While a great many city break tourists like to visit old castles, famous landmarks and iconic bridges during their travels, some others prefer to indulge themselves with a little retail therapy. In Europe, the city break holiday is particularly popular, with millions of people visiting the most loved destinations every year. If you happen to be on one of these holidays and you feel the need to shop, here are five locations you should be heading for.
Paseo de Gracia (Barcelona)
The second largest city in Spain and the capital of Catalonia, Barcelona has a reputation for being chic and sophisticated, and those who seek out the biggest names in fashion always go to the Paseo de Gracia. Home to the Gaudi-designed Casa Batlló and a number of other important buildings, the shops and restaurants are somewhat exclusive and as such are also relatively expensive.
There are a great many shopping areas in London, many of which specialise in particular items such as jewellery, clothing and books, but Knightsbridge is perfect for more general buyers. The most famous department store in the UK, Harrods, is to be found here, and for serious shoppers no visit to the capital of England should be complete without a visit to this wonderful emporium.
Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré (Paris)
Perhaps the most fashionable street in the most fashionable city of the world, the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré features many of the most impressive names in couture, as well as furnishings and accessories. Upon first sight, the road itself looks relatively ordinary, but a slow wander along the sidewalk will soon show you what it has to offer. It’s a little off the more traditional tourist beat, so it has an atmosphere of almost secretive pleasure.
Via Condotti (Rome)
If you like to shop in peace and quiet and without the bustling crowds, you should avoid Via Condotti at all costs. This street is located in the heart of Rome, and is home to flagship stores of designers from across Italy and beyond, and while you may love the shopping you might not enjoy the throngs of people. The road itself, which dates back to the days of the Roman Empire, is pedestrianized.
De Negen Straatjes (Amsterdam)
De Negen Straatjes (The Nine Streets) is a famously fashionable yet quirky district of Amsterdam. The usual array of designer stores can be found here, nestled closely and comfortably with boutiques, galleries and restaurants, and the atmosphere is pleasingly laid-back. If you have time, you could easily spend all day here, because there really is something for everyone to enjoy.
Paul Munro has shopped in many of the world’s best locations. He works for Compare Car Hire and lives in the UK.