Where to shop?
Shopping areas in Barcelona are spread across the whole city and differ considerably. The world famous Las Ramblas start at Placa Catalunya and end at Barcelona's harbour. Enjoy the colourful atmosphere with numerous street performers, painters and cages with birds for sale. Even though known as a famous shopping street, Las Ramblas are only interesting if you are eager to buy tourist souvenirs of Barcelona or watch the artists; there are definitely more exciting areas to shop in the city.
To find famous brands like Chanel, Armani, Cartier, Miro, Mont Blanc or Zara, visit Placa Catalunya, Passeig de Gracia or Diagonal. All international labels can be found here.
Shopping alternatives to the big brands offer the narrow streets of El Born. Still not widely known as shopping area it is stimulating to stroll around the winding streets of the old town and discover small shops, new labels and innovative designers.
The Barri Gotic (Gothic Area) invites you to combine shopping and culture. The Roman centre of Barcelona accommodates numerous bizarre antique shops, small bookstores and young fashion designers.
Last but not least visit El Raval if you are looking for music stores, second hand shops, or alternative clothing. The international population of this district contributes to an interesting mixture of foreign supermarkets, people from different countries and international clothes shops.
Shops normally open at about 10:00 am and close around 8:30 pm, Monday-Saturday. Small shops still have a siesta in the afternoon from about 2:00 pm until 4:30 pm. All trades are allowed to open on 11 Sundays per year. Nevertheless most of the shops on Las Ramblas are opened throughout the week, seven days long.
Sales and taxes
There are two big sales in Barcelona. The winter sale starts during the second week of January and lasts until the end of February. The summer sale begins in the middle of July and lasts until the end of August. Discounts of 20%-50% are offered, at the end of each sale up to 70%!
There are different rates of sales taxes, for shops it is mostly 16 per cent, on selected items four or seven per cent. For restaurants and hotels the rate is seven per cent.
Barcelona offers a unique service: the Tomb bus, a bus that brings you directly to all interesting shopping areas. It departs every seven minutes at Placa Catalunya and goes up Diagonal to Placa Pius XII. The air-conditioned bus is very comfortable with armchairs, music, and magazines. Pay on board (1,25 Euro per ride) and jump off at any of the 28 stops!
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