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Visiting Spain: Here’s where you can shop in Madrid

spain tourism, shopping in madrid, Loewe , Spanish leather goods, Purificacion Garcia, Nicol's, Carolina Herrera, Lepanto, El Corte Ingles, Las Rozas Village

By Tania Banerjee

Centrally located in the Iberian peninsula, Madrid is the capital of Spain and the second largest city of the European Union. Inhabited since prehistoric times but properly consolidated only in the medieval times during the rule of the Moors, Madrid has come a long way. The city spread across 604.3 square kilometres and populated with 65.5 lakh citizens is now attracting the Indian diaspora like never before. According to a survey, 2,06,463 Indian tourists visited Spain in 2018. Indians were the second largest tourist demographic in Spain, behind the Chinese.

With shops open all days of the week including Sundays and public holidays, shopping seems to be a favourite activity among the Indian tourists in Madrid. Being home to several designers and fashionistas, it is not surprising that Madrid is nowadays attracting shoppers from the subcontinent. Indians being wise buyers take advantage of the VAT reimbursements in Spain, which is higher than France, Germany and Italy, effectively making the products less expensive.

Here is a handy list of stops while on a shopping spree in Madrid:

Loewe – The Spanish leather goods brand that has thrived for 168 years catering to those who care about art, craft and design, has its flagship store at Serrano Street in Madrid. Built in a way to mimic an art collector's apartment, the store itself is a piece of artistry complete with oakwood benches and precious stones- laden ceiling. Traditionally known as a classy brand, Loewe was always popular among art enthusiasts, but since 2013, Jonathan Anderson, the artistic director, has revolutionized the brand to make it even more appealing and trendy among the young generations too. Loewe's clothing collection for men and women, and bags designed out of local leather sourced from the north and east of Spain, are the Holy Grail that the fashion freaks seek.

Purificacion Garcia - Purificacion Garcia brings out the beauty in subtlety through its clothing collections for men and women and accessories collections-mostly comprising of jewelries and bags. A store barely 100 metres
away from Loewe, it is one of the many stores that the brand runs across Madrid. Named after the designer of the brand, Purificacion Garcia focuses on versatile designs, neutral colours and use of quality fabrics. Born in Galicia of Spain, Garcia has expanded her label all across Europe, Latin America and Middle-east. The brand is a hit with Spanish celebrities-TV actors, politicians and footballers in particular.

Nicol's - Nicol's is the ultimate brand in the luxury jewellery shopping world. This award winning Spanish family business has been running for three generations. Their first flagship store in Serrano Street is bedecked with exhibits
of precious stones and jewellery samples which reflect their excellent craftsmanship. Nicol's is a brand who is always willing to "listen to the customer". They personalize designs according to the taste of the client, never duplicating
previously produced pieces. Their clientele include Spanish, Mexicans, Russians, Venezuelans and Chinese. Royals from beyond the border of Spain often come to Nicol's to seek exclusive jewellery pieces. They regularly collaborate with Swiss watch brands for gemstone embedding.

Carolina Herrera - End your Serrano Street shopping spree with a stop at Carolina Herrera's largest store in Madrid. The tastefully decorated outlet built to imitate the living room of a house, complete with a television set, has a vast ready-to-wear collection for both women and men along with elaborate lifestyle products and of course Carolina Herrera's signature fragrances. Though Carolina's journey started in her native country Venezuela as early as 1980, her first flagship store was launched in New York in the year 2000. The brand, named after her was
helmed by her till 2018, after which Wes Gordon was appointed as the creative director. While in here, pick up something in red, the colour of the house.

Lepanto - Conveniently located in the historical heart and the tourist nerve- centre of Madrid, near Royal Palace, Lepanto, sells both its own brands and other international brands, specialized in manufacturing Spanish leather items since more than 40 years. If you are lucky, you may even catch an artisan at work! Apart from handbags, wallets, shoes and belts, the elegant storehouses apparel, luggage, accessories and porcelain items. Pocket-friendly prices enable customers to buy in bulk. A perfect store for tourists to pick up high-quality souvenirs for their loved ones.

El Corte Ingles - Visit Spain's only remaining departmental store chain El Corte Ingles to get access to all the popular lifestyle brands, particularly the Spanish ones, under one roof. Loewe, Gucci, Ralph Lauren, Masimmo Dutti, Armani, Desi Gual and almost all the noteworthy brands operational in Spain have outlets here. El Corte Ingles is also a gastronomy enthusiast's delight with a dedicated gourmet area offering immersive Spanish culinary experiences and showcasing famous gourmet brands. It also offers outstanding services to international visitors like in-store tax refund facilities, international shipping service, assistance by personal shoppers who can speak the visitor's language and VIP rooms complete with champagne for tired customers seeking some indulgences.

Las Rozas Village- 20 kilometres north-west of Madrid, Las Rozas Village is a cluster of high-end designer boutiques set in a culturally rich setup in the scenic Sierra de Guaddaramma. Armani, Prado, Rado, Loewe, Levi's, Bvlgari, Swarovski and more than 100 brands sell from Las Rozas Village. They provide extraordinary services like private car with chauffers to pick shoppers up from the airport or any of the hotels in Madrid city centre. Las Rozas village also offers attractive discounts to woo consumers. This is a perfect shop stop for tourists who want a luxury shopping experience with a local flavor.

Las Rozas The Style Outlets - The Style Outlets is one of the leading outlet brand in Spain. Out of its three centres near Madrid, near the Las Rozas Village, is the first one sheltering 42 leading Spanish and premium international brands. The Style Outlets attracts tourists by providing luggage storage services, tourist information points, addition 15% discount, charging stations and many more. Collections arrive here, 3-4 months after they launch in independent brand stores but the discounts can run as high as up to 30% compared to independent brand stores. Las Rozas The Style Outlets have 100% store occupancy with 40% of them being fashion brands and the rest lifestyle. No wonder that on holidays visitor count in Las Rozas The Style Outlets reaches 12,000-14,000.

(The author is a well-known travel writer. Views expressed are personal.)