Barcelona is a haven for stylish travelers, offering a wealth of fine clothes, shoes and leather goods. (This is the place to buy that designer leather jacket you've been dying for.) The Barri Gotic is packed with offbeat little shops and antique stores, while Eixample is home to chi-chi designer boutiques. Purchases in Spain are subject to an IVA (value-added tax), which non-E.U. citizens can get refunded. Just ask for a tax-free receipt when you make the purchase and show it -- along with your purchases -- at customs. (A minimum purchase applies.)
El Corte Ingles, Spain's largest department store chain, has multiple locations around Barcelona, including Placa de Catalunya. The store offers an immense variety and is a real Spanish experience.
Barcelona's big-name designer boutiques -- Chanel, Benetton, Armani -- are clustered along elegant Passeig de Gracia, which runs from Placa de Catalunya to Carrer Gran de Gracia. In addition to high fashion and designer merchandise, this avenue also has some lovely examples of Art Nouveau buildings.
More big-name stores, as well as independent boutiques, can be found along Avinguda Diagonal (make a left off of Passeig de Gracia when heading north).
Barceloneta was, at one time, a fishing village. This beachfront neighborhood, filled with narrow, brightly colored houses (and a pretty nice beach), faces the Mediterranean. Following the waterfront, continue on to Port Olimpic, which has shops, cafes and bars. Port Vell, just beyond, has restaurants and Maremagnum, a big fancy shopping mall, complete with movie theater.
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Where to Stay in Spain
Getting Around Spain: Transportation
Barcelona City Guide
Pedralbes: Barcelona's Best Kept Secret
Mediterranean Art: Following the Masters