The city of Catalonia is an enclave of originality. Shops are a hive of independent brands and designers, showcasing fresh fashion, original souvenirs and the true flavour of the city and country. The goods here are not just beautifully made and well thought out, many of the stores listed below also have an ethical compass, a conscience and commitment to supporting local or national brands, giving young creative opportunities, as well as sustainability, eco-design and ethical manufacturing.
Divided into El Raval, El Born, El Gótico and La Barceloneta, Barcelona’s Ciutat Vella (aka Old Town) is a spiral network of narrow streets that brings together local designers and boutiques. While visitors can easily spend their days getting lost and discovering themselves, we’ve compiled a list of 20 of the most unique shops in the city to help navigate your shopping trip.
ORíGENS Art and Design
Everything at Orígens is centered on its founding principles: the belief that ecology and eco-design are sustainable and responsible consumption. Each of the featured products that fill the shelves is crafted by local designers and artisans: basket makers, weavers, glass artists, blacksmiths, fur makers, wax makers, soap makers…. All these people make beautiful products in a way that protects and respects the environment.Orígens feels like a compact exhibition space that is also a shop; it explores modern and traditional arts and crafts and shows the possibilities of ecological design. The result: a modern shop with one-of-a-kind products that tell the story of their humble origins.
Karel del Carme, 39, 08001.
Independent concept stores are popping up all over Barcelona, giving high street shoppers the option to support local stores rather than established fashion retailers.The Trait Store opened in 2014 with a carefully selected range of shoes, accessories and clothing for men and women. On the Carrer del Parlament, which stretches from El Raval to Sant Antoni, both neighbourhoods are changing their reputations; Sant Antoni can now rival Barcelona’s ever-popular Barrio Gracia for the title of the city’s coolest neighbourhood.
At this urban concept store, fashion brands including Carhartt WIP and Hershel bags co-exist alongside lesser-known but equally cool backpacks from Sandqvist and local designers Pacifico and Two Thirds. For frequent high street shoppers, a visit to the Trait Store guarantees a stylish purchase and the chance to discover new brands to introduce to friends.
Carrer del Parlament, 28, 08015.
If you had a choice between the perfume section of a department store or a traditional independent perfume shop, which one would you choose?Les Topettes can easily rival any commercial cosmetics store. Inside this elegant perfume shop, you will find fresh, exotic fragrances packaged in beautifully branded bottles that are the perfect purchase for customers looking for the unique scent of Barcelona. The perfume collection also includes solid perfumes for travellers, soaps, moisturisers, beards, beauty oils…. Creativity isn’t just in bottles, the store also has a range of artist prints and decorative gifts available for purchase.
Joaquim Costa, 33, 08001.
Small and simple, Boogie’s garments are bold, effortless staples. The boutique favours indie label clothing in a variety of colours and prints, rather than the big brands found in many shops around Ciutat Vella. The entrance is modeled so that customers can experience the best looks in the store, which is dominated by women’s clothing but also has some men’s shirts and tops. The quirky style pieces and mid-range prices mean that Boogie is a contender for vintage shops and commercial retailers alike.
Pla?a del Bonsuccés, 2, 08001.
Since the vinyl revival, the fortunes of record stores have changed. Discos Paradiso, which opened at the beginning of the decade, is one of those stores that has benefited from the sudden popularity of records. Specializing in vinyl records and CDs, its music selection includes, but is definitely not limited to: techno, house, IDM, ambient, disco, funk, soul, hip-hop, indie, rock, folk, synth-pop… Etc. Selling both new and used material, you can be sure that there’s a record store for almost any music lover. More than just selling music, the space is also a venue for exhibitions and events, and the team behind the shop regularly organizes music events in the city.
Karel de Ferandina 39, 08001.
On Grey Street in El Raval’s bustling Joaquim Costa neighborhood, beautifully handcrafted gifts are on display, with jewellery particularly notable. Featuring fresh illustrations and designs, the store’s contemporary offerings are trendy pieces that could easily be mistaken for a new shop, but it has become well known in the neighborhood since opening in 2012. Keeping up with new craftsmanship and design, the unique selection of pieces are all reasonably priced, making Grey Street a great choice for gifts and personal purchases.
Address: carrer del Peu de la Creu, 25, 08001.
El Raval is one of the city’s most diverse and vibrant neighbourhoods, with a number of vintage Barcelona shops catering to the hipsters who occupy the surrounding space at CCCB and MACBA. One of the best varieties is Holala, whose Plaza branch is probably the largest vintage store in the city, located near the University of Barcelona and attracting a large student clientele. The spacious storefront means it’s a pleasure to shop here and forget about the clutter: it’s cleverly organised to ensure that customers find exactly what they’re looking for. Racks of velvet items, printed shirts, bags or denim are spread across two floors of men’s and women’s clothing, with fashions from almost every decade since the 1950s.
2 Castella Square, 08001.
Suara was born as an online store three years ago and has grown rapidly since then, moving into a fashionable location by the historic Born Cultural Center.Suara was founded in partnership with the Suara Foundation, which rehomes abandoned cats, with a portion of all profits going to the organization. Since the store’s focus is on helping cats and almost all of their merchandise has a cat print or image on it, a visit to Suara can satisfy a love of cats and fashion. Their brand also follows a number of other policies: they are against child and forced labor, sell only ethical clothing, all products are made from organic materials, production and transport tend to be environmentally friendly methods, and are committed to paying a living wage.
Address: carrer de la fusina, 6, 08003.
As the name suggests, the Studio Store combines two main purposes: it is both a storefront and a gallery space, showcasing the design work of new artists from around the world. Curated by architect Lafede, the store space promotes collaboration, culture and art. Stocked with furniture and fashion, the shop is ideal for those living in the area to purchase household items, and for visitors to the city looking for original souvenirs.
Carrer de Comer? 17, 08003
The Camino’s flagship store is located in three barrios of Ciutat Vella, based in El Born, and from there it grew to El Raval and El Gótico, and its fashion popularity led to the opening of its first store in Madrid, making it a place where you can be anywhere! An easy place to stay. The store’s goal is to support new designers, and the merchandise is often the result of a partnership with an urban design school. Other local brands use authentic and ethically sourced materials to create limited edition pieces for the Camino. All the clothes, accessories and footwear have a cool Mediterranean vibe and are made in Spain in a sustainable way, so where to shop for real Spanish fashion?
Carrer de la Princesa, 49 08003 Born.
Carrer de d’Elisabets, 13, 08001 Raval.
Carrer de Carabassa, 2, 08002 Gotico. 5.
The passion and love for design that started the D-lirio brand is still evident in their jewellery craftsmanship today. Founded almost 15 years ago, the brand has expanded to two stores in the city and covers the fashion market recognized by international publications. The small boutique showcases the brand’s bag collection as well as geometric necklaces, gem-set rings and bold earrings. These handmade accessories are truly worth their weight in gold and make a stylish addition to an outfit, day or night.
Carrer de Vidrieria, 4, 08003
A stroll down the two friendly streets of Born and Carrer dels Mirallers, both lined with independent boutiques that also serve as studios for designers. La Tercera, on the corner of Brosoli and Mirallers, stands out in particular, sharing the same style as many of the shops in the area, but also serving as the studio of in-house brand Name. Along with accessories and bag designer Lubochka, the two main brands’ stores are dedicated to local and sustainable fashion; the boutique’s founding principle is that controlling local production allows for responsible fashion. Other brands are based on this commitment, and the store also features exquisite jewellery, modern shoes and ceramic home accessories.
Carrer del Brosolí, 4 , 08003
It’s no surprise that the market for sunglasses, a necessity in this sunny city, is particularly competitive here. This gives customers a great choice when it comes to shopping for the ideal sunglasses.La Clinique is more than just a fashion brand, it also specializes in vintage designer eyewear with high quality original products dating back to the 1950s to the 1990s. The store also sells other quirky items: exclusive perfumes, quirky accessories and records that feature music to accompany the sunglasses that have been offered for decades. This unique shopping haven is a treasure trove of originality and unexpected discoveries.
Carrer de Mirallers, 7 08003.
Visit Papabubble and watch the artisans make sweets in the shop. The old-fashioned fa?ade is the perfect home for Papabubble, where the team is committed to traditional methods and the shop window decorations are a nostalgic tribute to the sweet shop of the past. Traditional artisanal techniques are used to create delicious handmade treats. The shop consists of a kitchen and a storefront, with the man behind the counter responsible for pouring, designing and shaping the exquisite confections for customers. The open kitchen and storefront exude a sweet aroma that often keeps customers from going home empty-handed.
28 Carlyle Ample, 08002.
FORMATGERIA LA SEU
The center’s Formatgeria La Seu brings flavors from all over the country to Barcelona; owner Katherine McLaughlin personally sources all unpasteurized cheeses from small, independent farms. Spain’s popular sweet and nutty Manchego is offered alongside the country’s lesser-known cheeses. It’s a choice that will dazzle any cheese lover. Catherine is a native of Scotland, so visitors can forget any language barrier when asking about the origin of the cheese they are potentially buying. Tasting platters can be arranged here, and the shop also sells the perfect side dish: absinthe. Absinthe. This combination is a very satisfying taste of Spain. Alternatively, you can head outside the shop to sister bar Zim to enjoy the cheese and wine selection.
Address: Carrer Daqueria 16, 08002
French elegance meets the energy and creativity of Barcelona in one of El Gótico’s most beautiful boutiques. Owner Marion Breton travels to France to select the finest handmade products to showcase and has established a designer boutique of jewellery and fashion accessories.Quirky, bold and original, Chez Paulette is worth a visit for souvenirs, personal gifts or simply to treat yourself.
Carrer De La Comtessa De Sobradiel 5, 08002.
Local Design Market
Discover the work of local artists along Carrer del Pi, in the heart of the commercial shopping district. The storefronts aren’t the most distinctive, so keep an eye out for banners to make sure you don’t miss the street’s opening hours. Located on the ground floor, the spacious shop showcases handmade designs: bags, phone cases and everyday items, as well as prints that capture Barcelona’s character and quirkiness. Each unique piece is the polar opposite of the streets of Born, making this the ideal place to buy personal, individual gifts.
Carlyle del Pi, 11, 08002.
For over 18 years, Wilde Vintage has been collecting unique sunglasses from auctions, shops, private collections and other undisclosed sources. These accessories are designed and handcrafted locally before they enter the store. This combination creates an extraordinary selection of eyewear. Wilde has two branches in the city, in El Born and El Raval, which are well worth a visit for a unique pair of sunglasses.
Carrer de Avinyó, 21, 08002 and Joaquim Costa, 2, 08003.
LA MANUAL ALPARGATERA
One of the last but definitely not to be missed brands on the list, La Manual Alpargatera makes affordable and authentic custom espadrilles, offering customers a traditional Spanish style shoe to take home with them. Once considered a cheap, discarded footwear, this espardenyeria makes eco footwear cool; creating classic espadrilles, both traditional and modern, at a reasonable price.Founded in 1943, La Manual Alpargatera is one of the oldest shops of its kind in the city, and its customer list includes Penelope -Penélope Cruz, Jack Nicholson, Jean-Paul Gaultier, and even Salvador Dalí.
Carrer de Avinyo, 7, 08002
Enter the busy Can Paixano, known locally as La Xampanyeria, and take the opportunity to enjoy the bubbly and wine, bocadillos and tapas offered by the bar. On the other side of the busy bar is a deli-style counter stocking a range of wines, cavas and local products to take away. Located in the heart of Barceloneta, the adjacent beach is the perfect place to relax and enjoy a bottle of bubbly.
Address: Carrer de la Reina Cristina, 7, 08003.