Shopping in Spain is fun and offers both small boutiques and a few large stores for your needs.
If you’ve never been out perusing the shopping scene in Spain, you’re in for a real treat! Shopping in Southern Spain is a totally different, much more delightful experience than shopping just about anywhere in the US. Here is some information on what you can expect.
For one thing, there aren’t many American-style shopping malls in southern Spain. Instead, in a way, shopping in Spain can be viewed as a journey of discovery. As you wander through a town, you’ll typically find a number of small boutique-type shops tucked away on the streets, lanes and alleys.
Shopping in Spain is also more laid-back and slow-paced than it is in many other countries. Many people shopping in American stores try to get in and out as quickly as possible. But many of the small stores and shops you’ll encounter in southern Spain are so quaint and charming that you’ll want to spend time there just looking around, even when they’re not selling the types of things you’re looking for!
Southern Spain’s shopkeepers and store clerks are known for
their friendly, helpful and attentive service.
If you speak Spanish fluently, it’s easy to strike up conversations with
the people working in Spanish shops - you might even make some new friends. But even if your understanding of the
language is rudimentary at best, you’ll be impressed by the friendliness and
helpful approach of southern Spain’s shopkeepers and store workers. They’ll be more than happy to go out of their
way to help you find the items you’re searching for – even if you’re forced to
communicate with hand signals.
In many cases, the goods being sold in these small Spanish shops are locally made. Sometimes the shops feature beautiful handmade items that have been created by the shop’s owner or his or her family members. For example, it’s not uncommon for a Spanish seamstress to open up her own shop and sell clothing she designs and makes herself.
Of course, shopping in southern Spain isn’t limited to small
street boutiques and other shops. You
will find a few shopping malls in the larger cities, although they’re different
from the malls in the US. And, travelers
who enjoy shopping in large department stores won’t feel left out due to the
presence of El Corte Inglés stores in many of southern Spain’s cities.
A visit to an El Corte Inglés store will remind American travelers of shopping at classic department stores like Macy’s or Bloomingdale’s, although this chain of stores adds a twist – in addition to carrying just about everything else a traveler might want, El Corte Inglés stores include a supermarket as well as a coffee shop, cafeteria and restaurant. You can even have your hair cut and styled or buy tickets to concerts, sports events and the theater. There’s also a handy Tourist Information Center in many of these stores.
The sheer scope of what’s offered at typical El Corte Inglés stores (not surprisingly, they’re actually referred to as “centres”) makes stopping at one of them a must-do for anyone traveling in southern Spain. You’ll find one of these great shopping opportunities in all of Spain’s decent-sized cities, including Algeciras, Alicante, Cádiz, Córdoba, Granada, Málaga, Marbella, Seville, Valencia, and many more. Some Spanish cities, such as Madrid and Seville, have more than one El Corte Inglés store. They’re amazing places and you’ll be able to find everything you need or want, including clothing, toiletries, books, music, electronic devices and food. Prices at an El Corte Inglés will be a little higher than at some of the smaller shops, but if one-stop shopping is important, the extra cost is probably worth it. Personally, it's one of my favorite places to go shopping in Spain.
Another option for shopping in Spain is the Carrefour stores, a big international hypermarket chain, that you'll find outside of the big cities. Equavalent to the Sam's Club stores they have in the USA, you'll be able to get anything you need here, including camping gear, food, anything... You'll see them along the highway as you're traveling through so it's just good to know that's available if you need.
In larger cities, like Madrid, you'll find fun fashion stores like Top Shop, and many brand name stores. The smaller cities, like Cadiz, will not have these options. Each town will have their own special on-the-touristy-side treats, like spainish jewelery or moorish style pottery. Keep an eye out for these unique gifts to take home.
So, you have several options for shopping in southern Spain. You can browse through some of Spain’s many charming boutique-style shops, you can find one of the country’s rare shopping malls, you can visit El Corte Inglés, or you can combine all three shopping styles into a Spanish shopping extravaganza you won’t forget long after you return home.
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