Being the bustling, brightly coloured capital of Catalonia, Barcelona holds many secret jewels amongst its streets, thoroughfares and winding alleyways. With a strong footing in modernism, the artisans of Barcelona are creating pieces of excellent, contemporary design. Happening on all artistic levels, these rival the best of Amsterdam and Copenhagen. Are you in the market for fashion, ornaments and decorations, furniture, toys, food or wine? No matter what, you will certainly find whatever you fancy around the city. Shops are often open until 20:30 on weekdays, with a siesta break during the middle of the day. On Sundays, most shops are closed.
Into the old quarter of town and through the narrow alleys and winding cobbled streets, imposing buildings tower over you. Some of these dates back to Roman times and some slightly more recently. This neighbourhood is really the place to find fun and quirky design items and fantastic fashion statements. With shoe shops like Mar Bessas, Toni Pons, U-Casas and La Manual Alpargatera; local fashion outlets such as Felgar, Begemot Gallery and Otto Van Rhusk; hand-crafted items at Raima and Palau Moja, you’ll come away from the grey stones with a colourful array in your hands to brighten your day.
If you feel like something sweet, check out the patisseries and confectionary shops. Excellent places to start are: Caelum: where sweets and cakes are made from the Nuns and Monks all around the country; Be Chocolat: handmade chocolates with a variety of flavours and tastes; Pastisseria La Colmena: founded over 150 years ago and has been serving sweet treats from Catalonia, as well as special chocolates and cakes.
If you’re looking for international fashion stores and want to find out what’s ‘in’ in Barcelona, then continue on to Portal de l’Àngel. This is a shopping street that proceeds from one end of Plaça de Catalunya, down towards the tail end of streets within the Gothic Quarter. You can’t miss it, it has a huge neon thermometer above the walkway! Here you’ll find such stores as H&M, Zara, Stradivarius, United Colors of Benetton, Bershka and Massimo Dutti. This is a big street that really connects the largely modern part of the city with its historic past. As such, there are many other peripheral shops to explore, such as the Disney Store. Side streets off of El Portal like Portaferrisa and Pelayo also have some other great shops to check out.
If you are looking for a major department store then El Corte Ingles is the go-to place. Here you will find yourself a broad range of multiple products under one roof. It is part of the largest department franchise in Europe and the fourth worldwide. Primarily located on La Plaça de Catalunya, this is Barcelona’s flagship store and is over 9 floors high. It retails everything: from clothes to furniture and homeware, to sports equipment and gourmet food. There is also a second on El Portal de l’Àngel and a third on Avinguda Diagonal. It is worth visiting at least one of these stores, even if it’s just for the sheer grandeur.
Not just Barcelona’s most prized neighbourhood for its fantastic Gaudí architecture, it is also the home of the city’s most upscale fashion brands. If you’re looking for a new dress, suit, perfume, shoes or handbag, here is the top spot. Look no further than Burberry, Guess, Yves Saint Laurent, Lacoste, Desigual, Armand Basi and Emporio Armani: all can be found here. Fancy some new jewellery or a watch? Try Cartier or Rolex. And of course address no. 1 on Passeig de Gràcia is home to Barcelona’s Apple Shop. For independent cafes and eateries in the area, try exploring the winding streets at the top of La Passeig. A little different from the shops of the main street, but no less exciting.
Shopping is a big part of life in any city and Barcelona is certainly no exception. Being a large place, with a strong cultural heritage, there are always more gems to find. Therefore, we continue the conversation in round two of our shopping guide. Have a look to prepare yourself for the excitement you can find in this amazing city!