Retail therapy: discover the best shopping cities in Europe
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Discover the best shopping cities in Europe for...

Discover the best shopping cities in Europe for yourself

Do you love a little bit of retail therapy? There’s nothing quite like the feeling of bagging yourself a few bargains. And, the only thing that’s better than a shopping spree at home is scouring the stores of a fashionable European city, whilst enjoying the perfect shopping holiday.

The best shopping cities in Europe are ideal destinations for a weekend away with your favourite shopping buddies, whether that’s your best friend, a family member, or even your partner. You can get your shopping fix, whilst also soaking up the culture, enjoying the local food and treating yourself to a few aperitifs after a long day of bargain hunting.

Does that sound like your idea of the perfect weekend away? We’ve put together a list of the very best shopping destinations in Europe to whet your appetite for the ultimate shopping trip.

For us, Madrid is one of the very best shopping cities in Europe, no matter what your budget

Shopping in Madrid

Spain’s capital is a fantastic shopping destination, with plenty of other attractions on offer. Book yourself into a city centre hotel and hit the streets. If you’re looking for all the big Spanish brands, then your best bet is Gran Via. If your tastes are more upmarket, then head for the Serrano district.

Las Rozas Village, just out of the city and accessible by both car and public transport, is where anyone looking for big brands at discount prices should head as it’s the best designer outlet in Madrid.

One of the best things about shopping in Spain in general is that shops normally stay open to at least 9.30 pm, meaning you’ve got plenty of extra time to indulge yourself. Just remember that a lot of smaller, independent shops will shut for a few hours over lunch.

Shopping in Barcelona

Barcelona has it all. Nightlife, culture, architecture, beautiful natural surroundings and, of course, an incredible selection of shops to suit all tastes and budgets.

One of the best places to go shopping in Barcelona if you’re on a budget is the street of Portal del Angel, where you’ll find the big high street names. If you’ve got slightly more expensive taste, then you’ll find the best shopping in Barcelona on the Passeig de Gràcia.

There’s also no shortage of shopping centres, if you’re looking to escape the heat in the summer. For us, the best shopping centre in Barcelona is Maremàgnum, partly due to the shops it contains, but mainly because of its spectacular location in the middle of the marina.

After you’ve finished shopping, head up to the spectacular panoramic platform, La Terraza, where you’ll find lots of different restaurants.

Barcelona is one of the best shopping cities in Europe. There's even a shopping centre with a view

Shopping in Rome

Italy is, of course, world-famous for its inimitable style. And Rome is a fantastic city to explore, mixing retail therapy with plenty of time spent in local bars, and marvelling at the rich history.

We find that the best places to go shopping in Rome are the long, cobbled streets lined with traditional stores, rather than shopping centres. There countless shopping streets, offering something for everyone, from high-end brands, to traditional leatherwork, to culinary treats, to popular high street names.

But when you’re done exploring the city centre, it is worth visiting the best outlet in Rome, Castel Romano, where you’ll find big discounts on designer brands.

More of the best shopping cities in Europe

Of course, we couldn’t write this list of the best shopping cities in Europe without mentioning what has been one of the style capitals of the world for centuries, Paris. You’ll find everything from the world’s most famous designer brands to stylish vintage stores which can be treasure troves.

If you can’t get enough of that Italian style, then Milan is one of the best cities to shop in Europe. To really soak up the atmosphere of this impossibly stylish Italian city, visit during their Fashion Week, held twice a year, in spring and autumn.

And, if we’re talking shopping, then we can’t leave London off the list. This is a city where absolutely anything goes, as far as fashion is concerned, so no matter what your style, you’ll find the perfect place for you.

Scour the rails of the big high street brands on Oxford Street, or head for somewhere a little different. Camden Market is a legendary hub for anyone with a slightly alternative style. It’s also fantastic for people watching.

If you're into alternative fashion, London is one of the best shopping cities in Europe

Some of the best shopping places in Europe are hidden gems

We’ve mentioned some of the best shopping cities in Europe here, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t vast amounts of other options out there. Lots of big German cities, for example, are brilliant for shopping. If you’re looking for the best of the best, and can afford to pay a premium for it, visit the cities of Switzerland.

Wherever you go on holiday, there are always going to be new things to discover. Make sure you don’t just get drawn in by the big brand names, but visit independent shops and vintage shops, and spend your money responsibly, contributing to the local economy.

Make a point of looking for things that are specific to the country you’re in, and that you’d never find at home.