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Retail By City


city rank #15

City Overview

Barcelona is the second largest city of Spain with a population of 1.6 million persons. Owing to many populous commuter towns, its greater urban area is much larger and houses 4.5 million inhabitants. Barcelona is therefore the largest metropolis on the Mediterranean coast and the 6th most populous urban area in Europe after London, Paris, Madrid, Ruhr and Milan. The city is a major tourist destination; on the one hand due to its rich history, architectural heritage and location on the Mediterranean coast but also due to its important business infrastructure and facilities for Conferences and Trade Fairs.

The high street retail offer of Barcelona is among the strongest of Spain (together with Madrid) and is located in the heart of the city around Plaza Catalunya square, one of the main tourist areas in Barcelona. To the south of Plaza Catalunya, the mass market retail offer is located, with Portal de l’Àngel being the dominant street for this type of operator. Furthermore, Pelai and Portaferrissa are major retail streets and the long Ramblas avenue is gradually being turned into a prime mass market area, particularly the part close to Plaza Catalunya. The retail offer in this area of the city centre is partly situated in the gothic quarter, the old city of Barcelona, a likable and well maintained area with many buildings dating from medieval times.

To the north of Plaza Catalunya, Passeig de Gràcia provides a combination of luxury retail and mass market retail, well intertwined with several architectural tourist attractions of Gaudí. The parallel street Rambla Catalunya is furthermore increasingly important (many premium operators have settled here lately) and somewhat further away, the Avinguda Diagonal is also a strong high street retail area, reinforced by the improvement works of the pavement.

Despite its large population, the region of Catalonia only accounts for 9% of the total shopping centre GLA stock in Spain. This is due to the planning legislation of the region, which limits the granting of licences. In contrast to the rest of the region, the city of Barcelona and its surroundings do dispose of an important shopping centre offer, with 38 retail complexes accounting for 1.3 million sqm GLA within the province boundaries. It has a density of 233 sqm per 1,000 inhabitants, which is below the Spanish average of 333.  The best performing shopping centres are located within the municipality of Barcelona and include La Maquinista, Diagonal Mar, L’Illa, Maremagnum and Gloriès. Gran Vía 2 is also a prime shopping centre, located in the next-door commuter town of Hospitalet (south of Barcelona). Other good out of town complexes comprise Mataró Parc and Magic Badalona (to the north), Sant Cugat and Baricentro (to the west) and Splau and l’Ànec Blau (to the south). With the crisis left behind, several new shopping centre projects have been announced in the province of Barcelona; currently the only one under construction is the medium-sized shopping centre Finestrelles in Esplugues de Llobregat, which is set top open in the last quarter of the year.


Things to do



Go shopping on Passeig de Gràcia where high-street and exclusive fashion brands are located alongside buildings designed by Antoni Gaudi, a powerful high-end tourism and shopping link.


Visit Parc Guell for inspiring Gaudi architecture and fantastic panoramic views of the city as it stretches towards the Mediterranean Sea. Walk down Las Ramblas, from Plaza Cataluña to the Marina, to see a huge array of street performers, local crafts and painters.   

And be seen


In El Born, the Notting Hill of Barcelona, with its boutique shops and local tapas bars which serve fine Catalan and Spanish delicacies. Passeig del Born and restaurant La Tinaja on calle l’Esparteria are especially good. 


Go for one of the finest cocktails in the city at Boadas, just of Las Ramblas, where locals drink in a small, classically decorated bar served by immaculately dressed and knowledgeable mixologists. 

Be Merry

Razzmatazz and Apollo are the nightclubs in the city frequented by locals, while Port Olympic is the nightlife destination for tourists.  

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