Meat and cheese board — Photo courtesy of Jchapiewsky
Corte Ingles is spicing things up on the bottom floor. This seven-story department store is Barcelona's go-to place for everything from clothes to furniture, accessories, household items and specialty foods. The basement has always been home to a small and selective gourmet food section. Recently, it has undergone huge changes to sell not only take-home goods, but also fresh tapas and drinks inside the store.
If you're looking for cured meats and cheeses, authentic olive oils, Spanish wines from the prestigious Rioja region or delicious cava from Penedes, then Corte Ingles has an extensive selection for you. Their prices are competitive, and if you're a tourist, you can actually get 10% off all purchases. Just make sure to bring a passport or ID with you, and the staff will tell you how to benefit from the foreigner discount.
Corte Ingles — Photo courtesy of Corte Ingles
Even if you're not in the mood to gourmet food shop, the department store has pretty much anything you could be looking for, so it's worth browsing if you have time.
Its shoe floor is great, with a mix of men and women's attire. They also have a large children's section with plenty of toys, games and clothes.
If you feel like sampling various perfumes by high-end designers, the first floor showcases plenty of options, including Gucci, Dior and Dolce & Gabbana, amongst others. It also has hand bags and other accessories. You just have to be patient to browse through them all, since it's situated in quite a large space.
And if you've had enough of the department store, walk outside and people watch in Plaza Catalunya, which is directly across the road. Or check out the Apple Store or FNAC (all electronics), both of which are two minutes away from Corte Ingles.
If you're still up for shopping, Portal de L'Angel has tons of stores including high-street fashion such as H&M, Zara, Pull & Bear, Stradavarius and others. This is an outdoor walkway, with no cars and only shops. It's always packed, so if you want to beat the crowds go before 2 p.m., especially on weekends, when most people don't leave their houses until about 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. (Spanish time).
Some of the side streets around that area have great little coffee shops and tapas bars. Be sure to step off the beaten path into one of the alleyways if you want to have an authentic and unique Barcelona experience.