Sun-Kissed Beaches And Designer Bags: Here’s A Guide To Barcelona, Valencia And The Balearic Islands

If you’re planning a long vacation to Spain along with a wardrobe renewal, we’ve got just the places for you. Spain’s beautiful geography holds not only the most stunning beaches and scenic gems, but also an ever-changing shopping scene along with delicious culinary treats. We’re talking about an interesting itinerary through Barcelona, Valencia, and the Balearic Islands. A visual feast at every turn, these places are perfect for some post-shopping relaxation too!

A thriving arts scene and a lively nightlife await you in Barcelona, known for its unique architectural marvels, including the iconic La Sagrada Família. Valencia, on the other hand, has a delightful blend of old-world charm and modern sophistication, with a rich history dating back to Roman times. Then again, set adrift in the sparkling waters of the Mediterranean Sea, the Balearic Islands enchant anyone who comes their way with their idyllic landscapes, sun-kissed beaches, and vibrant island culture.

Here’s a guide to all you can do, eat and shop at Barcelona, Valencia and the Balearic Islands.


Explore the unique architecture at Casa Milà Barcelona – © Turespaña

Where To Shop

Shop until you drop at Passeig de Gràcia, which is an upscale avenue home to numerous designer stores such as Chanel, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton. It’s also famous for its modernist architecture, including landmarks like Casa Batlló and La Pedrera (Casa Milà). On Calle Tallers you can find ethnic and Goth style clothes, often handmade. A few metres along, Calle Riera Baixa is a must-stop for lovers of vintage fashion and decoration.

Shop till you drop in Barcelona – © Turespaña

If you love everything handmade, La Roca Village is a charming retail district near Barcelona. Barcelona’s vibrancy is echoed in the landscape of La Roca Village, just 40 minutes away, where more than 150 boutiques offer year-round savings on world-famous brands. Along tree-lined streets, discover renowned names in luxury fashion and lifestyle, as well as emerging local talent, all with up to 60% off the recommended retail price and tax-free shopping for guests from outside the EU. Shaded squares are perfect for soaking up the scenery and discovering the Village’s exciting programme of art and events, while regional specialties are served in the restaurants and cafés to cater to all appetites.

El Born is filled with independent boutiques, artisan shops, and designer stores. It’s a great place to find unique fashion pieces, jewellery, and gifts. Gràcia’s bohemian neighbourhood has a laid-back vibe and is known for its quirky shops and artisan markets.

Taste delightful and authentic Paella © Visit Valencia

What To Eat

In Barcelona, there are Michelin-star restaurants like Lasarte by Martín Berasategui and Moments by Carme Ruscalleda that have refined interpretations of Catalan and Mediterranean cuisine, respectively. Casa Lolea, which specializes in traditional Spanish cuisine and sangria, is a great choice for a relaxed meal with friends. For a taste of regional produce, head to the busy Mercado de la Boqueria and for pintxos, stop by Euskal Etxea or Els Tres Porquets.

What To Do

Enjoy the wonders of Antoni Gaudí’s architecture in Barcelona, such as the whimsical Park Güell or simply marvel at the intricate details he designed in the city’s public spaces. Take a stroll along La Rambla’s busy pedestrian street and take in the lively atmosphere.

Go to the Museum of Design, located within the Disseny Hub Barcelona, which presents the evolution of design through various exhibitions and collections, while Catalonia’s vineyards provide guided tours, giving explorers a glimpse into winemaking traditions. If you live for the thrills, motor sports adventures in Barcelona are the perfect fit for you.

For every taste, Barcelona offers a wide variety of museums, like the Picasso Museum and the MACBA. Montjuïc, the ‘magic mountain,’ has everything from lush gardens to Olympic venues where you can explore museums like Fundació Miró and MNAC. For breathtaking views, ride the cable car up to the castle.


Fascinating architecture for the travel buffs: © Visit Valencia

Where To Shop

When in Valencia, your first stop should be the Mercado Central. It is one of the oldest markets in Europe and has been providing the people with fresh produce, meats, seafood, cheeses, and other local delicacies. It’s a great place to pick up some authentic ingredients for a Spanish homemade meal.

The city’s historic old town is lined up with bustling streets filled with shops, boutiques, and artisan workshops. Calle Colón, one of Valencia’s main shopping streets, is a mix of high-end boutiques, international brands, and department stores. Mercadillo de Valencia is held on Sundays along Avenida de la Paz. This popular street market offers a wide range of goods, including clothing, accessories, crafts, antiques, and more.

Experience the cultural extravaganza in Valencia © Turespaña

As an explorer, you must visit Centro Comercial Aqua Multiespacio (near the City of Arts and Sciences complex) that has a wide range of stores, including fashion, electronics, home goods, and entertainment options like a cinema and bowling alley.

What To Eat

Near the Natural Park of Albufera in Valencia, the 5-star Parador de El Saler provides a luxurious base for wine enthusiasts, surrounded by the serene beauty of nature. Don’t miss out on Paella, the iconic dish of Valencia, which combines saffron-infused rice with a medley of seafood, chicken, rabbit, and vegetables. Artisanal horchata tastings provide a refreshing break from the sun, allowing visitors to sample this traditional Valencian drink.

What To Do

Valencia’s contemporary architecture comes to life at the entertainment and cultural hub, the City of Arts and Sciences. Explore the lively Central Market, one of the biggest fresh food markets in Europe, which features a wide selection of regional produce and culinary treats. The Old Town’s historic streets lead to the famous Valencia Cathedral and lively plazas. You can unwind in the grounds of Turia River Park, a former riverbed that has been turned into a verdant haven.

Experience handcrafted ceramics: © Turespaña

Experience the rich history of the city by visiting places like Torres Serranos, La Lonja, and the Cathedral or explore the Central Market’s culinary offerings. You’ll love the underwater marvels at Oceanografic València as you take a stroll around the marina. Valencia delivers a fascinating fusion of historical, cultural, and scenic attractions with its museums and lively shopping scene.

The Balearic Islands

Soak in all the sun in Ibiza © Jchai. Pixabay

Where To Shop

If you’re always looking for authenticity in everything you buy, you’ll love Inca, the ‘Leather City,’ which is famous for its leather goods where you can get a wide selection of leather products, including bags, shoes, jackets, and belts, at the local shops and factories. Numerous artisan workshops and boutiques sell handmade crafts, jewellery, ceramics, and traditional Menorcan products such as avarcas (leather sandals) and gin, a local specialty in Ciutadella de Menorca.

Explore the charming markets in Ibiza © Turespaña

The island’s capital Palma de Mallorca has a variety of shops and markets that have everything from fashion and accessories to local delicacies like Mahón cheese and sobrasada which is cured sausage. San Antonio is a beautiful place that will have all your shopping needs sorted.

The place has beachwear stores, souvenir shops, and markets selling local products and handicrafts. You can also find traditional Formentera products such as salt, olive oil, and handicrafts made from esparto grass.

Shopping in Old City of Ibiza -© Turespaña

What To Eat

Meanwhile, on the Balearic Islands there’s a restaurant El Olivo at the Belmond La Residencia in Mallorca, where Chef Guillermo Méndez has created a fusion of Mediterranean and international flavours that you can enjoy in a picturesque setting. You can’t miss out on the traditional meals on the beachside in the Balearic Islands, where they serve grilled fish and freshly caught seafood paella. The regional favourites such as caldereta de langosta (a rich lobster stew), fideuà (a noodle-based paella), and arroz brut (a robust rice dish) are treats worth having.

Enjoy traditional recipes, which have been passed down from one generation to the next- © Fundació Foment del Turisme de Menorca 2022

What To Do

A cheesy ride ahead! The route of Mahon Cheese in Menorca will take you on a journey through the beautiful countryside, where you’ll witness the traditional methods of producing this cheese and sample its distinctive flavours at local dairy farms and cooperatives. In Menorca, curated wine and olive oil tours will help you explore the vineyards and olive groves where you can learn about the cultivation and production processes.

A variety of bike tours are available in Mallorca to suit varying tastes and ability levels. Personalised experiences, top-notch equipment, and knowledgeable guides are offered by tour companies like Cycling Planet Mallorca, Mallorca Cycling Xperience, and Mallorca Bike Hire, regardless of your preference for easy rides along the coast or trickier routes through the interior. A guided tour of ancient megalithic sites, including the Naveta des Tudons and Torre d’en Galmés will make uncovering the mysteries of these prehistoric monuments even more fun.

There’s all this and more to Barcelona, Valencia and the Balearic Islands. All you need is a wandering spirit and some extra empty bags (for all the shopping you’ll do!).

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This article is published in collaboration with Tourism Office of Spain (Turespaña), Mumbai.

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