It’s very easy to get overwhelmed with the many dazzling and tempting choices in the capital city of Spain. There are sprawling department stores, designer boutiques, local markets, specialty and family run shops – indeed, Madrid is a shopper’s paradise. Most stores are open typically from Monday to Saturday, from 10 am to 2 pm with a three-hour after-lunch siesta break and resume from 5 pm to 10 pm or even later. On Sundays, the smaller shops are closed but some of the large department stores are open for business. Credit cards are also widely accepted but it’s still a good idea to carry some cash especially when shopping in flea markets and in small stalls. Good buys and bargains can be had during the annual shopping sale seasons, especially summer and winter.
Here are some recommendations on where to head to for some serious retail therapy in Madrid:
El Corte Ingles: The biggest department store chain in Europe has its flagship store in Madrid, as well as several branches all over the city so that you will never miss an opportunity to shop in one. This retail giant has virtually everything for everyone – from groceries, auto parts, electronics, books, jewelry, furniture, designer clothes and even travel tickets and real estate. El Corte Ingles stores can be found at Calle Princesa, Serrano, Calle Arapiles, Calle Retama, Avenida de la Plaza de Toros, Avenida Andes, Goya and Calle Raimundo.
Centro Comercial La Vaguada: A three-storey shopping and commercial multiplex, visitors can shop, eat, watch a movie or even play a game of bowling in its entertainment center. It has over 350 outlets, including a store of El Corte Ingles.
El Rastro de Madrid: The most popular flea market in the city is held every Sunday and during public holidays from 9 am to 3 pm. It is situated along Plaza de Cascorro and Ribera de Curtidores just south of the La Latina metro station. Shoppers can find over 3500 stalls of different items such as rare and collectible books, movies, paintings, local crafts, accessories and clothing.
Salamanca: Where do the wealthy and the famous shop in Madrid? Definitely in the posh district of Salamanca, the address of many international designer labels and brands such as Gucci, Yves Saint-Laurent, Loewe, Prada, Galliano, Miu Miu as well as homegrown designers such as Agatha Ruiz de La Prada and Adolfo Dominguez. Busy shopping streets in the neighborhood are Calle Serrano, Calle Goya, Calle Claudio Goello and Calle Lagasca. Salamanca is also known for its art galleries and antique shops.
Centro (Gran Via/ Puerta del Sol): More shopping choices await visitors in this central part of Madrid. Leather products such as hand bags, shoes or wallets are some of the good offerings here. For art and antiques head out to Carrera de San Jeronimo and Calle del Prado; crafts and souvenir items can be found in shops along Calle Mayor and Plaza Mayor. Browse for more interesting shopping finds in Calle de Genova, Calle Preciados, Calle Argensola, Calle Almirante and Calle Orellana.
Other popular shopping haunts would be Chueca, Fuencarral, Arguelles amd Hortaleza.