Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Which Christmas Shops in Madrid to Skip and Hit


Last weekend, the city of Madrid transformed itself into a Spanish Christmas Wonderland. With decorations around every corner, flocks of people walking its sidewalks, and light illuminating each corner, you can feel the city come to life but also sense an overwhelming vibe. Going to Gran Via on a Saturday afternoon isn't for the faint of heart nor is it for most people foreign to Madrid so stick around know the places to go to (and avoid) while checking off everyone on your list!
Key Places to "Hit' Up: 
Corte Ingles on Callo/Goya
Federica and Co (moved to a new location!)
Christmas Market in Opera

Skip:
"Cortelandia" on Callao. Sure this cute little Christmas-y cottage makes you feel like your in Santa's workshop, but the overload of people running you over and the security guards eyeing your every move brings up your anxiety meter. Additionally, this place is just filled with Christmas decorations and nothing worthy to bring back home.
Hit:
El Corte Ingles Building on Callao (4th floor) and Goya (6th floor). If you're only looking for Christmas decorations, these are the places to hit up. The sell the same things as the overcrowded Christmas shop and your chances of getting trampled are slim to none. Plus, the Goya shop does have gourmet gift baskets and treats for the fancy foodies (like me....guilty) in your life.

Hit:
Federica and Co. Cute little boho-chic Christmas shop at the heart of the elegant Salamanca district, this place sells vintage clothing, gourmet local delicacies, and handcrafted decorations and stationary items.
Skip:
Christmas markets on Plaza Mayor. I'm sorry, but I think these markets are just a glorified dollar store during Christmas time. It's nice to go here once, order some delicious caramelized sunflower seeds, and continue your Christmas shopping elsewhere. Overcrowded and overestimated, if you're looking for traditional, handmade gifts from Spain, you won't find it here.


Hit
Turrones and Baked Christmas Goods in Mallorquina and Vicen's. These turrones are all artestenially made and have a great reputation. I recommend getting the almendra blando and yema tostada turron at Vicen's since they are the most traditional and best selling. At Mallorquina, the mazapans are super tasty and
Skip: Turron Almendra. Yes, they are classics- but they sell them at the "international holiday" section in HomeGoods back in the states. Better to get your family something they wouldn't get back home!

Hit:
Christmas Market in Opera. Next to the Opera metro, this temporary Christmas market will not disappoint for those looking for local cheese from Austurias, wine from La Rioja, and delicious Gallegan pastries and bread. Come here right before you go home so that they are fresh off the plane and just in time for your Christmas festivities.
Skip:
The mess that is Gran Via. Again, if you are going there for a stroll and appreciate the lights and decorations, it is by all means the perfect place. However, going there solely for Christmas shopping is a mistake if you don't enjoy large masses of people (aka Primark on a Sunday afternoon). Try out more low key areas like Goya in Salamanca or  Bilbao in Chamberi- granted, there will be lots of people but definitely not as much!

Hit
La Chinata and Bronze and Mora. If you want to bring home a good quality olive oil, these are the two places to go. The Chinata is a small chain business with stores throughout the center of Madrid that sell great quality olive oil (both for bread dipping, salads, and cooking) at an equally great price. They also sell other products related to olive oil including marmalade, pate, and olive oil-based bath products. Although Bronze and Mora only sells olive oil, I find this olive oil better than the most exclusive one at Chinata- so it's definitely worth the visit! 
Skip
Any tourist-trap souvenir shop selling "authentic Spanish oil." You know the ones I'm talking about!

Do you have any suggestions for Christmas time in Madrid? 



2 comments:

  1. Hi! Thanks for the great tips! Where is the new location for Federica & Co? All I can find online is what I believe to be the old location at Hermosillo 26. Thanks!

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  2. Great post for those who are planning to enjoy Christmas in madrid. One more thing to make your trip memorable don't forget to have a perfect passport pictures as it might effect your trip.

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