Barcelona Shopping Centres
Worshipping at the city’s temples to commerce
By Duncan Rhodes
We take a look at some of the city’s best shopping malls.
The shopping centre! That beautiful gleaming temple of commerce that gets shopaholics in a hot flush and provides countless ways for us to part with our cash and oil that most beautiful machine – the global economy (and God knows right now it could do with some oiling!). Whilst no visit to Barcelona is complete until you’ve checked out at least one or two of Gaudi’s finest buildings, and of course spend some leisurely hours kicking back at beach bar with a mojito, there are many tourists who come to Catalonia with just one thing on their mind – shopping!
One of Europe’s most stylish cities, if you want credibility in the Catalan capital you simply have to dress smart. Even at the beach super-chic shades, trendy trunks and tip-top flip flops are all a must. Within the winding streets of the Gothic Quarter and El Born district you’ll find plenty of hip boutiques, whilst the central boulevards of Passeig de Gracia and Portal de Angel are lined with every high street and luxury brand you can think of; however, bringing all of the top shops under one roof, are a number of fantastic shopping centres for you to run retail riot.
As with most modern shopping malls, Barcelona’s bunch function as much more than glorified fashion markets. Many are even architectural wonders in their own right, and here in Catalonia you can expect to shop in everything from futuristic coastal palaces to beautifully converted and restored bullrings and even entire purpose-built Spanish villages with hundreds of outlet stores. Most centers strive every bit as hard as their American counterparts to deliver a top class shopping experience, and entertainment and events, cinemas, museums, restaurants, bars, children’s playgrounds and much more can be found on site – meaning it’s easy to make a solid afternoon or even a day out of a spree.
Barcelona Shopping Centres
Find below a list of some of the best shoppings malls, centres and even shopping villages in the Barcelona region.
Much more than a mall, La Roca is located around 40km outside BCN and forms its own mini mock Catalan village, beautifully designed with motifs from Catalonia and of course Barcelona. Here over 100 boutique stores of your favourite brands, like Burberry, Diesel and Ralph Lauren, along with Spanish brands such as Desigual, Armand Basi and Antonio Miro, offer outlet shopping at up to 60% off. You can catch their special express bus from the city centre, which leaves several times a day, or else take a taxi or hire a car.
A perfect location at the foot of Las Ramblas, Maremagnum is a great choice for those who want to combine a leisurely mooch around the old harbour with a spot of cash-splashing. The glass facade is impressive, as our the views out over the ocean. Thirty five stores offer a decent variety of options, although a word of warning – Maremagnum’s bars and clubs are not worth returning to at night!
Occupying a beautiful Modernista bullring designed by Catalan architect Font i Carreras, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better looking shrine to shopping than Las Arenas. As well as 126 stores you’ll find a 12 screen cinema and the highly entertaining Rock Museum (as in rock’n’roll, not carbon’n’quartz!). Find overlooking Placa Espanya… a good one to combine with a trip to Montjuic mountain.
Speaking from experience, one thing that Barcelona Life particularly like about shopping centres over street stores is that the former never close for siesta. There’s nothing more frustrating that launching out into the afternoon with credit card in hand, only to find all the shops are closed! Take it from us!