Shop ‘til you drop on the streets of Europe

August 30, 2013 at 7:23 AM
The streets of Europe are a shopper’s paradise (Photo: Dimitry B.)

The streets of Europe are a shopper’s paradise (Photo: Dimitry B.)

Warning: If you are a recovering shopaholic, you should stop reading now. Reading this article may lead to a relapse.

From the bric-a-brac of Camden market to the ostentatious Haute Couture of Paris, the streets of Europe are a shopper’s paradise. Whether you’re attracted by the glitz and glamour of fashion houses like Armani, Versace and Dolce & Gabbana, or whether you enjoy wandering through the delightful chaos of street markets, Europe has it all. For all the shameless shopaholics, bargain hunters and discerning buyers out there, here is a list of some of Europe’s fabulous shopping streets.

Avenue Montaigne, Paris

Avenue Montaigne is as fabulous as the famous rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré (Photo: Sergio Calleja)

Avenue Montaigne is as fabulous as the famous rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré (Photo: Sergio Calleja)

Paris is the epicentre of sophistication and panache. If you’re a fashion snob who likes designer labels like Armani, Dior, Ralph Lauren, Versace and Dolce & Gabbana, then Avenue Montaigne in Paris is the place to be. It’s located in the 8th arrondisement of Paris and is in every way as fabulous as the famed rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré nearby. The avenue is lined with elegant old buildings and while it attracts those who can afford high fashion and jewellery, it’s also a great place to window shop if you can’t afford to splurge.  If you are more interested in antiques than designer labels, you can always head to Les Puces de Saint-Ouen, the largest flea market in Paris.

El Rastro, Plaza de Cascorro, Madrid

El Rastro is a popular open-air flea market in Madrid (Photo: Hans Dinkelberg)

El Rastro is a popular open-air flea market in Madrid (Photo: Hans Dinkelberg)

El Rastro is a popular open-air flea market that is held every Sunday along Plaza de Cascorro in Madrid. It’s a fantastic place to visit, whether you’re just sightseeing, looking for a bargain, or plan on sampling the gastronomic delights of Spain.  Over a thousand stalls sell everything from clothing and jewellery, to antiques, paintings, toys and souvenirs. There are also restaurants along the way where you can enjoy Madrid cuisine. You can find almost anything in El Rastro. To avoid the crowds that flock to the market for some haggling it’s best to come early when the market opens at 9am. Just be warned, it’s on an incline so bring comfortable shoes. If you still have a few thousand Euros burning a hole in your pocket when you’re done exploring the stalls of El Rastro, you can always head to Calle Serrano, one of the most expensive shopping streets in Europe.

Mariahilferstrasse, Vienna

Mariahilferstrasse in Vienna has an amazing variety of shops (Photo: Robert Arno)

Mariahilferstrasse in Vienna has an amazing variety of shops (Photo: Robert Arno)

If you’re looking for an elegant shopping street where you can find fashionable clothes and jewellery, as well as chocolate and souvenirs, then you should spend some time strolling down Mariahilferstrasse in Vienna. The sophisticated street has a pedestrian only zone, and an amazing variety of shops, many of which sell very reasonably priced goods. When you need a break you can stop at one of the restaurants or pavements along the street. Mariahilferstrasse also provides easy access to the museum quarter and parks.

Via Montenapoleone, Milan

Sophistication and style on the streets of Milan (Photo: slayer)

Sophistication and style on the streets of Milan (Photo: slayer)

Milan is a fashionista paradise and one of the premiere shopping destinations in the world. Think of all the fashion houses you know. They’re all there. All of the world’s top designers have shops in Milan. Via Montenapoleone is the most famous shopping street in the city, so if you can afford to splurge, then take a stroll down this exclusive shopping street. Amidst the high-end designer wear you may even find some prêt-à-porter. Via Montenapoleone is also within walking distance of Piazza del Duomo and the Milan Cathedral.

Portobello Road Market, London

It's not Bond Street, but Portobello Road has a charm of its own (Photo: Gary Knight)

It’s not Bond Street, but Portobello Road has a charm of its own (Photo: Gary Knight)

It’s no Bond Street or Sloane Street, but Portobello Road Market has a charm of its own. Fans of romantic comedy will know Portobello Road from the film Notting Hill, but the locals know it as a mecca of antiques, art galleries, crafts and cafés. Portobello Road stretches for 2 miles from Pembridge Road near Notting Hill Gate, to Golborne Road, so wear your comfy shoes. Bargain hunters can peruse the ceramics and silver spoons at the south end of the market, souvenir-seeking tourists can browse for trinkets, while fashionistas can shop at the upscale boutiques. If you’re staying in a self-catering holiday rental you can buy fresh produce further up Portobello Road, and at the northern end of the market you’ll find some fabulous vintage clothes and handcrafted accessories. The vibrant atmosphere and beautiful Victorian row houses make it a fabulous street for shopaholics.

Strøget, Copenhagen

you can’t visit the Danish capital without walking along the Strøget (Photo: Kenny Louie)

You can’t visit the Danish capital without walking along the Strøget (Photo: Kenny Louie)

Strøget is the longest pedestrian shopping street in the world and although it is home to luxury brands, you’ll also find some great affordable stores. No trip to the Danish capital would be complete without walking along the Strøget, even if you’re just doing window shopping. The street stretches from City Hall Square in the west to Kongens Nytorv in the east, although the term “the Strøget “ includes the narrow streets that lead off the main pedestrian street. When you’re not shopping you can stop for a drink at a street café and enjoy being entertained by street performers. The Strøget is also within walking distance of Tivoli Gardens, Amalienborg Palace and the Royal Danish Theatre.

Where are your favourite shopping streets?