While for sheer size and scope Barcelona cannot compete with Paris or the world's other fashion capitals, it is "per capita" one of the worlds most stylish cities - architecture, fashion and decoration permeated by Catalan disseny ("design") which endows even the quotidian with a refreshing and stimulating aesthetic. All of this, naturally, makes for great shopping , from designer clothes and accessories to household accompaniments. Moreover, Barcelona is an undeniably pleasant place to shop: the wide boulevards of the Eixample and the pedestrianized streets in the Barri Gòtic both encourage lengthy browsing.
Moreover, with the low cost of living in Spain and the suffering euro, shoppers with pounds and dollars will find the city to be very cheap for a lot of items, and even more so if you coincide with the annual sales ( rebaixes, rebajas in Castilian) that follow the main fashion seasons - mid-January until the end of February, and throughout July and August.
The best shopping areas are the old streets off the upper part of the Ramblas, like c/Portaferrissa, c/del Pi, Avenida Portal de l'Àngel and Baixada de la Llibreteria; the area immediately around Plaça de Catalunya; in the Eixample, along Passeig de Gràcia and Rambla de Catalunya; and further north, along main streets like c/Muntaner, c/de Balmes, Avenida Diagonal and Via Augusta. It's in this last area that the big international designer names such as Calvin Klein and Versace are to be found. Good souvenirs include ceramics, which are widely sold in the streets around the cathedral; leather goods; anything from the city's delicatessens, particularly cooked Catalan meats and sausages, and tinned seafood; a porrón (the long-spouted glass drinking jar); and CDs and tapes of Catalan rock and pop, sardana music, Spanish rock or flamenco. If you're looking for original gift ideas, some of the best hunting can be found in the shops of any of the city's museums, where you'll find reasonably priced and unique examples of Catalan disseny , and other original items ranging from postcards to replica works of art.
Shop opening hours are typically Monday-Saturday 10am-1.30/2pm and 4.30-7.30/8pm, although many shops close on Saturday afternoons, and various markets, department stores and shopping centres open right through lunch, or may vary their hours in other ways. Check our listings for further details. All the stores we've listed are open in August unless otherwise stated.
Antiques, arts and crafts
Antigua Ceraría de Luis Codina , c/Bisbe 2; Metro Jaume I. Candles and religious artefacts.
Art Escudellers , c/Escudellers 23-25; Metro Liceu. An enormous shop selling ceramics from different regions of Spain. Not cheap but a good selection. Open daily 11am-11pm.
La Bola , c/Sepúlveda 184; Metro Universitat. Old items, bric-a-brac and antique clothing.
Bulevard Antiquarius , Pg de Gràcia 55-57; Metro Passeig de Gràcia. Over seventy stalls of overpriced antiques.
La Caixa de Fang , c/Freneria 1; Metro Jaume I. Off Baixada Llibreteria, behind the cathedral, this has very good-value ceramics and recycled glass.
Cereria Subirà , Bxda Llibreteria 7; Metro Jaume I. Barcelona's oldest shop (since 1760) with a beautiful original interior, and selling hand-crafted candles with original designs.
La Cubana , c/de la Boqueria 26; Metro Liceu. Old shop selling fans and mantillas.
Espai Vidre , c/Angels 8; Metro Liceu. Famous workshop selling artistic items of glass and crystal.
Fernando Selvaggio , c/Freneria 12; Metro Jaume I. Antique books, postcards, maps and drawings.
4RT , c/Boters 4; Metro Liceu. Set in an old dairy - Catalan paintings, original prints of old Barcelona and interesting T-shirts.
Grafiques El Tinell , c/Freneria 3; Metro Jaume I. Expensive handmade decorated paper and books with interesting designs.
Incas , c/Boqueria 21; Metro Liceu. Local Andean outlet, with Ecuadorian, Bolivian and Peruvian crafts.
La Manual Alpargatera , c/d'Avinyó 7; Metro Liceu. Workshop making and selling alpargatas (espadrilles) to order, as well as other straw and rope work.
Papirum , Bxda Llibreteria 2; Metro Jaume I. Superb hand-painted paper.
Pepa Paper , c/València 266; Metro Hospital Clinic. Wide selection of colourful paper and other stationery.
Populart , c/de Montcada 22; Metro Jaume I. Delightful shop filled with antiques and crafts.
1748 , Pl de Montcada 2; Metro Jaume I. Good ceramic shop with one of the widest selections.
2 Bis , c/Bisbe 2 bis; Metro Jaume I. Expensive but interesting ceramics and glassware.
Urbana , c/Còrsega 258; Metro Diagonal. Shop selling restored mirrors, fireplaces and other fittings rescued from demolition. The other branch at c/Sèneca 13; Metro Diagonal, does the same with old furniture.
You'll find English-language books, newspapers and magazines at the stalls along the Ramblas, and a good selection of English-language books (novels and general titles unless otherwise stated) at the following stores.
Altair , c/de Balmes 69; Metro Passeig de Gràcia. Travel and sailing specialists.
Antinous , c/Josep Anselm Clavé 6; Metro Drassanes. Gay bookshop (mainly Spanish titles) alongside a gift shop and coffee bar, this is a good place to come to find out about gay events.
BCN , c/Roger de Llúria 118; Metro Diagonal. Good selection of novels and TESL books.
Casa del Llibre , Pg de Gràcia 62, Eixample ; Metro Passeig de Gràcia. Barcelona's newest book emporium, strong on literature and humanities with lots of English titles.
Come In , c/Provença 203; Metro Passeig de Gràcia. Disorganized TESL bookshop but with English-language novels. Closed Aug.
Cómplices , c/Cervantes 2; Metro Jaume I. Gay bookshop with novels and magazines in English.
Crisol , Rambla de Catalunya 81, Eixample; Metro Passeig de Gràcia. Magazines, books and music - open until 1am.
Guia-Llibreria de Viatges , Travessera de Gràcia 146, Metro Diagonal. Small bookshop specializing in travel books, maps and guides. Closed Aug.
Happy Books , c/Pelai 32 and Pg de Gràcia 77, Eixample; Metro Universitat, Catalunya or Passeig de Gràcia. Good travel and dictionary sections as well as some other English-language titles. Generally the best prices and some very good sales.
Laie, Pau Claris 85 . Bookstore with excellent selection of humanities and literature and lots of English-language titles. Café/restaurant and jazz venue upstairs.
Llibreria Mallorca , Rambla de Catalunya 86, Eixample; Metro Passeig de Gràcia. Big selection of British and American newspapers and magazines.
Llibreria Pròleg , c/Dagueria 13; Metro Jaume I. A women's/feminist bookshop, though with most works in Spanish/Catalan. Just off c/Jaume I. Closed Aug.
Llibreria Quera , c/Petritxol 2; Metro Liceu. Maps and trekking guides in a cramped little Barri Gòtic store. Closed Sat in Aug.
Makoki Comix , Pl Sant Josep Oriol; Metro Liceu. Comics.
Món Obert , Ptge d'Escudellers; Metro Drassanes. A small mainly Catalan selection of books and magazines, but a nice space with a café and restaurant.
The Book Store , c/la Granja 13, Gràcia; Metro Fontana. Secondhand English-language bookshop which operates a credit system if you return books, or bring them to sell. Also a video club. Closed Aug.
Clothes, shoes and accessories
Adolfo Domínguez , Pg de Gràcia 89; Metro Passeig de Gràcia. Men and women's designs from the well-known Gallego designer.
Argot , c/de l'Hospital 107; Metro Liceu. Small secondhand clothes shop where good bargains occasionally turn up.
Calçats Solé , c/Ample 7; Metro Drassanes. Handmade shoes and sandals from different regions of Spain.
Camper , c/Muntaner 248; c/València 249; Avda Pau Casals 5; Bxda Rosa Pedralbes. These are the four branches of Spain's most stylish value-for-money shoe-shop chain.
Condoneria , Pl Saint Josep Oriol 7. Condoms may not really be clothes, but you do wear them and in Spain (which has one of Europe's highest HIV rates) it's a good idea. A popular place with every imaginable type of preservativo , as well as other sex-related items.
Contribucions , c/Riera de Sant Miquel 30; Metro Diagonal. Discount outlet for designer fashion.
Gales , Pg de Gràcia 32; Metro Passeig de Gràcia. Classic men's shoes.
Gonzalo Comella , Pg de Gràcia 6; Metro Passeig de Gràcia. Classic clothes since 1924 for men and women; branches at Avda Diagonal 478 and Via Augusta 2.
Groc , Rambla Catalunya 100 bis; c/Muntaner 385; Metro Passeig de Gràcia. The shops of Barcelona's most innovative designer, Antoni Miró; the first is for men, the second for women.
Janina , Avda Paul Casals 8; FGC Muntaner, and Rambla de Catalunya 94; Metro Diagonal. Barcelona's premier lingerie designer.
Jean Pierre Bua , Avda Diagonal 469; Metro Diagonal. The city's temple for fashion victims: a postmodern shrine for Yamamoto, Gaultier, Miyake, Westwood, Miró and other international stars.
Joaquín Berao , c/Roselló 277, Eixample; Metro Diagonal. Avant-garde jewellery in a stunningly designed shop.
Lailo , c/Riera Baixa 20; Metro Liceu. Off the west side of the Ramblas, this second-hand clothes shop is usually worth a look.
Loewe , Pg de Gràcia 35Õ; Metro Passeig de Gràcia. Also at Avda Diagonal 570; Metro Diagonal. Superb leather jackets, coats, gloves and other accessories at heart-stopping prices.
Mango , 10 branches including Avda Portal de l'Ángel 7, Metro Catalunya; Pg de Gràcia 65, Metro Diagonal; La Maquinista, Metro Sant Andreu; and l'Illa, Metro María Cristina. Now available worldwide, Barcelona is where Mango began (and the prices here are cheaper than in North America and other European countries).
Obach Sombrería , c/del Call 2; Metro Liceu. An excellent selection of hats of all types.
Pedro Morago , Avda Diagonal 520; Metro Diagonal. Morago is a classic Barcelona designer, producing everything from suits to sports shirts for men and women.
Preu Bo , c/Comtal 22; Metro Plaça de Catalunya. Another bargain-hunter's dream. Top-name haute couture and substantial discounts.
Recicle Recicle , Riera Baixa 13; Metro Universitat. Secondhand clothes and other items, with a rapidly changing stock.
Sara Navarro , Avda Diagonal 598; Metro Hospital Clinic. Original leather shoes and accessories.
Zara , Avda Puerta del Angel 24, Metro Catalunya; Avda Diagonal 584, Metro Diagonal; c/Pelai 58, Metro Universitat; Rambla Cataluña 67, Metro Rambla de Catalunya; La Maquinista, Metro Sant Andreu>. Trendy but cheap fashion.
Zero , Rambla de les Flors 89; Metro Catalunya. Designer jewellery.
Department stores and shopping arcades
Bulevard Rosa , Pg de Gràcia 55; Metro Passeig de Gràcia. Also at Avda Diagonal 609-615. Barcelona's first shopping mall, the Passeig address is the original. Both arcades have around one hundred shops, specializing in chic designer gear. Both open Mon-Sat 10.30am-8.30pm.
Centre Comercial Barcelona Glòries , Pl de les Glòries Catalanes 1; Metro Glòries. Big shopping centre with all the national high-street names as well as bars, restaurants and a cinema complex. Mon-Sat 9.30am-10pm.
El Corte Inglés , Pl de Catalunya 14; Avda Diagonal 617. The city's biggest department store. Mon-Sat 10am-9.30pm.
FNAC Triangle , Pl de Catalunya 4. Shopping centre dominated by the flagship FNAC store which specializes in books (good travel and English selections), music CDs and computer software. Also high-quality international photography exhibits on the main floor. Mon-Sat 10am-9.30pm.
Gralla Hall , c/Portaferrissa 25; Metro Liceu. Opposite the Mercadillo, this is full of boutiques with local and international labels.
L'Illa , Avda Diagonal 555-559; Metro María Cristina. Sterile American-style shopping mall with national and international shops including a FNAC which is good for music and books. Mon-Sat 9.30am-9.30pm.
La Maquinista , c/Potosí; Metro Sant Andreu. Huge new shopping centre in a restored locomotive factory with over 200 shops (including Mango, Zara, Berskha, Cortefiel, Miró), a multiplex and bowling alley. Mon-Sat 11am-8pm.
Maremàgnum , Moll d'Espanya s/n; Metro Drassanes. Very reminiscent of an American mall with lots of shops alongside restaurants, fast-food joints and cinemas.
El Mercadillo , c/Portaferrissa 17; Metro Liceu. Small complex of shops selling trendy clothes and shoes as well as a restaurant upstairs and a nice patio-garden. Look out for the camel marking the entrance. Mon-Sat 11am-8pm.
VIPS , Rambla Catalunya 7; Metro Catalunya. Twenty-two shops and services. Open until 1.30am (3am weekends).
Design, decorative art and household goods
Aspectos , c/del Rec 28; Metro Jaume I. Designer furniture and household items.
BD Ediciones de Diseño , c/Mallorca 291; Metro Diagonal. The building is by Domènech i Montaner, the interior filled with the very latest in furniture and household design.
Contrast , c/Consell de Cent 281; Metro Universitat. Sharp Catalan design: ceramics, paintings, jewellery, clothes, glass and photography under one roof.
D.Barcelona , Avda Diagonal 367; Metro Diagonal. Up the road from Dos i Una, and with a similar but much bigger selection.
Dom , Pg de Gràcia 76; Metro Passeig de Gràcia. Original, amusing household and personal items at accessible prices.
Dos i Una , c/Rosselló 275; Metro Diagonal. Contemporary, imaginative household and personal items.
Ganivetería Roca , Pl del Pi 3; Metro Liceu. Nice old shop, dating from 1911, selling a big range of knives, cutlery and other household goods. It also displays the name Solingen Paris-Barcelona .
Gotham , c/Cervantes 7; Metro Jaume 1. Small shop selling Fifties furniture and accessories.
Museu Textil i d'Indumentaria , c/de Montcada 12; Metro Jaume I. Shop within the museum selling designer clothes, shoes, jewellery and other items.
Pilma , Avda Diagonal 403; Metro Diagonal. Expensive, stylish household design and furniture.
Vinçon , Pg de Gràcia 96; Metro Passeig de Gràcia. Stylish and original household items, pioneered by Fernando Amat - known as the "Spanish Terence Conran". Temporary art and design exhibitions here, too.
Barcelona's daily food markets , all in covered halls, are open from Monday to Saturday, 8am-3pm and 5-8pm, though the most famous, La Boqueria on the Ramblas, opens right through the day. We've listed details of other food shops and delis. Other markets - for junk, antiques, coins, books and so on - are held less frequently; check our list, and note that, if you're really on the lookout for something, the earlier you get there the better.
La Casa , Pl Sant Vincenç Martorell 4; Metro Liceu. Barcelona's best for hip-hop, acid jazz, house and techno.
Discos Castelló , c/Tallers 3, 9 and 11. Large record and CD shop with a good popular section and a separate store for classical (no. 3). A good place to pick up concert tickets.
Music World-4 , c/Tallers 1. Smaller music shop specializing in rock and pop as well as tickets for live shows.
Planet Music , c/Mallorca 214; Metro Passeig de Gràcia. Big selection, particularly good on flamenco, classical and world music.
Revolver , c/Tallers 13. Barcelona's most famous record shop for rock and popular music. Has records, CDs and tapes, both new and secondhand, and is one of the most important ticket outlets in Barcelona.
Toys, costume and party wear
El Carnaval , c/Diputació 100; Metro Passeig de Gràcia. Masks, costumes and party/carnival wear.
Comercial Bolsera , c/Xuclá 15; Metro Liceu. Masks, hats, streamers and much more.
El Ingenio , c/Rauric 6-8; Metro Liceu. Juggling and magic shop with a modernista store front.
Joguines Banys Nous , c/Banys Nous 13; Metro Liceu. Antique toys.
Palácio de Juguete , c/Arcs 8; Metro Jaume I. Good toyshop near the cathedral.
Xalar , Bxda Llibreteria 4; Metro Jaume I. Designer toys.
Torró and chocolates
You can buy torró - traditional almond fudge - all over the city around Christmas time: in the old town, try the shops at Avda Portal de l'Àngel 25; c/Cucurulla 9 (off Avda Portal de l'Àngel); and c/de la Princesa. For designer chocolates , you should head for Fargas, c/Pi 16, in the old town; or Escribà, Rambla 83.
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