Madrid is a shopper's paradise where cosmopolitan shops display genuinely Spanish traditional goods alongside the most innovative brands. You will find everything from antique dealers and auctions, prestigious jewelers and shoe shops to large department stores.
It is essential to spend at least a morning or a free afternoon shopping to round off your visit to Madrid. In fact, visitors can plan their shopping trip as part of a tour through the different shopping areas in the city, some of which are full of history like Madrid de los Asturias. Many establishments offer foreign visitors from outside the European Union a tax-free service, and in practically all shops you can pay with a credit card.
Top international designers (Cerruti, Chanel, Armani, Escada, Versace, Vuitton, Prada, Yves Saint Laurent...) and also the leading Spanish designers in the international fashion world - Adolfo Dominguez, Javier Larranizar, Loewe, Roberto Verino or Sybilla, amongst others - have their shops in and around Barrio de Salamanca. Most of these designers show every season their new models in the Pasarela Cibeles (Cibeles Catwalk).
In Madrid small shops exist alongside shopping centres, the latter specializing in fashion in which buyers find boutiques and shoe shops, accessories, perfume, jewellery, costume jewellery and gifts under one roof. Let's not forget the many good quality antique shops and art galleries. Those wishing to have everything 'to hand' can opt for a trip to the large department stores, like Corte Inglés.
The whole historic centre (where you will discover tourist attractions such as Plaza Mayor, Puerta del Sol, the Royal Palace and numerous old streets and squares full of local color) is packed with small, traditional shops, many of which still retain their 100-year-old decoration and in which you can find the most unusual and surprising items.
The old pharmacies, in which they still sell magnificent formulas, and sweet shops specializing in traditional confectionery alternate with shops selling religious objects and haberdasher's shops displaying multicolor shelves full of ribbons, buttons, lace, skeins, buckles and an array of useful items for sewing.
Silversmiths and jeweler shops claiming to have been suppliers to the royal household and the most ancient nobility open their doors next to establishments of knife and blade makers. There are also umbrella and walking stick makers, milliners and craftsmen offering traditional items like guitars and castanets, bullfighters' suits and flamenco dresses, fans and Spanish capes.
Wander around these streets, gaze at the shop windows, go in and ask and perhaps buy something unexpected; you could combine this with a stop-off in one of the many bars, taverns and old cafes which abound in Old Madrid.
El Rastro de Madrid or simply El Rastro is an outdoor market which is organized on Sundays and holidays in the historical center of Madrid. A dark legend also attributes the name to the blood left by those facing garrote vil, which were publicly executed in this place. The term also meant the suburbs, limit as far as the jurisdiction of the mayors of Court.
In Madrid and in Spain in general, the opening hours for shopping are between 09,30 and 13,30 h en the morning and from 17,00 to 20,00 in the afternoon during the weekdays. In summer months many shops decide to open for more hours and on Saturdays opening hours are restricted to the morning. Most establishments are closed on Sunday.
Establishments like El Corte Inglés, Carrefour and some supermarkets will stay open all day, Saturday included, and are allowed to open on the first Sunday of every month.
Banks open around 08.30 h, but close for the day at 14.00 h. You should check the opening hours usually posted on the door of each bank.