Shopaholics, head for Barcelona! Barcelona offers one of Europe’s finest shopping experiences across almost 35,000 shops and a 5 kilometre stretch of the most interesting retail outlets along La Ramblas. At the other end of the spectrum are the indigenous markets where you can find anything from the proverbial pin to the elephant.
Barcelona is the place for some serious retail therapy!
To make the most of your experience when shopping in Barcelona check out the tips we have for your below. As you will probably also be looking for suggestions on the best places to stop for a bite, check out our Barcelona restaurant guide for great information about Barcelona cuisine. Take a look at what the country has to offer for the shopaholic at our Spain shopping page.
Barcelona Shopping Guide
Where to shop
Set the ball rolling by hopping on to the Tombbus (T1) which starts from Plaça de Catalunya, follows a circular route through Passeig de Gràcia and Avinguda Diagonal and terminates at Plaça de Catalunya, covering all the Barcelona shopping hotspots. Streets off Passeig de Gracia, Barri Gotic and areas around Placa de Sant Josep Oriol are major shopping areas.
Don’t miss the markets that come up on different days of the week. There is a crafts market at Barri Gotic on Thursday and Friday, the antique market on Thursday at Placa Nova, a stamp and coin collector’s market on Sunday morning. The “old charms” market is held near Placa de les Glories Catalanes where you can bargain to your heart’s content.
Most shops in Barcelona work from 10.00 a.m. to 2.00 p.m. and from 5.00 p.m. to 9.00 p.m. Larger shops and departmental stores remain open throughout the day. Some Barcelona shops close by afternoon on Saturday and most of them remain closed on Sunday. Try to schedule your visit after January 10th or around the 5th of July when you can pick up some great bargains during the winter and summer sales, respectively.
Bigger Barcelona shops and establishments accept Visa, MasterCard, DiscoverCard and American Express. You will have to furnish photo identification in the form of a passport or driving licence when you pay by credit card. Smaller shops do not accept cards, so do carry sufficient cash. Non-European citizens are entitled to tax free shopping because the VAT is refunded at the airport. For this, you need to furnish the tax free cheque (given to you at the shop), duly stamped by the Customs to the VAT office at the airport.
What to buy
From Versace to Armani, Cartier and Burberry, almost every international name can be found here. But there are also a number of smaller shops in Barcelona where you get fine prêt a porter. If you are looking for those vividly, colourful Catalan designs, then step into the local boutiques which have an ambience to match. Carry home some Majorica pearls and Lladro porcelain. Walk down the cobblestoned alleys and pick up quaint musical instruments and old vinyl records.
Barcelona is also the place to pick up antiques. Carrer dels Banys Nous along Barri Gotic and Bulevard dels Antiquaris in Passeig de Gracia have any number of antique shops where old and valuable furnishings, paintings, jewellery, ornate wooden frames, crystal, porcelain dolls and decorative objets d’art take you down the centuries.
Pick up a Miro print or a Picasso poster from the Fundacio Joan Miro and Museu Picasso. Browse through the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona and the art galleries along Carrer del Consell de Cent for some fine modernist art. Hunt for souvenirs from the souvenir shops at the Oficina d’Informacio de Turisme de Barcelona and Palau de la Virreina or along La Ramblas. Ethnic leather and cloth bags, baskets, table linen, candles, carvings, ceramics, carnival masks and pottery make excellent gifts to take back home. Football fans must shop for shirts, key rings, football and other memorabilia from the Stadium shop. Gourmets can choose from over a hundred varieties of cava, coffee that has come down the centuries, toasted almonds and cheese among other things.