Shopping in Spain
Shopping in Spain is more enjoyable than ever, thanks to the wide variety on offer: leading Spanish and international brands and designers, alternative fashions, large shopping centres with leisure spaces for all the family, outlets, new markets, little shops selling traditional crafts… If you add the long opening hours to the formula (in the centre of some cities, such as Madrid, shops are open seven days a week all year round), a good shopping experience is guaranteed. You can find top quality items in fashion, jewellery, shoes, gifts…
Some of the most influential Spanish designers are Amaya Arzuaga, Custo Dalmau, Adolfo Domínguez, Jesús del Pozo, Roberto Verino, Purificación García, Ágatha Ruiz de la Prada, Manolo Blahnik, Ana Locking, Ángel Schlesser, David Delfín, Devota & Lomba, Duyos, Francis Montesinos, and Hannibal Laguna. During your stay in Spain, take the opportunity to visit some of its shops.
Spanish accessories are also famous for their high quality, with designers and brands like Camper, Loewe, and Mascaró.
Madrid and Barcelona: ideal shopping destinations
In the capital of Spain Madrid, there are different styles of shops in different areas: from the famous Golden Mile (the Salamanca district, especially Calle Serrano) with the most prestigious brands, to alternative and indie shops in Fuencarral and Hortaleza, the window displays of Gran Vía and Calle Preciados, or the famous Sunday morning street market, El Rastro, with over 400 years of history.
Barcelona has become a European hub of innovation and design, and this can clearly be seen on its streets and in its shops. The main retail area in Barcelona is known as the “Shopping Line”: with five kilometres of pedestrianised streets, it is the largest outdoor shopping area in Europe. Take the chance to see the elegant shops of Passeig de Gràcia, the century-old establishments of the Gothic quarter, or the indie designers in the Born district.
Other destinations in Spain also have all kinds of shops, and often sell products made by local artisans. In Andalusia, for example, ask about leather goods, ceramics and metalwork, or traditional Andalusian clothing.
Seasons of sales and discounts
Some seasons are specially recommended for shopping in Spain. One is Christmas time, when towns hold Christmas markets with stalls selling gifts and festive decorations.
The sales seasons might also be of interest to you. The winter sales usually run from 1 January to 28 February, while the summer sales are usually from 1 July to 31 August. Mid-season sales are also frequent throughout the year.
Another date to remember is Black Friday. This starts on the fourth Friday of November and usually lasts all weekend. Over these days, many shops and other establishments offer significant discounts and promotions.
Residents of countries outside the European Union can ask for the sales tax (VAT) on their purchases to be refunded when spending over 90.15 euros. To do so, ask for the Tax Free cheque in the shop or business.
The new DIVA electronic system speeds up the sealing of the documents required for tax refunds. If you choose this method, you just have to ask the shops offering this service to provide you with the DIVA web form, and validate it directly at the automatic terminals installed in many airports and in Spain’s main ports and land border customs.
At present the DIVA system is in use alongside manual stamping of invoices by a customs official. From 1 January 2019, the DIVA system will be the only procedure in use.
You also have the option of getting your VAT refund in advance, before stamping in the customs office on the last day, through Global Blue. This company has offices and information points ready to do this job in the following city centres: Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Girona, Tarragona, Lloret de Mar and Puerto Banús.
You can see all the requirements for getting VAT refunds in this Spanish Tax Agency leaflet.
More information on the DIVA electronic tax free system.
Consult the list of Spanish airports and ports offering the DIVA service.