Spain is a shopper's paradise, with high fashion and quirky crafts available in cities all over the country. Here are some top destinations in three cities that serious shoppers will love, courtesy of The Tourist Office of Spain.
Shopping neighborhoods: Home to the three-mile shopping line of 35,000 stores, Barcelona's shopping appeal is hard to beat. The largely-pedestrian shopping line stretches from La Rambla, through Plaça de Catalunya, and mixes traditional and modern shops. This fashion showcase runs through the city's most emblematic streets: The Ensanche area around Avenida Diagonal and Paseo de Gracia is home to the most prestigious boutiques, while avant-garde trends can be found in the Gótico and El Born areas.
Food markets: The Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, often simply referred to as La Boqueria, is a large indoor public food market in the Ciutat Vella district of the city. Dating back to 1217, La Boqueria offers everything from candied fruit to foie gras.
Street markets: In various parts of the city, such as the plaça Nova, the plaça del Pi or the plaça Real, visitors can find street markets almost every day of the week, selling unique objects, craft work, antiques, stamps, cinema posters, records, books and coins.
Shopping neighborhoods: The "Golden Mile", in the Salamanca district, Madrid's equivalent of New York Fifth Avenue, has the world's most prestigious fashion names, while Chueca, one of Madrid's trendiest and most progressive neighborhoods is filled with restaurants and cafés, electronic music stores, and boutiques of up-and-coming designers. (Tip: Don't miss "Mercado de Fuencarral.")
Food markets: Foodies cannot miss the Mercado de San Miguel and the Mercado de San Antón. Open day and night, San Miguel is the oldest indoor market in Madrid with 33 food stalls. Mercado de San Antón, located in the trendy neighborhood of Chueca, is good for daily shopping or special meals.
Street markets: The historic center around Puerta Del Sol and Plaza Mayor have many traditional shops and cafes, while El Rastro - Europe's largest open air market - that takes place on Sundays, offers a variety of antiques, books, and other rarities.
Shopping neighborhoods: The Colón area brings together famous designers, while the streets surrounding the City Hall and the Cathedral are filled with traditional shops that embody the flavor of Valencia. Near to the Cathedral and the Town Hall you can buy all kinds of silver objects, lace work, silk embroidery, panniers and wicker work, together with the many different varieties of the Manises ceramics, from blue on white to metallic highlights. For souvenirs, wines and ceramics check out Mercado Colón, an old modernist food market transformed into a modern shop gallery with trendy restaurants and cafes.
Food markets: For the freshest selection of seafood, meat, cheeses, spices, or produce, head to Mercado Central, a beautiful modernist building built in 1914 where you can walk around and pick up some food while experiencing the local culture. The market is full of stands run by local vendors and the foods are usually produced in the area.
Street markets: One of the most popular stamps and coins street markets is held every Sunday on the surroundings of the incomparable Lonja de la Seda, close to the Mercado Central. Near to the Mestalla soccer stadium, the Rastro is also held on Sundays, selling second-hand items and antiques.