Characterized by originality and relative affordability, the shopping scene in Barcelona has become a jubilant fair of fashion, design, craft, and gourmet food. Different parts of town specialize in different goods, and you can explore parts of the city through shopping and browsing boutiques.

The Ciutat Vella, especially the Born-Ribera area, is rich in small-crafts shops, young designers, and an endless potpourri of artisans and merchants operating in restored medieval spaces that are often as dazzling as the wares on sale. Even the pharmacies and grocery stores of Barcelona are often sumptuous aesthetic feasts filled with charming details. Although the end of rent protection has seen many heritage establishments close, a new law will at least ensure that their unique architectural and decorative details will remain intact. Hat shop Sombrerería Obach and candlemakers Cereria Subirà are two old town traders who have remained charmingly unchanged over the decades.

Shopping for design objects and chic fashion in the Eixample is like buying art supplies at the Louvre: it's an Art Nouveau architecture theme park spinning off into dozens of sideshows—textiles, furnishings, curios, and knickknacks of every kind. Any specific shop or boutique will inevitably lead you past a dozen emporiums that you hadn't known were there. Original and surprising yet wearable clothing items are Barcelona's signature contribution to fashion. Rather than copying the runways, Barcelona designers are relentlessly daring and innovative, combining fine materials with masterful workmanship.

Browsing through shops in this unique metropolis feels more like museum-hopping than it does a shopping spree. Design shops like Doméstico and Jaime Beriestain delight the eye and stimulate the imagination, while the area around the Passeig del Born beckons young designers from across the globe. Passeig de Gràcia has joined the ranks of the Champs Elysées in Paris and Rome's Via Condotti as one of the great shopping avenues in the world, with the planet's fashion houses well represented, from Armani to Zara. Exploring Barcelona's antiques district along Carrer Banys Nous and Carrer de la Palla is always an adventure. The shops open daily around Santa Maria del Mar in the Born-Ribera district range from Catalan and international design retailers to shoe and leather handbag designers, to T-shirt decorators and coffee emporiums. The megastores in Plaça de Catalunya, along Diagonal, and in L'Illa Diagonal farther west sell clothing, furniture, furs, books, music, and more. The village-like Sarrià and Gràcia are filled with intimate antique and clothing shops, with friendly boutique owners who add a personal touch.

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  • 1. Ganiveteria Roca

    Barri Gòtic | Gifts/Souvenirs

    Directly opposite the giant rose window of the Santa Maria del Pi church, the knife store ( ganivet is Catalan for knife) beneath this lovely...Read More

  • 2. Natura

    Born-Ribera | Gifts/Souvenirs

    A gracefully decorated store in the Spanish Natura chain, this crafts specialist stocks a good selection of global trifles, including pieces...Read More

  • 3. Artesania Catalunya -- CCAM

    Barri Gòtic | Gifts/Souvenirs

    In 2010 the Catalan government created the registered trademark Empremtes de Catalunya to represent Catalan artisans and to make sure that visitors...Read More

  • 4. Cereria Subirà

    Barri Gòtic | Gifts/Souvenirs

    Known as the city's oldest shop, having remained open since 1761 (though it was not always a candle store), this "waxery" ( cereria ) offers...Read More

  • 5. Coses de Casa

    Barri Gòtic | Gifts/Souvenirs

    The 19th-century windows of this lovely corner shop overlooking Plaça del Pi burst with all sorts of home textiles—from humble, superb-quality...Read More

  • 6. Guantería y Complementos Alonso

    Barri Gòtic | Gifts/Souvenirs

    The storefront and interiors of this ancient little glove and accessory shop is well worth the visit. Lovely antique cabinets painstakingly...Read More

  • 7. Jaime Beriestain Concept Store

    Eixample | Household Items/Furniture

    The concept store of one of the city’s hottest interior designers provides mere mortals the chance to appreciate the Beriestain groove. Reflecting...Read More

  • 8. JC Apotecari

    Sarrià | Perfume/Cosmetics

    Downtown beauty junkies happily make the trip uptown for the hard-to-source cult products that fill the lab-like shelves of JC Apotecari. Skin...Read More

  • 9. L'Appartement

    Eixample | Household Items/Furniture

    This bright and quirky design shop fits right in with this part of the Eixample, known for its abundance of gay bars. Oversized wall decals...Read More

  • 10. Pepa Paper

    Eixample | Books/Stationery

    Barcelona's most famous paper and stationery store, Pepa Paper (Pepa is a nickname for Josefina and Paper, Catalan for—you guessed it—paper...Read More

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