A city with impeccable style, Barcelona is where you'll find the best in Catalan, Spanish and international design. In this area there are also many interesting old stores such as bakeries, herbalists and pharmacies – some displaying beautiful Modernista frontages. For those who enjoy the hustle and bustle of small crowded streets, the Barri Gotic , in the heart of the city, has something for everyone.
Shopping In Barcelona
Department Stores and 'Galleries'
The Branch of El Corte Ingles , Spain's largest department store chain, on Placa Catalunya is a Barcelona landmark and a handy place to find everything under one roof, including plug adapters and services like key-cutting. Other branches are located around the city. Barcelona's hypermarkets also sell a wide range of goods. As they are on the outskirts of the city – south along the Gran Via towards the airport, and on the Avinguda Meridiana to the north – a car is the best way to reach them.
The galeries (fashion malls), built mostly during the affluent 1980s, are hugely popular. Bulevard Rosa on the Passeig de Gracia has hundreds of stores selling clothes and accessories. On the Avinguda Diagonal is L'Illa, a large, lively shopping mall containing chain stores as well as specialist retailers.
Design, Art and Antiques
If you are interested in modern design, or just looking for gifts, you should pay a visit to Vincon, the city's famous design emporium. Located on the Passeig de Gracia , it has everything for the home, including beautiful fabrics and furniture. A must is BD Ediciones de Diseno, which has the feel of an art gallery.
Housed in a building designed by Domenech i Montaner , the store has furniture based on designs by Gaudi and Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and sells wonderful contemporary furniture and accessories.
Most of the commercial art and print galleries are found on Carrer Consell de Cent , in the Eixample , while the Barri Gotic – especially the Carrer de la Palla and Carrer del Pi – is the best place to browse around small but fascinating antiques shops. As well as fine furniture and old dolls, L'Arca de l'Avia sells antique silks and lace, all of which are set out in pretty displays.
Books and Newspapers
Most city-center newsstands sell English language newspapers, but the best stocks of foreign papers and magazines are at FNAC at L'Illa and at Crisol, which also sells books, videos, CDs and photographic equipment.