Everything You Need To Know About Shopping In Barcelona
Most travelers associate Barcelona with late nights, the beach, and amazing food and wine. Visitors to the Catalan capital will be shocked to discover Barcelona is a shopper's paradise. You certainly have the classic European boulevards lined with souvenir shops, designer stores, and obvious international brands. But the number of (cool) shopping malls, markets, fashion boutiques, and iconic local brands from Catalan designers is astounding, and just another reason to take a trip to Barcelona.
Depending on how much time you have in town, and where you are staying, you can either stay near Barcelona’s Old Town, which is centered around the Gothic Quarter and El Born neighborhoods, or you can head up the coast or out towards the mountains for the more relaxed neighborhoods. If you're in the city center, check out the Passeig de Gracia or portal, which are two of the best shopping streets in Barcelona. Fortunately, it’s fairly easy to get around Barcelona; and many of the shopping centers outside the city center have free shuttle services. However you plan to spend your time in this amazing city, Barcelona’s shopping scene will have you covered. Here are a few of the best destinations for shopping in Barcelona:
The Best Spots for Shopping in Barcelona
This seven-story department store is located in the city center and pretty much covers all your bases. Men’s and women’s fashion stores are plentiful, with both international luxury brands and smaller boutiques lining the halls. There are also swimwear, makeup, jewelry, and just about everything you can expect a department store to carry. While the vibe is slightly corporate compared to Barcelona’s other shopping malls and markets, this is a one-stop shop and its central location is vital for any traveler who needs a quick-fix for a new outfit or replacement swimsuit, etc.
The small but well-curated food court has a number of outstanding options, as the Spanish take their food too seriously to allow mediocre fast-food restaurants and expect their people to accept it!
Plaça de Sant Josep Oriol
This plaza is famous for hosting an art market every weekend, but this offbeat shopping center is certainly worth checking out if you’re looking for an interesting shopping experience. Being slightly off the beaten path, you’ll see more locals than tourists walking around, but veteran travelers and hardcore shoppers certainly make their way to this square. There are also many art galleries and independent boutiques surrounding the square, so it’s certainly worth exploring the neighborhood if you find yourself in need of some quirky swag to bring home!
The location of this shopping center could not be better. It’s in the heart of Barcelona’s Old City between the Gothic Quarter and the trendy Born neighborhood. Because you’ll most certainly be sightseeing in the Gothic Quarter and bar-hopping in Born, it’s an easy place to stop in for window shopping or a full-blown shopping spree. La Maquinista is a semi-outdoor mall, so the atmosphere is pleasant and it’s easy to navigate. If the weather isn’t cooperating, and you’ve already spent most of the day in museums, there are 3D movies played at La Maquinista’s theater.
The shops are a mix of familiar international brands and some local boutiques. There is also a grassy area on site that makes for an excellent place to stop and relax in between stores, and there are restaurants as well, but the street food and tapas bars in the Born neighborhood are the best options.
La Roca Village
If you’re renting a car and driving through Spain, it’s certainly worthwhile to stop by this outlet on the city’s outskirts. The Village has nine locations throughout Europe, and the Barcelona location is one of the best discount malls in Spain. La Roca Village specializes in luxury brands, and this massive complex is home to hundreds of outlet boutiques. Many of these stores are small and local businesses, which gives the shopping experience a unique boost.
La Roca Village is only half an hour outside the city center, so even if you don’t have access to a car, there is a free shuttle that makes the trip worthwhile. Deals this good on merchandise of this quality are almost unheard of.
Located in the Poblenou District where Avenida Diagonal and the beach intersect, the Diagonal Mar is one of the largest shopping centers in Barcelona. There are many designer labels, luxury boutiques, homeware, and cosmetics stores throughout the mall, and their well-curated food court is nothing to scoff at. You can dine on Spanish tapas or sushi, and there is a German Biergarten on-site that’s open late. This mall is only a few minutes from the beach, so going for a dip or walk by the water post-shopping spree makes for a perfect afternoon.
This upmarket shopping center offers an astounding number of quality stores, especially given its central location in Barcelona’s financial district. The vibe here is very upscale, with designer boutiques and luxury stores being the main focus. If your trip to Barcelona coincides with the holidays, you’ll be lucky enough to find the Christmas pop-up has an ice rink.
When many people think of Spain, the colorful spectacle of bullfighting and the ornate arenas come to mind. Since the practice has been outlawed in Catalonia for decades, Las Arenas has been repurposed to become a shopping center. The historic arena is incredibly well-maintained with original archways and details being preserved to give shoppers the feeling that they are in an actual bull-fighting arena.
The shopping center is located on the Plaça d’Espanya, at Avenida Parallel, and the top floor of the arena provides wonderful views of the city and the Montjuïc mountains. There is an excellent restaurant and bar scene in the neighborhood for some post-shopping sustenance. This is one of the most distinct shopping experiences in the world. Regardless of what you’re looking to purchase, it’s absolutely worthwhile.
The Best Designer Stores in Barcelona
Originally getting her start in Barcelona during the 1979s, Lurdes Bergadà is one of the most prodigious Catalan designers. Her abrasive and distinctive style has helped her make a name for herself around the world. Expect darker colors, washed denim, and other features that wouldn’t seem out of place at an edgy New York rock club in the 80s. Her two boutiques are located at Plaça de Santa Maria, and Rambla de Catalunya
This luxury brand has been an institution in Catalan high society since 1843, and it’s a prestigious brand the world over. Located on Passeig de Gràcia, this wonderful boutique represents peak elegance in a city that has become increasingly casual. While there are familiar designs from Burberry and Saint Laurent, you’ll also find some fresh threads from up-and-comers in their “pop up” section. While women’s clothing is their main focus, expect some of the best perfume, jewelry, and accessories in Barcelona as well.
This company’s main focus is to curate ethical women's and men’s fashion in a sleek and upscale setting. The minimalistic aesthetic permeates throughout the entire collection. Pieces range from casual wear to formal wear that’s functional and comfortable. Either way, expect elegant simplicity. The goal here is a timeless style, sourced ethically and sustainably. This Carrer dels Mirallers boutique certainly achieves this goal.
This furniture and home decor boutique has dialed in its approach. Modern and minimal aesthetics that can go in just about any kind of home. Vibrant colors are common, but the designs are clean enough that any piece bought here will not clutter a room at all. The furniture offerings here are for thoughtful interior decorators, and anyone with a good eye for design will find themselves in heaven at this Carrer d'Enric Granados boutique. While it may be difficult to bring a couch back home, there are many smaller decorative pieces that are more than worth having to pack.
This family-run store has been gaining business from window-shoppers for more than 50 years. Their vibrant window displays and trustworthy demeanor lure potential customers in from Carrer de Balmes and their outstanding selection of haute couture staples seal the deal. Tot-Hom is certainly an upscale store, so popping in to see what kind of deals you can find might not be the best approach.
Located on Carrer del Bonaire in the must-visit El Born neighborhood, this store features eclectic aesthetics and reasonable deals. The actual store’s design is a work of art, with raw features like baked stone pillars, metal beams, and a cement floor clashing stylishly with chandeliers, velvet furniture, and florals throughout the space. The actual clothing on sale is just as cool. Streetwear, luxury items, and a bespoke brand of accessories make this the perfect shopping destination for twenty-somethings and anyone who knows where the trends are going.
The Best Vintage Stores in Barcelona
La Principal Retro & Co
Located on the iconic Carrer de Ferlandina in the trendy El Raval neighborhood, this pocket-sized vintage store offers used designer clothing at reasonable prices. The knowledgeable and friendly staff, unless the store is too busy, will offer personalized assistance in finding the perfect vintage fit from their well-curated collection. Clothing and accessories are generally from the ’80s and ‘90s so there isn’t the huge “flower-power” vibe that permeates most vintage stores, so expect to find cool clothing that isn’t too zany. If you find yourself shopping in El Raval, this should be your first stop.
Le Swing Vintage
Located in El Born, this vintage boutique focuses on upscale designer threads. Everything from this store comes in impeccable condition, and many items have been restored to “brand-new-ish” quality. Everything in the store is either French or Italian, and slightly expensive. But the rarity and exclusivity of the pieces they’ve curated certainly justify the prices.
Just a stone’s throw from Plaça de Catalunya, this store is the flagship location of the Holala vintage empire. Expect a vast collection of well-reserved pieces that range from funky to elegant, and prices that range from bargain-bin to reasonable. If you’re on a budget, this is one of your best bets for secondhand threads!
Flamingo Vintage Kilo
With a few locations throughout the Gothic Quarter and El Born, it’s likely you’ll encounter one of these vintage stores without even trying. The staff has been sourcing Americana-inspired vintage clothing for decades, and their outstanding selection certainly reflects their diligence. The prices are reasonable, and the style is versatile (especially if you’re flying back to the States after your last serving of croquetas).
The Best Shopping Streets in Barcelona
Rambla De Catalunya
This is Barcelona’s most iconic and most chic street. While the gorgeous architecture and bustling energy might distract you from window shopping, you’ll find dozens of designer shops and flagship stores for some of the world’s biggest fashion brands. Elegant and truly international, you’ll feel inspired by the fashionable people walking down La Rambla, and perhaps inspired enough to stop by one of the hundreds of upscale boutiques! Regardless of your shopping goals, a stroll down La Rambla is an absolute requirement for any trip to Barcelona.
Portal de l'àngel
This famous street is the perfect walking destination (there are literally no cars allowed) for shopping in Barcelona. For once, it’s a one-stop shop. There are boutiques, restaurants, cafes, street performers, and even sporting stores for a Lionel Messi jersey (in case you can’t make it to the FC Barcelona Stadium Camp Nou). Portal de l'àngel gets pretty busy in the afternoons, so if crowds aren’t your thing, grab a coffee and stroll down this iconic walkway in the morning before everyone wakes from their paella and Estrella-induced comas.
Passeig de Gracia/ Paseo de Gracia
While Passeig de Gracia might not have the most original roster of retailers, it’s certainly one of the most reliable when it comes to luxury and quality. Expect the usual suspects in terms of international companies with a presence on Passeig de Gracia. If that’s your thing, then you might want to set a budget before turning onto this street from Plaça de Catalunya or stumbling out from El Corte Ingles, because this stretch has just about everything!
Calle Avinyo / Carrer d’Avinyó
This winding little street is the antithesis of Passeig de Gracia. Not that both don’t have their merits; it’s all about what you’re into. If you’re into small, easygoing strolls without too much retail pressure, then this Gothic Quarter strip is perfect. There are tapas bars and paella restaurants, quirky souvenir shops, and adorable boutiques for clothing and home decor. It only takes about 10 minutes to walk the whole way, but it’s worth the small time investment if you want a breather from all the crowds.
Carrer de Ferran
Calle Ferran, which is just off La Rambla, is one of the more quaint streets in the Gothic Quarter. There are dozens and dozens of quality boutiques, and a massive number of pubs, tapas bars, and amazing restaurants. There are designer stores, vintage shops, gift shops, and many more. It’s worth a detour off La Rambla, and you’re more than likely to find a nice cafe or pub, and getting some shopping done in between is just gravy on top.
With the amazing architecture, beaches, and cuisine, shopping should absolutely not be your only goal in Barcelona, but there are so many distinct areas that have incredible shopping experiences. One of the nice things about shopping in Barcelona is that the neighborhoods and main thoroughfares are enjoyable to explore, which makes the sometimes fruitless errand of buying clothes more palatable. Luckily, Barcelona shopping has both attractive settings and amazing stores. So go explore, maybe buy something, and let Bounce take care of the luggage!