Speciality Shops, Barcelona
I've still to find someone who does not like these shops. Well, only in case you hate chocolate... but even someone who does not like chocolate, may buy here some presents for their choco-holic friends or family ;)
What to buy: .
They have from the basic (but amazing) chocolate tablets, to the most sophisticated flavored ones, organized in “collections”. My favorite: the #3 “Cocoas and spices of America”. They use only authentic cocoa, without preservatives nor additives, so the quality is excellent.
You can taste some of the products on sale before buying, as they have a small bar area inside the shop. During winter, you can have a warm rest sampling their sinful hot chocolates. During summer, they have milkshakes and ice-creams. As well, they have a selection of sweet wines, liquors and cavas which better combines with chocolate, and anything else related with chocolate you may dream of! And a few non-chocolate related items/goods too.
This shop was just a treat to walk into. I found the assorted false teeth fascinating, my cohort wanted to buy clown shoes but they didn't have them in her size. Masks, puppet heads, and marionettes for the toy collector, this is a must see!!!! Crayon colored boxed with all kinds of cool stuff packed up to the 15 foot ceilings. AND no one speaks English!!! You'll love it.
Check all of my photos for some of the stuff on the shelves.
What to buy: I'd go for one of their handcrafted puppet heads--but then I like that kind of stuff.
What to pay: Average.
How do I describe Fantastik? You simply have to go see for yourself. If you are at all tickled by interesting trinkets, useless gadgets, toys from around the world, cheap, colorful goodies, or anything pleasant, stop into this store! You will find a stunning mix of useful and useless, expensive and dirt cheap, colorful and, well, colorful. They have rear-view mirrors and bird-shaped horns for your bike from asia, match boxes adorned with rhinestones from India, woven technicolor plastic flootmats and lanterns and chests made from soda cans from Africa, luchadora masks from Mexico, great posters, t-shirts, and furniture up the crazy metal staircase, and anything else you never knew you needed but had to have. It's a great place to get a really memorable souvenir on any budget, and most of the fun is just meandering through the crowded little store. Look for the robot sign hanging outside, and you've found Fantastik!
What to pay: Huge price range, from 50 centimos to 220 euros.
This was one of my favorite stops in Barcelona, and its a great place to come if you find yourself in the area of El Borne. Look for the purple awning on the left side of Passeig Del Borne and you've found Tot Formatge. Go inside and view the startling array of delicious cheeses they have for sale-and nothing else. It's all cheese, and it's all good. They usually have load of samples out in baskets or on cutting boards, and they don't mind if you try them all. The goat cheese they keep near the counter in small rounds is my favorite, but they have any kind that you would ever want. It's a great place for a snack that's fun to buy and great to eat. After you get your cheese, hunt for a little paneria, or stop by La Boqueria to pick up a loaf of bread and enjoy a nice afternoon snack. Another secret about bread: for great baguettes for 30 centimos, head to the nearest Condis supermarket. They usually bake their cread right in the store and I found it to be the absolute best of its kind.
What to buy: Goat cheese, or any kind of cheese you like.
What to pay: Between 2 and 10 dollars, depending on your taste.
If you want to buy specialized books you can go to the center of the city, where some big book shops are located. In particular, Catalonia bookstore is a good place to choose (in front of Corte Ingles). By the way, El Corte Ingles is not a very recommended place to buy, it's very expensive.
You can try in another famous and big bookstore: "Abacus" located at Ausias March street.
I love shopping the local offerings for paper, pens, cards, journals and anything else you can use for the written word. Papirvm is located just northeast of Placa Jeume, one block north of Carrer Jeume near the Gran Barcino hotel. It's a corner shop that could 'possibly' have three customers inside...but only if they were good friends. An excellent selection of everything you'd need to jot down your thoughts, a fantastic array of ideas for gifts, but most importantly, an excellent staff. If you are tempted by writing either stay away, or dive in with both feet and enjoy the scene.
What to buy: Pens, leather pen holders, paper, cards, stationary....
What to pay: Two of us dropped about 100 euro in twenty minutes...but it's all worth it....
My mother begged me to bring her some saffron home with us, as it is so much cheaper in spain. We found a little spice shop in Placa Reial, down some stairs, that was really good, and sold all sorts of spices, as well as having a little coffee shop too, and it was nice and cheap. The people didn't speak too good English, but we asked for what we wanted, and we were shown the way with little fuss,and managed to buy exactly the quantity we wanted for a good price.
What to pay: We paid abut €6 for 2 grams-which was a really good price. They sell more at discounted prices.
So, we're walking around the Barri Gotic admiring the atmospheric streets and buildings and we spot an English newspaper cutting (The Times no less) in the window of one of the small shops. We stop and read. It turns out to be a piece about a lady, Katherine McLaughlin, who left Inverness, Scotland several years ago to set up the only local country farmhouse cheese shop in Spain.
We pop in to the neat little shop that has a walk in cool area for the cheeses and are met by the smiling Scot herself. We end up having a lovely conversation about how she came to be producing local cheeses to not only, the locals and visiting tourists but to many of the leading restaraunts of Barcelona. We ended up taking some delicious cheese back to the UK with us.
If you are passing, pop in for at least a little look. Check out her small website before you go.
What to pay: Very good value.
I was tempted to include this in warning or dangers. I keep repeating this: Never go shooping with Venezuelan girls, especially if it's for shoes or bags.
Some how they always manage do drag me along.
This wide avenue that goes from Placa de Catalunya to Juan Carlos I Sq. is to BCN what Champs Elysees is to Paris.
Here you will find beautiful buildings and the more expensive international firms, from Cartier to Loewe...
Just around the corner of Mozart, you will end up at a very nice square, called Plaça Rius i Taulet.
This delicatesse shop has a lot of local specialities, the sausages, the cheeses.
It also had a mouth watering collection of dried ham.
We bought some of the ham for lunch and a saucage to take with us, in case we are getting withdrawal symptoms leaving such a nice city behind.
What to buy: Local stuff like cheese, ham, saucages in all shapes and colours, spicy and soft.
What to pay: Whatever I paid, it is always much cheaper then what I pay at home
I can't be the first to recommend this place - it's a great collection of LPs and CDs, specialising I guess in 50s and 60s music from around the world. But it also has a lot of contemporary stuff - and a whole back room of dance music. The lovely lady who works there sometimes DJs in the city too.
Not a shop but a part of the rambla, a pedestrian avenue in the heart of barcelona. In this portion of the ramble there are plenty of stalls selling birds especially, but also rabbits, mice, and every sort of little pets. It's locally known as "rambla dels ocells" and it's in the old town
What to buy: birds and small animals
What to pay: the average price
I'm from Belgium and I love chocolate but this shop really impressed me. They sell chocolate with creative combinations like green tea. Just go in and try !!!
What to buy: euh....
Condoneria is a shop that does only condoms, of all sizes and shapes, from the standard to the most unusual.