Plaça de Catalunya is a good place to start if you’re interested in shopping in Barcelona. Its enormous FNAC and Corte Inglés department stores will keep you busy for a good while. And whilst you’re in the Corte Inglés head to the café on the 9th floor for a great view across the rooftops of some of the Modernist buildings along Passeig de Gracia. Afterwards you can take a stroll along Passeig de Gracia from Plaça de Catalunya which will take you into an area where you’ll find some of Barcelona’s most exclusive and expensive shops. There are countless shopping opportunities in this cosmopolitan city. Here are a few suggestions:
If shopping is on your agenda during your visit to Barcelona you won’t be disappointed in this shopper’s paradise. Your first port of call should be Plaça de Catalunya where you’ll find the enormous El Corte Inglés department store which sells just about anything you’re likely to be looking for. On the opposite side of the square is FNAC which is a great store for anything electrical and technological as well as music and dvd products.
Transport for Shoppers
Heading north along Passeig de Gràcia and west along Avinguda Diagonal is a 5km route packed with shopping opportunities including some of Barcelona’s best designer outlets and jewellery stores. Such is the popularity of this circuit with shopaholics that there’s a dedicated bus service running along the route known as the TombBus. This service is marked as T1 Tombbus and departs regularly from Plaça de Catalunya to Avinguda Diagonal where it goes west as far as Plaça de Pius XII where it turns back.
For fashion items the city has become well known for for its own Custo Barcelona brand which has branches scattered around the city. Check the Custo Barcelona website for store locators. More mainstream fashion stores for women include the Zara and Mango brands which both have shops on Passeig de Gràcia. Another Spanish brand is the shoemaker Camper that has an outlet at Carrer Elisebets, 11 in El Raval.
Although shopping for designer gear is concentrated mainly in the L’Eixample dsitrict and Avinguda Diagonal along the route of the Tombbus, there are trendy boutiques geared towards the younger market around the El Born area of La Ribera.
Porcelain and Leather Items
Another well known Spanish brand for shoppers worldwide is the porcelain figuerine producer Lladró which you’ll find on sale in the El Corte Inglés stores and in speciality shops on Passeig de Gràcia. Kastoria (Av. Catedral 6-8) in the Barri Gòtic is an official Lladró stockist and is a good choice for leather products which aren’t the bargain that they once were in Spain but are still much cheaper than in northern Europe for high leather items. The Loewe shop is another favourite for leather products and is on the shopper’s circuit at at Passeig de Gràcia, 35.
Shopping Village Excursion
If you have time and want to take your shopping pastime to the next level then you should consider an outing to the La Roca shopping village which is just 30 minutes outside Barcelona in La Roca del Valles. This dedicated shopping village is packed with well known brand outlets and is accessible by bus from Fabra i Puig. Just check the La Roca website for bus timetables.
If you enjoy wandering around flea markets then head for the Els Encants Vells on Friday or Saturday but don’t expect to find much of interest. More covenient a venue is the Barri Gòtic which hosts various speciality markets including the coin and stamp collectors market in Plaça Reial on Sunday mornings and a art and craft market at Plaça de San Josep on Saturday and Sunday.
La Boqueria Food Market
No mention of shopping in Barcelona would be complete without reference to the Boqueria food market (La Rambla 91) which is an absolute must for anyone visiting the city. It is a plethora of noise and colour, packed with fresh fruit and vegetable stalls, fish and meat vendors and all kinds of other food related merchants selling local cheeses, herbs and spices and a range of ethnic products. There are also some great little bars at the back serving great tapas all day long.
On average, independent shops open from 10am to 8pm with maybe a three hour break in the afternoon (2pm-5pm) The large department stores and shopping malls don’t take this break. Saturday is the main shopping day though smaller shops may not open again in the afternoon whilst most places, apart from tourist shops on La Rambla, will close all day on Sunday.
You can pick up some bargains in the winter sales which start in early January and in the summer sales during the first week of July.