If you are into shopping, there are literally hundreds of sites you can visit, and tons of activities you can participate in. Mostly during the fall and cold winter months, shopping becomes a favorite pastime for everyone here in Madrid – both locals and visitors. There are many reasons to study Spanish in Madrid, and shopping is definitely one of them.
Madrid has some of the most exciting shopping districts in the whole of Spain, ranging from local affordable brands to some exclusive international ones. Smart boutiques, local artisan shops, international chain stores, and exclusive brands – you can find them all in Madrid, especially in the popular shopping zones and malls here.
City Center, Madrid
The City Center is one of the busiest locations in Madrid, with a number of world-class malls perfect for all your shopping needs. It is home to a large number of small shops, offering almost every kind of products for every pocketbook, as well as wide and varied gastronomic offerings, capable of satisfying every palate. A good alternative is to combine visits to the main monuments and tourist attractions of the city with a day of shopping.
The ABC Serrano Shopping Center just went through a massive renovation. This mall has everything you might need, from pharmacy to dry cleaners, a gym, cinema and of course, plenty of famous brands for all your shopping plans.
Principe Pio is one of the most important malls in this area, located in a beautiful and renovated train station; it is not only a local favorite for shopping, but also for spending the day out. International brands such as Mango, Zara and Zara Home, Oysho, Massiomo Dutti, Pull & Bear, and others can be found here, as well as popular restaurants like Burger King, Vips, Wok, and of course McDonalds. This mall is a great place to see some familiar brands and eat a meal with your relatives.
Gran Via, Madrid
Gran Via is one of the most popular and busiest streets in Madrid, not just for shopping, but to spend hours of entertainment and fun. Every year more than 10 million visitors come to this street for shopping, food and nightlife. Most of the buildings here are about 100 years old, and this 1300 meter long street is truly an architect’s paradise.
From the Calle Alcala in the east, to the Plaza de España in the west, this busy street has dozens of big and small department stores, boutiques, bars and restaurants. Gran Via, for convenience’s sake, has been divided into 3 sections.
The first section, from the Calle Alcala to Red de San Luis (crossing with streets Hortaleza, Fuencarral and Montera), has beautiful buildings as well as traditional shops and artisan boutiques. You won’t find any modern buildings in this section, but you will find old-timer brands such as Loewe for leather goods, Sanz for jewelry and Grassy for high-end watches. The authorities in charge of maintenance work hard to keep this part of Gran Via as traditional and old-fashioned as possible, declining any offers of modern stores.
The middle section of Gran Via starts from the Red de San Luis and ends at Callao. This is actually the busiest section of the street where you can find movie theaters and the traditional shopping arcades perfect for family outings. The Telefonica Building is one of the oldest structures in this section; it was once the headquarters for Spanish Telecommunication. Nearby you’ll find shopping malls with brands like H&M, Stradivarius, Berskha and Cortefiel.
Affordable international brands like PRIMARK and the Real Madrid Official Store can also be found here. Another big attraction for this section is the Casa del Libro, which is one of the oldest bookstores in Spain, a dream come true for bibliophiles.
The third and final section of the Gran Via, from Callao to Plaza de España, is famous for its gift shops and souvenir stores. You can also find international brands such as Benetton, Lacoste and Carmina Shoemaker here to buy gifts for people back home. At the end of the Gran Via, the Plaza de Espana is a popular tourist spot, known especially for the famous Cervantes Monument.
For every tourist visiting Madrid, a trip to Gran Via is a must! Besides shopping, Gran Via also offers families, friends and solo travelers the opportunity to eat at the best restaurants, barhop around the trendiest watering holes or catch a newly released movie.
Luxury Shopping in Madrid – La Milla de Oro
La Milla de Oro, or the Golden Mile, is Madrid’s luxury shopping zone located in the Barrio de Salamanca, near the city center. In an area of less than a mile, some of the most expensive, exclusive and popular International outlets can be found – Louis Vuitton, Armani, Versace and Dolce & Gabanna to name a few. Not just élite clothiers, but jewelry brands such as Cartier, Bulgari, Tous and Tiffany can be found here. If not for actual high-class shopping, this zone is definitely worth a visit just to soak in the luxurious lifestyle Madrid has to offer.
Popular Shopping Malls in Madrid
Beside Gran Via and City Center, there are a number of modern and popular shopping malls all over Madrid, catering to both tourists and locals.
The Plenilunio is another mall in the City Center that has around 200 shops as well as a cinema. This is a more commercial market and caters to a different group of shoppers. If you ever need it, there is an Apple Store in the Centro Comercial Parquesur just on the outskirts of the city center. A special attraction of this mall is its beautiful center court fountain, which is a great resting and gathering place for shoppers.
Plaza Norte is a massive mall just outside the city center, also with a number of familiar brands and restaurants. This mall also has a state-of-the-art movie theater if you are in the mood to spend a few hours here.
La Vaguada is an iconic shopping mall in Madrid, the first modern mall in all of Spain. It opened in 1983 and was decorated by the popular painter and sculptor Cesar Manrique in a beautiful, natural setting amidst plenty of greenery. Besides fashion shops for women, men and children, many people spend hours browsing through hardware, pet products, beauty products and home décor. This iconic shopping mall also contains dental clinics, banks, a postal office, numerous movie theaters and plenty of restaurants. This hip shopping mall is still a popular gathering place for families and friends.
Isla Azul is a relatively smaller shopping mall compared to the others, but nevertheless a popular choice. International brands such as H&M, Adidas, Aki, Bedland, Bershka and Dealz have outlets here, as well as bowling alleys, law consultants, perfumeries, ice cream shops, jewelry shops and footwear.
The La Gavia shopping center promises “Everything for Everyone” and is usually true to their motto. This two-story mall has over 165 stores, catering to thousands of tourists and locals. Besides the stores, there is a multiplex cinema, massive food court and a bowling alley.
If you are looking for something exceptional, the Xanadú is an awesome destination containing an indoor ski slope! This is one of the largest and trendiest malls in Europe, and has over 250 outlets for both local and international brands. 7,000 cars can be parked inside the massive parking deck, and there are over 30 restaurants and cafes to cater to every palate. However, it is Madrid SnowZone – the indoor ski slope that attracts most visitors to this impressive mall.
El Corte Inglés – A Convenient Department Store
While not a particular favorite among tourists, El Corte Inglés also sells household items, groceries, deli food, electronics, baby products and drinks. It is the ultimate supermarket that is the ideal destination for anything around the house!
El Corte Inglés is not only the biggest department store in Spain, but in the whole of Europe as well, with several big stores across the country. Established in 1934, this brand is now the owner of several other businesses, including supermarkets, petrol stations, convenience stores, DIY chains, travel agencies and insurance companies.
El Corte Inglés has its flagship store at Calle Raimundo Fernandez Villaverde, and includes products from international brands like Gucci, Hermes, Ralph Lauren, Louis Vuitton, Bulguri, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein and many more. This is a great place not only for clothing shopping, but also for souvenirs and gifts for loved ones back home.
Other Shopping Options in Madrid
Another affordable place for smart shoppers is The Styles, which has outlets in both Las Rozas and San Sebastian de los Reyes. This store features products from more than 35 international brands and offers discounts from 30% to 70%. The perfect paradise for thrifty shoppers with a restricted budget!
When you are a picky dresser with a limited budget, the best places to head to are the outlets. The most popular is the Las Rozas Village, just half an hour from the City Center. More than a hundred international and local brands have outlets here, which give shoppers up to 60% discount on retail price. Brands such as Versace, Ralph Lauren, Hugo Boss, Lacoste, Burberry and Loewe offer great clothes at an affordable price for smart shoppers, all year around. When you get tired of the limitless shopping, great restaurants and cafes are always ready to cater to your foodie needs.
With such a variety of options available, it is no wonder shopping is one of the favorite activities in Madrid, for both visitors and locals. Madrid offers everyone a wide set of options when it comes to shopping; hundreds of international and artisan outlets have something for everyone. From souvenirs to top clothing brands, artistic boutiques, to modern, trendy stores – Madrid has everything a city needs to be an exciting place!