Zara, Mango, Camper, Loewe…Spanish brands seem to be taking over high streets all over Europe and beyond. There is a lot more to shopping in Madrid than these big names however. Hip boutiques are springing up all over the downtown area. But should you want a shop that just sells gloves, buckles, tassels, string, shawls or espadrilles, then Madrid is the city for you.
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Carrie Mitchell discovered the delights of shopping in Madrid in her guide - A girlie break in Madrid.
The mainstream and the traditional
The pedestrianised area between Puerta del Sol and the Gran Vía, formed by Calle Preciados and adjoining streets, is packed with mainstream clothes and shoe shops, and this is where the original branch of El Corte Inglés department store is situated.
The Austrias neighbourhood behind the Plaza Mayor has the densest concentration of traditional old shops with wooden frontages and painted glass signs, but these are sadly disappearing fast. Take a photo if you see an old ironmonger’s with a window display of earthenware pots, as next time you’re in town it might well have gone!
Shoes and boutiques
For smart international boutiques such as Chanel, Gucci, Prada and Dolce&Gabbana, trawl the grid of streets in the Salamanca district, particularly Serrano, Goya, Ortega y Gasset, Lagasca and Jorge Juan.
Chueca has a concentration of outlet shoe shops on and around Calle Augusto Figueroa, while some of Spain’s most interesting designers have shops in the neighbouring Salesas area - look around Almirante, Conde de Xiquena, Piamonte, Barquillo and Barbara de Braganza streets.
There has been an absolute explosion of boutiques opening along Calle Fuencarral and adjoining streets, and the nearby areas of Malasaña and Triball are fast turning into new shopping hubs, particularly for one-off designs and vintage clothes.
My guides highlight some of the most interesting shops in each area, but you will no doubt find your own favourites as you mooch around.
While larger stores and boutiques stay open all day, usually from 9.30am-8.30pm, small shops close from 2pm-5pm. Shops on Calle Preciados and around the Puerta del Sol are open every Sunday, while in other areas they usually open on the first Sunday of every month.
Where to shop
See my other guides to shopping in Madrid: