Entertainments In Spain.

Spanish fashion is big worldwide these days, but even in globally renowned stores like Zara you find plenty of clothing lines that don't make it beyond the border. The best cities for shopping are Madrid and Barcelona, but all provincial capitals have a decent range of retail outlets. Prices have risen in recent years but are still cheaper than in much of northern Europe.

All towns have market halls where you can buy fresh produce direct from growers, and many have a rastro (flea market); Madrid's characterful Sunday one is particularly famous.

Catalonian textiles are internationally famous and there are mills throughout the region. Spanish leather goods are prized throughout the world, offering high-fashion originals at reasonable prices. Of note are the suede coats and jackets. In general, all leather goods, particularly those from Andalucía, combine excellent craftsmanship with high-quality design. Fine, handcrafted wooden furniture is one of the outstanding products; Valencia is especially important in this field, and has an annual international furniture fair. Alicante is an important centre for toy manufacturing. Shoe manufacturing is also of an especially high quality; the production centres are in Alicante and the Balearics.

Fine rugs and carpets are made in Cáceres, Granada and Murcia. The numerous excellent sherries, wines and spirits produced in Spain make good souvenirs to take home, as do bottles of Spain's excellent olive oil.

Shopping hours: Mon-Sat 1000-1400 and 1700-2000. Supermarkets and department stores tend to open 0930-2100/2200, and may open on Sundays in large cities.


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