Fashion finds way to the remotest corners of the globe, yet a few destinations remain on the lists of faithful fashionistas. Barcelona, Spain is stocked with exotic people, places, and things, and when it comes to style and shopping, it ranks with New York City and Paris, France. If you’re planning a trip there, take note of the following must-see destinations below.
Passeig de Gracia
Competing with Champs-Elysees and Rodeo Drive, Passeig is a place to feel the pulse of the fashion industry. Renowned brands like Gucci, Prada, and Burberry host storefronts adjacent to Spain brands such as Adolfo, Roberto Verino, and Custo Barcelona. However, high-end outlets don’t dominate; you can also find Zara, Mango, and H&M here too. If you have an eye for architecture as you do fashion, be sure to stop and admire La Pedrera and Casa Batllo.
The Spanish are known for flair but equally humble. If you’re more interested in bohemian and indie wear, Raval is a go-to spot. The area is crowded with antiques and secondhand shops like Holala and Lailo. And, on the weekends, find a number of natives and visitors packed into Raval’s Independent Design Market from the hours of 11 through 9 pm. Again, if you wish to intermingle fashion with art, stay in the area to appreciate MACBA, Barcelona’s Contemporary Art Museum. Alternatively, head to CCCB, the Contemporary Culture Center. As with visiting anywhere in the world, be mindful of your surroundings and be vigilant; Raval is beautiful by day, yet a bit sketchy by night, so if you’re staying away from your Hipmunk suggested hotel after sundown, don’t roam about alone.
La Roca Shopping Outlet
All fashion lovers would wish to have the money to spend endlessly at Passeig de Gracia, but the reality is that high fashion comes at a high price. Therefore, many head to La Roca to enjoy deals on popular brands. Over eighty coveted brands host year-round sales there, especially during the Christmas and late-summer seasons. Plan to go on a delightful day since you’ll need to walk from shop to shop.
If you’re searching for a less-expensive experience similar to Raval, Gracia is your answer. Once upon a time a quaint village, and later incorporated in the 19th century, Gracia is equally crowded with hipsters and big spenders. Find artisan shops owned by local artists who offer clothes and jewelry you can’t find anyplace else in the world.
El Corte Ingles
This area is Spain’s answer to North America’s Nordstrom’s. The department store literally means “The English Cut.” With a tradition of offering men’s suits, the massive outlet store is a one-stop-shopping destination where you can find shoes, makeup, jewelry, and gourmet foods. All the shopping is sure to work up an appetite, so head upstairs to the cafe that hosts a panoramic view of the city.
Tips to Go
If you’re coming from a different continent, you may be thrown off by the varying shopping hours in Barcelona. Shops open later, after 9 or 10 am. Also, most close for a couple to few hours during lunch and then reopen later in the late afternoon to early evening. Lastly, most stores are closed on Sundays and only open for a few hours during Saturday mornings. Huge sales take place twice in the year (January through February and July through August). Also, taxes are (usually) included in listed prices. And, some stores won’t accept credit cards, especially if an item is priced under 10 Euros. Moreover, if you’re not a permanent resident and using a credit card, you’ll be asked for your passport. Traveler’s checks, American Express cards, and Discover cards are pretty much non grata in most stores in Barcelona.
If you love fashion and shopping, you must place Barcelona on your must-see list. With high-end brands, hip indie spots, and a number of galleries and places to save, you’ll consider tagging a few more days into your initial itinerary.
Jennifer Osbourne is an event planner. She likes to post about her experiences online. Her articles appear on many travel and business websites.