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Shop ‘til you drop. If shopping is your passion Barcelona is the city with endless possibilities. From art galleries and designer’s boutiques to popular chain stores and the impressive El Corte Inglés, the city offers plenty of shopping pleasures. We at Apartments in Barcelona have a bit of advice as well as a short list of favourite shopping places worth sharing.
Shopping time. The standard opening hour for shops is 10 a.m. and although with many businesses close from 2 - 5 p.m. most retail shops remain open until 9 p.m. Here’s the deal. Barcelona offers tax-free shopping to visitors.
IVA means no VAT. The IVA system works much like Portugal, France, Britain, or Italy. The VAT, in Spain is not obvious to consumers because it is a government mark-up on certain goods and is included in the ticket price. Non European Union residents the tax-free savings amounts to 18% off the price of any items purchased if the total bill exceeds €90.15. The savings benefit applies to items that the buyer intends to take back to their country of residence. Which means it does not include dinning or hotel bills, groceries, pharmaceutical items, tickets or services.
How IVA works. Most shops in Barcelona are part of the Tax Free Shopping Service which was created to facilitate customer refunds. Look for the Tax Free logo is displayed in the store. If you do not see the sign, it is best to ask. Shops that participate will have the forms. To redeem at the receipt cheques have been cleared by customs (this takes time) then it is possible to cash your cheques at any Bureau de Change in the currency of choice. Barcelona Tax Free Shopping Calle Velázquez, 140 Pl. 1E-28006 Madrid. +34 915 237 004 or http://www.spainrefund.com/
Where to shop for what. Barcelona’s famous 5 km shopping zone with pedestrian friendly streets lined with shops, one-of-a-kind boutiques, cafes, restaurants and tapas bars is the best place to star. It begins at the top of the Ramblas, and weaves through Placa de Catalunya along Passeig de Gràcia and up Avenue Diagonal. Portal de l’Angel is an excellent pedestrian street meant for leisurely shopping. Go directly to Carrer Portaferrissa for the trendiest items. Browse the art and design shops that populate the web of street in El Born area.
If you are looking for international brands? Passeig de Gràcia is the location for premier fashion and design stores. It is oone of the most glamorous streets in the city. The shopping points include Burberry, Chanel, Diesel, Espirit, Nike, Tommy Hilfiger, as well as MaxMara, Luis Vuitton, Tiffany’s Jewelry, and Yves Saint Laurent.
El Corte Inglés - Barcelona’s grand dame of shopping. With several locations Corte Ingles one of Spain’s largest department store chains offers plenty of shopping possibilities. The equivalent of Bloomingdales or Harrods the store is known for its range of cosmetics, yards of fashions and home goods plus an expansive children’s department. Looking for a deal? The best of summer sales run from the first week in July to the end of August each year. Look for rebajas, or rebaixes in Catalan. (Main location Plaza de Catalunya, 14 08002 Barcelona. Tel: +34 93 306 3800 or http://www.elcorteingles.es/)
L’illa – Shop at the mall. This classic shopping centre at El Diagonal, near Cortes Metro Station, is loaded with popular shops under one roof. Stores include Bang & Oluffsen, Bershka, Decathlon, Disney Shop, Caprabo – the hypermarket, FNAC, Mandarina Duck, Mango, Marks & Spencer, and Zara. Plus there is a fresh food market, a supermarket, and a Pizza Hut. (Avinguda Diagonal 545 -565 Barcelona)
La Manual Alpargatera – Best espadrilles in town. The signature shoe for Spain is an espadrille with some of its popularity going to La Manual Alpargatera. For more than six decades this workshop/shop location has been crafting and selling classic espadrilles for all ages. This is also the spot for exquisite Catalan espadenyas. (Avinyo 7 08002, Barcelona by Ferran)
0, 925 – Shopping by the number. Located in the stables of 13th century Palau Cerbello also part of the Picasso Museum, this shop sells unusual handmade jewellery created by more than a dozen Catalan and Spanish designers. (C/Montcada 25, Born, Barcelona. Tel: 93 319 43 18)
Hipotesi – The latest and perhaps best. This is a place to be tempted. Shop the creations of more than 650 artists including some of the emerging talent from the Massana School of Art. (Rambla de Catalunya 105, Eixample, Barcelona. Tel: 90 215 02 98)
Laillo – Theatre turned vintage shop. Feast your eyes on collectible costumes, vintage dresses, and even bathing suits from post war days. (c/ Riera Baixa 20, El Raval, Barcelona. Tel: 93 441 37 49)
Mies & Felj – Remember the 1960s? Checkout Beatle era garb and quirky items including Chinese dresses, fur-lined jackets and vintage sportswear from the 1970s. (c/Riera Baixa 4, El Raval, Barcelona. Tel: 93 442 07 55)
Suite – Artistic, trendy, and clever. This “sweet” location in the Gràcia area of the city sells clothing and accessories from up-and-coming Spanish designers including Espera Drap, and La Casita de Wendy. (Carrer Verdi, 3-5 Barcelona. Tel: 93-213-19-93 or http://www.martargustems.com/)
Amateur – Up expected fashions. This boutique in El Raval area showcases clothing and accessory items loaded with creativity and originality. The un expected (so tempting) treasures are the works from local artists, designers and poets. (Riera Baixa, 16 Barcelona. Tel: 93 329 17 21)
Ecants Vells – Traditional flea market. The vendors populate the roadside area beginning by 8 am on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays all year long. Bargaining is part of the fun. (Located just north of Placa de les Glories Catalones & Dos de Maig)
Note: This information was accurate at time of posting but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.