Much like the country’s landscape, shopping in Spain is diverse. Each city has at least one mercado – an indoor market selling all sorts of goods, from cured ham and olive oil to flowers and preloved clothes. If you’re in Madrid or Barcelona, you’ll find upscale shopping streets lined with international brands, as well as El Corte Ingles, Spain's leading department store with branches across the country. When it comes to things to buy, artisan items unique to the location make popular souvenirs. Shop for sherry in Jerez, clay pottery in Malaga, and handcrafted ceramics in Seville. 

Shopping Advice and Etiquette

Generally, shops in Spain open at 10am and close at 8pm. Some also close for siestas from around 12pm to 3pm. Our advice? Go shopping at 10am or 5pm. But whenever you choose to go, you’ll find that Saturday mornings are the busiest because many shops don’t re-open on Saturday afternoons. And don’t expect to do much more than souvenir shopping on Sundays or bank holidays either, unless you are in Barcelona and Madrid where the opening laws have been relaxed to cater for tourists. Spanish retailers usually accept credit cards, but small shops and kiosks may only accept cash. In any case, we suggest you ask before making a purchase. So, what are some of the best things to hunt for when shopping in Spain? Let’s take a closer look.

Find Fabulous Food

Some of our favourite shops in Spain are its amazing independent food stores which are great for picking up treats. In Madrid, you’ll love visiting old-world delis such as Mantequerias Bravo and throughout Spain you’ll find the wonderful La Chinata, which is a mecca for great olive oils, preserves and savoury treats. Don’t get us started on the food markets either. Whether you are in a town or the capital, be sure to check out these centuries old spaces for food gifts, often with an architectural treat thrown in for good measure. Wondering what to buy? Spaniards adore jamón, a tasty, cured ham that is a staple of any tapas menu. Jamón ibérico is the country’s highest quality ham, made from black Iberian pigs that subsist mainly on a diet of acorns.

Shop for Stylish Ceramics

If you’re looking for ceramics, you’ll find shops all over the country. We always recommend picking up a few hand-painted tiles, which not only travel well but make great gifts. In Seville and much of southern Spain, you’ll be tripping over fantastic places. Talavera and El Puente del Arzobispo are part of the cultural heritage, but there’s loads more to discover. Shop for urban ceramics in Madrid, colourful mosaics in Barcelona, Picasso-inspired designs in Valencia and clay pottery in Malaga. In most towns and cities, you’ll be able to source items from the hands of great artists who produce unique pieces and decorate streets, buildings and houses. You can even watch the craftspeople work in their workshops.

Source Wine and Spirits

Blue Wine is one of the more unusual products to seek out when shopping in Spain. It’s made by combining red and white grapes with a natural, plant-based blue dye and sweeteners. You can pick it up in wine shops across the country or try a glass in selected restaurants. If you’re in the mood for something sweeter, Jerez (sherry), is the answer. And the southern town is the undisputed sherry capital of the world. Visitors can learn about the fortified wine, take a tour and, more importantly, enjoy a tasting. And for island-hoppers, one of the most popular tipples to take home is Menorcan Gin, which cannot be made anywhere else in the world.

Bag a Bota

Naturally, you’ll want something to decant that delicious drink into. A bota, or wineskin, is a traditional Spanish drinking vessel, usually used for wine but can hold any liquid. Drinking from it usually involves angling the bota so the liquid shoots straight into your mouth from a slight distance. This way, people can easily share the contents without putting their mouths on the same part of the wineskin. The bota is traditionally made from leather and lined with a goat’s bladder to stop it leaking, although modern bags are usually lined with plastic and fitted with a nozzle.

Find a Fabulous Fan

A handmade Spanish fan, or abanico, is one of the most beautiful gifts to take home – not to mention extremely practical in the heat. It’s common to see women of all ages carrying a fan in Spain’s cities, as it’s one of the cheapest, quickest and easiest ways to cool down. If you find yourself in Madrid, be sure to visit the astounding Museo del Traje to admire some of the greatest examples in Spain. Fan fans can also drop by Casa de Diego, the country’s oldest fan shop. In addition to serving up stunning abanicos, it's a treasure trove for other Spanish delights such as mantones de manila, castañuelas and peinetas.

Pick up a Pair of Espadrilles

Originally worn by the poor, the espadrille came to worldwide attention when Lauren Bacall sported a pair in the 1948 film Key Largo. They’ve been a summer staple ever since. While you may be able to pick up versions of this rope-soled shoe abroad, you can only purchase the genuine article in Spain. Casa Hernanz in Madrid has been making espadrilles since 1840 and is one of the longest-running manufacturers in the country. Another institution is La Manual Alpargatera - the first espadrilles shop in Barcelona. The El Born-based store is popular not only among locals but also with travellers, having served clients like Jack Nicholson, Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Juliane Moore. If you’re looking for impeccable sustainability credentials, try Diego’s. Its products are sewn by hand, manufactured solely with organic materials and only made in Spain. 

So, there you have it – our guide to the best shopping in Spain. Does anybody else feel a spending spree coming on?

Contact one of our Spain specialists