The guide below will give an idea of some of the main shopping areas and what you can expect to find there:
Two of the best shopping areas for clothes in the city are Salamanca which has the most expensive boutiques, and Chueca which offers cutting-edge fashion stores. Madrid has a fashion sense to rival Milan and Paris and you won't be disappointed by the range of international designer wear on offer in the city centre.
Most shoppers will end up between Sol and Gran Via along the Calle Preciados. This has long been the traditional centre for shopping in the city. There is a good range of national chain stores here and you should be able to get anything you want including souvenirs - but don't let that put you off exploring the city for more interesting options.
Calle Fuencarral, and in particular the covered Fuencarral Market, is one of the trendiest areas with some of the most cutting edge fashion you'll find in Spain along with accessories, record shops and cafes. You can get to it from metro Tribunal, Bilbao or Gran Via.
El Corte Ingles at Sol is the most convenient place to shop in the entire city for all manner of goods - there isn't much you can't buy at this massive central department store - from high fashion to basic foodstuffs. The supermarket in the basement is particularly good for picnic supplies and specialist Spanish delicacies to take home.
Out of the city centre you will find large shopping centres and mall complexes. Las Rozas Outlet Village offers modern outlet store shopping just 45 minutes north-west of the city, on the A6 motorway. With 40 stores including some of the best highstreet names in the country and discounts of up to 60% available it is a popular excursion for hard-core shoppers.
When you want to spent good time, you can enjoy shopping to pass your time during your short breaks in Madrid.
The most famous shopping option in Madrid is the Rastro. This has been a popular market for centuries and continues to draw Madrilenos and tourists alike. Although now most famous for its antiques stalls you can also buy all manner of secondhand goods, new clothes, jewellery and slightly unreliable electrical goods. The market is a social event too, with plenty of people taking the opportunity to stroll rather than shop. The Rastro is held every Sunday from 09h00 until mid-afternoon.
What to Buy:
Distinctive foodstuffs always make a good souvenir of a visit to Madrid. Cava (similar to champagne) and Rioja are both recommended wines. There are plenty of good cheeses to choose from, most supermarkets have a good deli section and shops will generally let you try before you buy.
Serrano ham is similar to the more widely known Italian Parma ham and is better value - shops sell whole legs of it if you want to buy in bulk. Chorizo (spicy sausage) and Turron (a kind of nougat) are amongst popular regional foods that travel well and are available in Madrid.
The Spanish are also a well-dressed nation - although not as famously so as the Italians - and quality Spanish designer gear can be found along the Calle Almirante. Prices can be high but fashions are bang up to date.
Leather goods are low-priced and good quality. Belts, handbags and shoes make good value and practical souvenirs. At Lepanto on the Plaza Ramales you can get great quality Spanish leatherware and accessories. Hit the voucher tag to get a full 10% discount on any purchases.
A piece of Spain's varied history makes a discerning souvenir for the choosy tourist and good quality artefacts can be found in abundance in Madrid. Regional antiques can be found in several shops along Ribera de Curtidores as well as at the Rastro weekly market.
You should be aware that practically everything in Spain closes for siesta for at least two hours during the hottest part of the day. In general shops will open from 09h30-13h30 and open again from 16h30-20h00, Mon-Sat. Large shopping centres tend to stay open all day, from 10h00-21h00. Sunday opening isn't widespread but is starting to occur with more frequency. Still, it is unwise to rely on Sunday opening even in Madrid.
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