One of the best parts of shopping in Madrid is that you can find millions of shops with a varied range of prices and styles. From the Swedish H&M to Chanel and, of course, Zara and Mango… but before going shopping, you may decide between going to a mall or to the city centre. Since malls arrived and colonised the outskirts of Madrid, the city centre was forgotten by lots of people that lived far from there. In fact, shopping centres are crowded on any given week day, especially Xanadú (in Arroyomolinos), very well known for being open 365 days a year. This centre competes with others also located in the south of Madrid: Tres Aguas (in Alcorcón), Loranca (in Fuenlabrada) and with those north of the capital like Plaza Norte (in San Sebastián de los Reyes). Having a ski slope is probably an advantage, although I recognise that in the beginning I thought it wasn´t a good idea… but there it is, making more and more money with lots of young people who don´t mind traveling across Madrid to slide down an indoor slope of artificial snow which, in my opinion, makes you feel like you’re in a cage.
Malls are not the only way Spaniards can shop
Apart from the aforementioned malls, in Madrid there are a few others which have cheaper prices. Las Rozas Village, for example, is a huge outlet with several brands that sell their clothes much cheaper. But if we leave the malls and go to the city centre, there are numerous hotspots for shopping. One of the most crowded and popular areas is Sol, surrounded by lots of little streets full of shops that only continue to grow in number. On one side we have Mayor Street, where there are souvenir shops for tourists; another street is Carretas and if we go to Callao, we find Preciados. It seems curious that in these three streets some shops tend to repeat: Zara, Mango, Bershka, Stradivarius… all of them under the giant Inditex. This happens again in Gran Vía. In fact, if we turn left from Callao, going to Plaza de España, we again find these kinds of shops and the shoe shop Camper, which is beloved by foreigners–especially the Japanese. If you continue walking, you will get to Argüelles, another important commercial neighbourhood.
Fuencarral is a combined Madrid adventure: 1 shop, 1 bar
If from Callao we turn right, and continue up the Gran Via, apart from shops, cinemas and coffee shops, we have la Casa del Libro, a book shop that directly competes with Fnac. And next to the Telefónica Building lies Fuencarral Street, one of the streets most frequented by “trendy” young people from Madrid. The best part about this street is that there are lots of shops (yes–Mango, Blanco, and other big names), but the others have a personal style which separates them from the big companies. In fact, shops of the popular Mercado de Fuencarral (Fuencarral´s Market) are famous for this very reason. And if you travel all the way to the nearby Malasaña neighbourhood, you will find some attractive stores that are well worth the walk.
Going up Fuencarral Street, we get to Bilbao, where we find more shops. Another area very close to Fuencarral is Chueca, where there are very smart and specialised shops: Xocoa, for chocolate lovers, or Salvador Bachiller outlet, which sells its suitcases, bags and wallets at prices which are cheaper than other vendors. If we move out of this business swarm, another interesting shopping place is Goya. But if you are looking for something more sophisticated you should go to Serrano, where you will find some more expensive goods. These are the likes of Carolina Herrera, Loewe, Yves Saint Laurent and many others. And for the classics, in almost every area of Madrid there is the legendary El Corte Inglés, with its typical brands in clothes, sports, and delicatessen. After you’ve exhausted the shops, you can head to a bar in Fuencarral. Spanish way of living: Tapas, vino and shops.
But if you prefer something really original, the place to be is el Rastro. Every Sunday in La Latina there are thousand of stalls spread throughout the streets of this nice neighbourhood, and you can find anything from antiques to vinyls to old books to jewels. If you stop to think about it, it´s impressive how many shops there are in Madrid, so if you are thinking of visiting the capital, prepare your wallet and, of course, take care not to lose it!