Some like to explore historical architecture and others can spend an entire day people watching in crowded city squares. For many though, part of the excitement of discovering a new destination is getting to grips with the shopping on offer. With this in mind, we wanted give you our tips on the top five shopping destinations in the world. Shopaholics can thank us later, though your bank manager may not!
Vintage Treasures in Edinburgh
Established in 1840, W. Armstrong & Son is Edinburgh’s original vintage clothing emporium and a tardis of fashions from the 1930’s right through to the 90’s. Collections are handpicked but prices are incredibly reasonable, with each section divided into year for easy browsing of your chosen era. Armstrong’s have three locations across Edinburgh, including Clerk Street and Teviot Place, though the Grassmarket store is undoubtedly the largest.
On the hunt for something more high-fashion? Don’t let the tiny frontage of Those Were The Days put you off venturing inside, because it is here that you will find a carefully curated collection of high-end pieces from the likes of Chanel, Versace and Givenchy. Pieces are sourced internationally, ranging from the 1920’s to the 1990’s, and each item is cleaned and expertly restored before going on sale. Those Were The Days also specialise in vintage bridal wear and have an extensive collection plus specialists on hand to help you pick the perfect piece.
Belgian Chocolate Boutiques in Brussels
The city of Brussels is the chocolate capital of the world, with more chocolate factories than anywhere else in the world. With one chocolatier for every 2,000 people and an annual personal consumption of 15lb each year, there is little wonder that the city permanently smells of the sweet confection.
All avenues lead to temptation along the narrow streets that surround the Grand Place and there are chocolate shops at every turn. From traditional pralines to artisan blends, it is along these streets that you will find the greatest selection of sweet treats.
The Galeries Royales Saint Hubert is the quintessential baroque shopping arcade and each of the glass fronted boutiques is perfectly in-keeping with its opulent surroundings. Here you will find a handful of jewellers and European accessories, but it is the chocolate shops that steal the show. From achingly modern and somewhat sterile displays, to those dripping with more chocolates than you ever knew existed, many of Belgium’s master chocolatiers display their wares here. Godiva, Neuhaus and Comé Toison d’Or have been established in Galeries Royales Saint Hubert since 1932.
Mary Chocolaterie was founded in 1919 and has held a Royal Warrant since 1942. Chocolates are still made to original recipes, with no artificial colours or sweeteners and using only cocoa butter not powder. The flamboyant interiors and beautiful packaging at the Mary shop make for a memorable shopping experience, while serious chocoholics can even venture to the suburb-based factory for a 2 hour chocolate making course.
Fashion for Everyone in New York
New York is the shopping capital of the world and the city that never sleeps has something for all tastes; high-end designer and sparkling diamonds on Fifth Avenue; vintage finds in Williamsburg and the Brooklyn Flea; and high street galore at Macys, which bills itself as the world’s largest store.
Whatever you are looking for, you will find it in New York. Add a couple of nights onto your Cunard Transatlantic crossing and make the most of everything the Big Apple has to offer; artisan foods at Chelsea Market, every designer under the sun on the cobbled streets of Soho, and hugely discounted high-end finds at Century 21.
All That Sparkles in Istanbul
Renowned for some of the best quality jewels and best craftsmanship in the world, Istanbul is a magpie’s paradise. Beaded, heritage-inspired and dripping with precious stones; Istanbul’s master craftsmen create all kinds.
Established since the 15th century, the Grand Bazaar should be your first port of call for jewellery. Here, you will find craftsmen working their magic in endless workshops and locally mined gems including opal and agate are crafted into stunning pieces in a surprisingly short time. If your time in the city allows, commission a craftsman to create an individual piece to your exacting specifications; unique designs can be created in as little as 24 hours and prices are often very reasonable.
Everything the Heart Desires in Dubai
Dubai is renowned for its excess and the country’s shopping malls are unlike anything you will experience at home. Shopping is a national pastime here and with the heat soaring into the 50’s come summer, malls provide a welcome refuge from the heat.
If a 9 year old shopaholic with an overactive imagination was given the chance to design a shopping centre, we think it might resemble the Dubai Mall. The sprawling centre is more like a mini city than a mall and is the biggest shopping centre in the world with over 1,000 shops, indoor three-tier waterfall, aquarium, giant ice rink and even a theme park. Hungry? Fill up between shops at one of 150 food outlets. Dubai is all about extravagance and you won’t find prices much cheaper than home. Despite this, a trip to the centre is a must as the unrestrained opulence provides an experience completely different to anything you can experience elsewhere.
The closest you will come to a traditional Arabian shopping experience in Dubai comes courtesy of the Souk Madinat Jumeirah. Located in the heart of the five-star Madinat Jumeirah resort, this recreation of a traditional souk has all the sights, sounds and smells of the real thing. The ‘souk’s’ winding streets recreate the Arabian bazaar style with an added hint of glamour, with traditional wares displayed alongside high-end offerings from European designers.
There are cafes and restaurants galore, bars to celebrate your purchases with an expertly-mixed cocktail, and even a nightclub to carry on the excitement long into the night.
Are you a holiday shopaholic? Or do you prefer to spend your time on the beach or seeing the sights?