Preciados, Del Carmen and Arenal streets comprise one of the best spots for shopping in town. Fashion, books, music and many other things pack the shop windows in this buzzing pedestrian area.
The Preciados shopping district can get unbelievably busy, so much so that sometimes you can barely walk up and down the streets between Plaza de Callao and Puerta del Sol. The area starts in the heart of Madrid, specifically at Kilometre Zero, which marks the beginning of all the national radial roads. Preciados, Del Carmen and Arenal are all pedestrian streets inviting shoppers to wander leisurely, lingering at every shop window in this popular shopping district.
Running parallel from Puerta de Sol to Plaza de Callao, Calle Preciados and Calle del Carmen accommodate the outlets of big national and international fashion brands like Zara, Mango, H&M, Stradivarius, Springfield, Camper and Desigual, among many others. For clothes for men, women, kids and babies, accessories including eyewear, watches, jewellery or fashion jewellery, electronics and computers, home décor, food and everything you can imagine, don’t think twice: head for the large department store El Corte Inglés.
Entertainment, cultural and electronic products are what the international retail chain Fnac has on offer. They sell books, CDs and DVDs, and regularly hold album and book presentations. Imaginarium is a dedicated toy retailer, a must-stop for the little ones who’ll find more to buy in other specialty stores offering sweets, candy or costumes.
Leading to tourist attractions like the Teatro Real opera house and the Royal Palace, Calle Arenal has an array of fashion stores, electronics retailers like K-tuin and establishments specialising in musical instruments.
Hot chocolate and churros
In the middle of your shopping day out in these centrally located streets, you’ll need to grab a seat and regain energy. No problem. As you can imagine, there’s an assortment of coffee houses, ice-cream parlours and bars to choose from. Grab a slice of cake or a delicious bun (some of them typical of Madrid) along with a cup of coffee at the time-honoured La Mallorquina, or sweeten up your shopping spree at on of the many popular waffle houses in the area..
In Madrid, you can’t miss out on one of the best known – and decadent – sweet treats: chocolate and churros (fried-dough pastry forming loops) or porras (same recipe, but thicker and straight). Sample them at Chocolatería San Ginés, established in the late nineteenth century, opens 24/7 all year round.
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