In collaboration with Rough Guides

Barcelona for shopaholics: The best shops and markets

Elevate your holidays to Barcelona with a shopping experience like no other. As a beacon of style and sophistication in Europe, Barcelona boasts a wealth of fashion boutiques, from beloved high-street names to luxury designers, alongside antique shops, chic home decor stores, and captivating art galleries.

The city's commitment to design shines in its numerous family-owned shops, making a stroll through Rambla de Catalunya or Passeig de Gràcia a delightful adventure in window shopping.

In collaboration
with Rough Guides


Where to shop

Designer and high-street fashion can be found in the Eixample along Passeig de Gràcia and Rambla de Catalunya, though for new names and boutiques the best hunting ground is in the Old Town streets around Passeig del Born (La Ribera). 

Second-hand and vintage clothing stores line Carrer de la Riera Baixa (El Raval), there’s music and streetwear along nearby Carrer dels Tallers, and for antiques and quirky objects it’s best in the streets near Carrer Banys Nous (Barri Gòtic). The markets, meanwhile, are king, from the heavyweight Boqueria to lesser-known gems like the Mercat Santa Caterina in trendy Sant Pere or Gràcia’s Mercat de la Llibertat.

Passeig de Gràcia, Rambla de Catalunya and Diagonal are great for fashion, jewellery, home decor and art galleries. Alternative fashion shops, galleries and street markets are dotted around the Barri Gòtic, El Born and El Raval. Plaça de Catalunya is the jumping- off point for some of the best shopping streets: Portal de l’Àngel, Pelai and Carrer Portaferrisa are always swarming with shoppers. The upper section of La Rambla has some leading fashion stores, though tacky souvenir shops are also rife. 

For something a little bit unusual, head to El Ingenio in the Barri Gòtic which specialises in papier mâché heads called capgrossos.

Department stores and malls

The major department store is El Corte Inglés, Spain’s biggest. There is the huge, original branch on Plaça de Catalunya, one in Portal de l’Àngel, and one in the Diagonal. Also in Plaça de Catalunya is a large complex called El Triangle, which includes perfume emporium Sephora and FNAC, which has the city’s best selection of national and foreign music, magazines, books, DVDs and the very latest in computer tech.

L’Illa on the Diagonal is one of Barcelona’s best upmarket shopping malls. In Port Vell, the Maremàgnum mall is teeming with shops and is even open on Sundays (a rarity in this Catholic country). One of the largest and best equipped malls is Diagonal Mar by the sea near the Forum, easily reached by metro. It also contains an international cinema.   

For a particularly spectacular mall, head to Las Arenas in Montjuic, which was once a bullring.


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Markets

Barcelona’s biggest and best flea market is Els Encants, which pulsates with action every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, on Carrer de los Castillejos near El Poblenou. Some finds are unique or delightfully quirky, while others are decidedly tat, but the shopping experience is good fun.

Or hit El Raval for the imaginatively-named Flea Market’s Fleadonia, held on the first Sunday of each month. For stamps, coins, and memorabilia, go to the Plaça Reial on Sunday morning, or to the Sant Antoni market for records and books, as well as a wide range of mouthwatering foodstuffs.

Plaça Sant Josep Oriol has a weekend art fair and there’s an antiques fair every Thursday (in summer) in the cathedral square. You can meet the artists and if you’re looking for that unique piece for your home, this is a great place to pick up a souvenir. 

For the perfect Insta moment, visit Mercat de la Concepcio, which is known for its astonishing, soul-lifting array of flowers.

Books

Spain’s publishing industry is based in Barcelona, so it’s easy to find a wide assortment of books, including many titles in English. Excellent glossy books on Spanish culture, art and cookery and lots of discounted titles – many in English – are found at Come In, an English bookshop at Balmes and Rosselló, while La Central in Elisabets is a haven for browsers, located in a former chapel. Laie on Pau Claris is an excellent bookshop-cum-café/restaurant. It also has branches in the CCCB (Contemporary Culture Centre) and other museums throughout the city. 

Comic book nerds should head to Fatbottom in El Raval, a real treasure trove of both underground and mainstream graphic novels, sci-fi, translated works and children’s books.  

Design

For quintessential Catalan and international design, head to Passage Barcelona (Abat Samsó 7), Barcelona’s high-style design emporium, which is full of conceptual furniture, unconventional art, timeless fashion and Karl Lagerfeld accessories – a great place to wander and get inspired. It also hosts art exhibitions and has a champagne bar, perfect for a sophisticated refreshment break. Pilma at Diagonal 403 has good stock and low-key good taste, but less innate style; the El Born area is a good hunting ground for original objets d’art. 

Be sure to stop at Chandal, if you’re into retro photography – it’s Polaroid and Super8 heaven. 

Fashion

For high-street fashion fans, Spanish shopping means one thing: Zara, the flagship brand of the world’s largest fashion retailer, Inditex, and an international favourite for its trend-led, colourful clothes. Other youth-focused high street brands from this behemoth include Bershka, Pull & Bear and Stradivarius, as well as the more sophisticated Massimo Dutti.

But the Spanish apparel hits don’t stop there. Mango offers a similar vibe to Zara, or check out the exuberantly colourful fashions at Bimba y Lola or Desigual. Cutting-edge designer fashion for men and women by Toni Miró can be found at his signature store (Antoni Miró), while Galician designer Adolfo Domínguez sells classic fashion at three locations across the city. An iconic Catalan name in fashion is the dynamic Custo-Barcelona, whose stores can be found in several locations across town.  

Loewe is Spain’s premier leather goods store and produces the very finest handbags – perfect for every fashionista.

Food

Colmado Quílez is a classic Catalan grocery, with packaged goods, fine wines, cheeses, and imported beer in a photogenic corner shop. Since 1851, the place to find roasted nuts, dried fruits, coffee and spices, has been Casa Gispert, near Santa Maria del Mar. Escribà is a beautiful shop, more than a century-old, selling wonderful chocolates. 

For something a bit more unusual, embark on a religious experience and a history lesson all in one go with your shopping and visit Caelum, which stocks a variety of products produced by Trappist monks, such as beers, honey, candles and cheese, plus a delicious assortment of tea and pastries. Downstairs is a cellar/tea room where the ancient foundations of 14th-century women’s baths were uncovered – these are open to the public.  

The ultimate food shopping experience in Barcelona is, of course, La Boqueria. It is the perfect one-stop shop for fish, meat, fruit, vegetables, charcuterie and olives.  

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