La Rambla is just a warm up to shopping in Barcelona

By Steven Wright

Tourists and locals flock to La Rambla for a lively shopping experience, from the Mirador de Colon to Plaça Catalunya, walk the tree lined boulevard and enjoy shops, street performers, street vendors or grab a large sangria on one of the patios and watch the people pass by. Day and night the area is very lively and there is always something to see.

Start at the Mirador de Colon or Columbus Monument, walk through the many artists who have set up booths to sell their jewelry, paintings and other tourist keep sakes. You can also sit to have a caricature or pencil sketch done. The pedestrian walkway then opens up to provide street vendor booths on either side of the walkway and stores line either side of the street. There is a wide variety of things to purchase from the vendors, everything from pet stores, garden stores, variety stores with souvenirs, fruit and vegetable stands and gelato stands, just to name a few.

In between the vendor booths are a number of elaborately costumed street performers. They draw crowds around them as they turn from statuesque to very animated when their cup is fed with Euros. There are many throughout the strip and you can feel anticipation in the crowds each time one starts their act. Pose for a picture to remember your experience. Be sure to keep your wallet in a safe place, or use a travel wallet, pickpockets can take advantage of your distraction.

Venture into Mercat de La Boqueria at La Rambla, 91. Its known as one of the best markets in the world. You can shop fresh fruit and vegetable stands, cheese shops, butchers, fish mongers and much more. Grab a table at one of the busy restaurants and socialize with the locals. Don’t forget to stop at the bakery on the way out, get some take away sweets or warm bread to snack on. You can save it for later, but it is better fresh!

There are 2 Spanish retailers that I love to visit on this strip: Desigual and Springfield. Both of these brands are prominent in Europe but less so in North America. There are Desigual stores all over Barcelona, but the mother store sits at the top of La Rambla, 136. The store is massive and has two levels filled with men’s, women’s and kid’s clothing, and there is a large discounted area at the back. The store is filled with brightly coloured prints and modern cut denim, boxes are overflowing with t-shirts and scarves and belts. You have to scour the entire store to find your treasure, but its worth the effort. I left with 2 hoodies, 3 shirts and some briefs – all at 1/2 price.

Right next store is Springfield, again there are other stores in Barcelona, but this one is the largest. There is women’s clothing on the main level and men’s is on the second level. Springfield has a great collection of basics; retro graphic t-shirts, coloured prints on shorts, amazing jackets, socks, underwear and pajamas. There is even a shoe store built in. I shop Springfield all over Europe.

Once you reach Plaça Catalunya, there are larger retailers around the perimeter of the square including many shoe retailers and one of my favorite department stores C&A. It’s worth a walk down Avinguda del Portal de l’Àngel to look at the street vendor booths. My sister left with 3 skirts from a local designer and all of her friends are jealous of her collection. Stop and grab a gelato before continuing on for the day.

Passeig de Gràcia‎ is where to find the luxury brands including Hugo Boss, Escada, Louis Vuitton, Chanel and more. Passeig de Gràcia‎ is also the location of 2 of the Gaudi greats; Casa Batlló and Casa Milà – “La Pedrera”, watch for them as you shop the street. Luxury shopping continues on Avinguda Diagonal.
Visit the El Born district and shop the winding streets and alleys between Carrer de la Princesa and Carrer de l’Argenteria. Here you will find quaint boutiques, hip trendy stores, and local designers. Kukuxumusu at Argenteria, 69 is one of my favorites. You can spend lots of time in this store admiring and giggling at their creative designs. It is a great place to get your unique Barcelona souvenirs.
The area becomes even more lively at night with many Tapas restaurants and bars with patios in the squares. This is a great place to do some early evening shopping before grabbing a sangria on the patio. Stay for some great Tapas at one of our favorite spots La Taverna del Born. The food is fast and fresh and the service is outstanding.
Note: You might have noticed I’ve mentioned gelato once or twice already, but gelato also makes a great dessert and can be an excellent refresher in the Spanish heat. There are hundreds of places offering this delicious treat, and I encourage you to try all the flavors to make sure you don’t miss a potential favourite.
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2 thoughts on “La Rambla is just a warm up to shopping in Barcelona

  1. Oh how I miss the gelato!! La Taverna is also my favourite restaurant from this trip. Be sure to order a few things for the table rather than yourself, the portions are big enough to feed a table if everyone orders one or two things.

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