Going shopping in Spain has always been cheap. In recent years though, with Spain’s terrible economy, shopping has become dirt cheap, with bargains so good you can’t pass them up. I’m currently on my fourth week of vacation in Spain and have bought so much, I’ll definitely be paying additional charges for overweight luggage when I check in for my plane back home. With so many cheap things to buy in Spain though, there are some things everyone visiting Spain should buy – simply because they are the cheapest and the best.
Olives and Olive Oil – As the world’s biggest olive oil producer, Spain produces some of the wold’s best olive oil. Used primarily for salads, salad dressings and for cooking, olive oil is one of the best preventatives for heart disease and stroke – it’s also dirt cheap to buy in Spain, as are olives.
You can buy extra virgin olive oil, which is the best to buy, at any Spanish supermarket for a much lower price than you can buy in the US or, where I live, in Asia. If you want a more specialized olive oil, look for it at market stalls or at specialty food shops. I bought a superb Spanish olive oil at a small shop up in the mountains near Guadalest. At only 3 euros ($3.95) for a can, it was less than half of the price I’d pay in Thailand for a much higher quality oil.
Olives too are cheap in Spain and one of the best things you can buy for yourself or as a gift. Just about every food store sells them, as they’re eaten with most meals, and they also come in lots of varieties and brands.
Wine – Even if you’re not a particular wine fan, you cannot go to Spain and not bring bottles of wine home. Wine is cheaper in Spain than just about any country in the world. So cheap in fact that, last week, my parents and I bought a bottle of wine at a local Spanish supermarket just to try it, as we were astounded by the low price. At only 56 euro cents (77 US cents), you’d think it would be ‘gut-rot’ but it was surprisingly nice.
Even a good bottle of Spanish wine can be obtained for only 5 euros ($6.95), markedly cheaper than wines in the US for similar quality, and a bottle of wine is a lovely gift for someone back home.
Costume Jewelry – My mother and I have been hitting every Spanish market in our immediate vicinity (at the last count, eight) so we can pick up yet more cheap costume jewelry to take home. With earrings, bracelets and necklaces starting at the low price of 1 euro ($1.39), we’ve bought some incredible bargains and some really beautiful pieces.
Of course, it’s costume jewelry, so it’s not going to last longer than a few months but for cheap jewelry you just wear for work, out with friends on a weekend, or as a small, lightweight gift to take home as a gift from Spain, it’s well worth buying.
Look for chunky bracelets and necklaces, large rings with brightly colored stones and don’t miss the hand-blown glass pendants. We managed to pick up two of these for only 5 euros ($6.95), and they’re absolutely lovely.
You’ll find the best costume jewelry at either a local Spanish market or at cheap stores, where everything is 1-2 euros. Also look on market stalls for costume jewelry made by independent jewelers. It is more expensive (in the 10 euro ($13.90) range, but the quality is superb and it’s very pretty.
Leather Shoes – Spain has always been known for producing some of the world’s best leather shoes, yet at prices far cheaper than its neighbor, Italy. If you’re in Spain and looking for the best things to buy, leather shoes should be at the top of your list.
Check on Spanish markets, at shoe shops in cities like Madrid, Barcelona, Alicante and Benidorm, at shoe outlets (the best prices and excellent quality) and even at factory shops. I’ve bought leather shoes as cheap as 8 euros ($11) and they’re top quality and comfortable, and my mother has even managed to find leather shoes at an outlet shop for only 4 euros ($5.20).
Toys – If you’re looking for something unique and fun for the kids back home (or for your kids with you in Spain on vacation), look no further than Spanish toys. Made in Spain, instead of the cheap Chinese junk often found in the US, these toys are sturdy, well-made and safe for kids to play with. They also have lots of cute, brightly painted wooden toys.
You can buy Spanish toys at department stores like El Corte Ingles or, if you like to shop at the little guy’s shops like I do, look for the traditional toy shop in just about every Spanish town. They all seem to have them. Prices are slightly higher than at Spain’s department stores, but well worth paying the difference.
Photo – Olive oil is one of the best and cheapest things to buy in Spain