A word of warning to the savvy shopper, if you are coming to Spain after visiting other counties in Europe, make sure you leave room in your backpack! Though the outstanding handcrafted wooden furniture of Valencia is not so easy to transport home, fortunately that’s not such a problem for the divine leather goods of Andalucia, the clever toys made in Alicante, the internationally-famous textiles of Catalonia and the delicious sherries, wines and spirits found throughout Spain! High quality items at fair prices are always appealing, so Intrepid’s Monica Alvarez gives us some tips on shopping in Spain…
“For many shoppers, Spain is paradise. Prices are generally much lower than in the rest of Europe and fashion is one of the main exports of the country, from cheap and chic Zara and Mango to trendy designers such as Loewe, Custo, Camper or Manolo Blahnik, plus you can shop under the sun year round. Actually during the warm months of summer, particularly in hot cities such as Seville, the shopping areas are sheltered to allow customers to wander around in the comfort of the shade.
The sales season seems to go on forever, from the beginning of January till the end of February and again at the end of summer from August until nearly October, when prices go from 20% to 60% off the already very affordable sales tag. That means bargains can be found 4 months out of 12 and it’s difficult not to find discounts when you are travelling.
Madrid is renowned as appealing to the more conservative fashion-conscious shoppers, while Barcelona is more edgy and trendy with Catalan designers offering good quality and exclusive items at very affordable prices.
A few shopping tips for Spain:
* Don’t forget siesta time!
Most shops open at 10am and close for siesta at 2pm, re-opening at 5pm until 8.30 or 9pm. Many shops open 10am-2pm on Saturdays and majority are closed on Sundays. This differs in Madrid and Barcelona, where shops in tourist areas are open all day and in coastal resorts you can often find shops open on Sundays.
* How to pay?
It is not normal to barter in shops. Most shops now take all major credit cards but Debit cards are rarely accepted. Traveller’s cheques are not usually accepted either.
* Size might not matter
Don’t be put off buying that cool top only because it says size XL on the label. The sizes in Spain are small compared to other countries, so it might not mean you’ve been eating far too much jamon and chorizo after all!”