Bargain for the finest local crafts or get bedazzled by luxury boutiques. Browse for decor souvenirs and support the local economy. The world’s your oyster when it comes to shopping.
Shopping forms a vital part of a holiday. One way to enjoy a glimpse into local life is by taking a walk in the labyrinth of streets decked in colourful ware. Locally produced artifacts depict traditional craftsmanship of the region. These are not only perfect adornment to recall the fun moments of a trip but also make for thoughtful gifts. While some choose to pick a few souvenirs in between sightseeing breaks, some ensure through planning to acquire a piece of local craft.
If you belong in the latter category, make sure to bookmark the avenues you wish to visit. If you are looking for a good bargain, look for flea markets. Be an early bird to have enough time to explore at leisure and pick the best goodies at a good value. Lastly, ensure that your items are packed properly especially if you are shopping for fragile goods. The artisans selling their ware at the flea markets may not have a credit card machine so make sure to carry sufficient cash. If you intend to get your currency exchanged at the market itself, make sure you do your research with regard to the exchange rate and locate the kiosks that offer currencies well in advance.
A WHIFF OF CULTURE AND CRAFT
Morocco is a fascinating and exotic destination with many different reasons to visit. With a rich and ancient artisan tradition, Morocco attracts the likes of those seeking fine craft. Most products are hand-made with locally procured material incorporating traditional techniques. Moroccan leather, argan oil, intricately carved lanterns, colourful rugs and carpets dominated with Aztec patterns and pottery are some of the things that Morocco is known for. Tea, and more specifically mint tea, is a big deal in Morocco.
Apart from that colourful, handmade bread baskets that originated from the Sahara, are another abundant find. Morocco is home to forests of Thuya Trees, a type of cypress and a fragrant and precious wood, especially around Essaouira.
Moroccans artisans craft an endless range of furniture and objects such as boxes. However, the best finds are those sporting the fine art of marquetry (an inlay made using small pieces of coloured wood). Moving to the titles, the dark-blue Fes embroidery (a rich needlework technique native to Morocco) featured on table and bed linen, and velvet, gold and silver lamé silk Kaftans are extremely eye-pleasing. Whether you are going up north to Tangier, central to Casablanca or south to Marrakesh, you will have the opportunity to take in the stunning views, and learn more about the lives of the locals and their traditional goodies.
SWISS WATCHES AND JEWELLERY
Region: Zurich, Switzerland
Zurich’s Old Town effortlessly binds together the young establishments with the well-established enterprises close together. Start with the Bahnhofstrasse, between the main station and Lake Zurich that offers an eclectic mix of stores running parallel on either side of the tram tracks. The tram offers great access to the shopping district and offers unique vintage vibe to the area, making it fun to explore. Of course, Bahnhofstrasse also includes its various by lanes that are equally attractive such as Schweizergasse, Rennweg and Augustinergasse. In Gassen, another avenue in the neighbourhood, further ups the vibe of the area with top designer boutiques. Neastled nearby, the exclusive district around Gassen Storchengasse, in the heart of the old town, is a haven for luxury seekers; it has the finest offerings in terms of fashion, jewelry and accessories.
A TREAT WITH LUXURY
Region: Paris, France
Paris is known as the fashion capital of the world for a reason. Parisians tend to make impeccable fashion look like a walk in the park on an everyday basis, even at modest budgets.
After museums and monuments, shopping alone attracts millions of visitors here every year. While the city is studded with fabulous boutiques and stores, these seven ultra-popular shopping districts in Paris are gold mines for discount-hunters, designer divas, window shoppers, and fashion victims alike. Paris is a paradise for all those who love designer brands as it offers numerous options of high-end stores throughout the city. The area around Avenue Montaigne, Avenue George V, Rue Francois 1er, 8th Arrondissement, the impressive arcades of the historic Palais-Royal is where you can come across the finest haute couture shops. However, one of the most sought after fashion destinations in the world is Avenue des Champs-Élysées. T
he highlight of the shopping expedition is the flagship Louis Vuitton that changes its display on the store window daily. Besides, you can also shop for some relatively affordable French labels such as Sinéquanone, Camaïeu, Jules and Etam, at the Boulevard Saint Michel. Make sure to check out the elegant boutiques lining the arcades (covered galleries) of the Palais Royal: from luxury perfumers to upscale vintage shops, jewellery, and art…if not shopping, Palais Royal’s chic nooks are perfect for a dose of real old-world chic. Located on the Boulevard Haussmann in the 9th arrondissement, the 70,000-sq-mlarge theatre of fashion, Galeries Lafayette offers 10 floors of designer apparel, accessories, shoes and perfumes. With over 35,000 brands all under one roof, you will be spoilt for choice. Trendy pop-up stores sprinkled across Rue Saint-Honoré, Avenue Montaigne, Boulevard Haussmann and Rue de Rivoli
A COMBINATION OF STREET SIDE AND HIGH END
Region: Barcelona, Spain
Las Ramblas (The Ramblas), 1.2 km long tree-lined stretch, is a a vibrant and lively promenade. This central most boulevard cuts through the heart of the city centre. Cultural centres and theatres line up on either side of the famed street, with a central alley reserved for souvenir hawkers, pavement artists, mimes, live statues. The intricate facades along with some of Antonio Gaudi’s most famous master pieces make Las Ramblas stand out on the tourist map. Las Ramblas is perfect for shopping, grabbing a bite or just soaking up the vibe. Make sure to visit the Boqueria Market, where you are bestowed with the exotic sight of fresh fruits, sea food, cured meats, tapas, chocolates, paellas, chocolates, and other goodies are popular with those with a keen eye.
COLLECT UNIQUE MEMORABILIA
Region: Berlin, Germany
Avisit to Berlin is incomplete without walking through its weekend markets, followed by a hearty brunch. Berlin’s vivid market scape comprises vintage and flea markets throughout its rich historic canvas. Spending a weekend in Berlin rummaging for a bargain at one of the many flea markets is a beloved local tradition. If you are in Berlin and looking for bargains, the flea market at Mauerpark is a must-visit.
It is renowned for its electric vibe, and offers vintage, second-hand clothing, trinkets and delicious street food. Head over to the market at Bode-Museum that’s stuffed with book and antique dealers. With kiosks setup along the River Spree every weekend, the market sports a backdrop of the iconic museum. Visitors can shop for cheap modern antiques, real rarities and a huge selection of books, art and small furniture. Flea market at Rathaus Schöneberg, Boxhagener Platz, Bode Museum Market are some other popular markets in Berlin.