If you look a little bit harder you can find Baby Dior mixing with (not so well known out of Spain but still very much a designer name) Tous (pronounced To-eu-s). The Tous symbol is a teddy bear and is available as a necklace, on handbags, perfumes and even on your skis! For those on holiday from Northern Europe it is a great designer shopping experience because of the quality but also because it makes a great present for those at home as something really cool, but also very Barcelona. Massimo Dutti is a clothing brand which probably also nearly qualifies as designer shopping.
One of the world's richest men has a significant part of his retailing empire here....The Zara fashion house, Bershka, Pull and Bear, Oysho and Stradivarius (as well as Massimo Dutti) are all part of the same group which was described by Louis Vuitton fashion director, Daniel Piette, as "possibly the most innovative and devastating retailer in the world". Not surprising when it launches around 10,000 new designs a year. The main shop is in Paseo de Gracia but to me it seems as if there are a dozen of Zaras in Barcelona. The main shop is big and therefore carries a wide apparel variety.
If that isn't enough designer shopping then you can always visit the Picasso Museum and pick up something from one of the ultimate designers!
Quaint, interesting and satisfying
We have said it before but we just have to say it again. We love Barcelona. From Paseo de Gracia, down the hill towards the Cathedral and into the Barri Gotic and El Borne areas and you would see and feel a whole different way of shopping. For many holiday makers it proves to be a real antidote to the 'big is beautiful', out of town shopping complexes that we see in Northern Europe. Here in the higgeldy piggedly streets of El Borne you will find all sorts of shops, catering to all types of taste. Gone are the department stores (there is only one department store, El Corte Ingles, in Barcelona), replaced by a myriad of little shops.
Individual, and indeed perhaps unique, shopping here is made all the more enjoyable by the fact that you do not know what you will find around the next corner, in the next square or even on the street. Generally of high quality, you have to go and do this yourself to understand the experience. One tip though, remember to take the street name, and even mark it on your map, if you decide not to make a purchase straight away. We know how frustrating it can be not to re-find the shop with that perfect holiday present in amongst the many El Borne streets.
And of course, don't forget the open air shopping. There are plenty of places in Barcelona where open air shopping is available. Some areas include the Sagrada Familia, the Old Port and Portal Angel. Remember, that as you are on holiday, to intersperse your shopping with a well deserved break at one of the many cafes that intertwine with the shopping in the quaint parts of town. From a bocadillo to tapas you will find a cafe or restaurant willing to provide you with nourishment to keep you going whilst you are shopping. Often on a terrace or pavement you will start to come to understand why there is such a cafe culture in Barcelona!
Remember Barcelona Shopping Times
Shops do not open until 10.00am. This being Barcelona they close again around 13.00/14.00 for lunch and reopen again at 16.00/17.00 and often stay open until 21.00 and some will even stay open until 22.00. The large shops such as Zara and El Corte Ingles will stay open over lunch. Sunday shopping is restricted and festivals and fiestas are generally respected by shops in Barcelona.
Good value or Great value
Designer shopping is mostly the same worldwide. However, for lots of other items the costs in Barcelona should not break your holiday budget, especially if you have booked an apartment in Barcelona with Barcelona Flats. The cost of living here is less expensive than Northern Europe (except accommodation) and wages are also much lower. As a result, unbelievably, we have seen clothes with tags on showing a Spain and Portugese price and with different more expensive prices on the SAME tag. As all prices are in Euros it is easy to see that companies charge more in Northern Europe. Some clothes are very good value and you could easily fill your holiday suitcase with clothes for your return.