Barcelona Shopping Neighborhoods
The Ribera and Born neighborhoods, the old waterfront district around the Santa Maria del Mar basilica, seem to breed boutiques and shops of all kinds continuously. Interior design and clothing shops are the main draw. Check along Carrer Argenteria and Plaça de Santa Maria before zipping up Carrer Banys Vells. Two streets north of Carrer Montcada, go to Carrer Rec for designer haute couture clothing, jewelry, and knickknacks of all kinds. Carrer Vidrieria is lined with shops all the way over to Plaça de les Olles, where hometown clothing designer Custo Barcelona owns the corner across from the wildly popular tapas bar Cal Pep. Around Santa Maria del Mar basilica, the aromatic Casa Gispert on Carrer Sombrerers is not to be missed, nor is Baraka, the Moroccan goods expert on Carrer Canvis Vells. Vila Viniteca up Carrer Agullers near Via Laietana is always an interesting Bacchic browse.
Beginning with the Triangle d'Or at the top of La Rambla and up Passeig de Gràcia, now rightly considered one of the world's greatest shopping streets, the Eixample is a compendium of design and fashion stores that could take years to fully explore. Eixample means "Expansion" (from the Catalan verb eixamplar) and, indeed, not only is this neighborhood immensely wide, stretching from Plaça de les Glòries all the way out to Plaça Francesc Macià, but it can cut a wide swathe through your bank statement before you know it.
Passeig de Gràcia, with reportedly the most expensive retail floor space in Spain, accommodates a lengthy and luxurious list of fashionista showcases, such as Prada, Stella McCartney, and Loewe, with more down-to-earthling brands such as Zara and Mango situated at the southern end. Also in the Eixample, Moderniste grocery stores such as Queviures Murria dazzle foodies. Other targets of opportunity include Rambla de Catalunya (which runs parallel to Passeig de Gràcia and is less uptight) and Carrer Enric Granados. But this is just the tip of the shopping iceberg: turn yourself loose and discover the factory outlet stores along Carrer Girona, or wander into the Bermuda Triangle of antiques shopping in Bulevard dels Antiquaris at Passeig de Gràcia 55–57.
The Raval has traditionally held a reputation for separating you from your possessions rather than for adding to them (and you should still stay alert here for pickpockets)—but the MACBA, Barcelona's Richard Meier–designed contemporary art museum, has brought with it an upsurge of jewelry, art, and design shops in the upper part of the neighborhood between Carrer Pelai and Carrer Hospital. Carrer Tallers, just below Plaça de Catalunya, is the youth culture street of Barcelona, with music shops, Goth clothing stores, and tattoo parlors. The bookstore La Central del Raval on Carrer Elisabets is a wonderful place to spend time, with lunch available in its excellent restaurant. Carrer Joaquín Costa caters to hipsters with designer knickknacks and vintage sunglasses. Carrers Doctor Dou and Notoriat have a handsome array of design, fashion and crafts shops; flea market fanatics could head to Carrer Riera Baixa, which is chockablock with secondhand clothing and army suplus stores.
The onetime outlying village of Gràcia is has become a shopping destination in its own right with a host of creatively conceived, owner-run design and fashion stores, art and design galleries and crafts studios. Major High Street brands sit cheek by jowl along Gran de Gràcia, the neighborhood's main drag. Venture farther to Carrer Verdi, Carrer Torrijos, and around the Mercat de la Llibertat, Plaça del Sol and Plaça Rius i Taulet, all which abound in fashion and jewelry shops, along with arty cafés, taverns, and gourmet food boutiques. Along Carrer d'Asturiés there are dozens of shops selling clothing and food adhering to the organic, alternative lifestyle principles Gràcia's residents are famous for.
Even farther uphill than Gràcia, the formerly independent village of Sarrià is filling with antiques stores and indie fashion designers, still retaining its small-town charm. Antiques shops can be found on Carrer de la Creu, Carrer Cornet i Mas, Plaça Artós, and Major de Sarrià, with even more opening soon. There are also two branches of the famous Foix pastry store in Plaça de Sarrià and Major de Sarrià and the excellent wine store: Iskia on Major de Sarrià. Refuel at Bar Tomàs for the famous patatas allioli and Gouthier for oysters. Worth seeking out is the master florist's shop, the appropriately named Flora Miserachs, at No. 27 Carrer Avió Plus Ultra.