Monday, 16 June 2014

Madrid Monday: Outlet shopping

Madrid Monday is a new series of posts about the Spanish capital. I'll be reviewing restaurants and bars, and writing about tourist attractions, cultural events and more. If you have any requests, just leave me a comment.

If you need a bargain shopping fix in Madrid outside the strict Spanish sales windows (January and July), try one of the city's two outlets, The Style Outlets and Las Rozas Village, which offer cut-price designer and high-street clothes and homewares year-round. The catch? They're both out in the suburbs. Thankfully they're also accessible by public transport, but it's best to put aside at least half a day if you want to do some serious

Shopping at Las Rozas Village

The Style Outlets, San Sebastián de los Reyes
The Style Outlets is a shopping centre in San Sebastián de los Reyes containing 120 stores. There's a mixture of high-street and designer shops here, with names ranging from Benetton to Bimba y Lola. There are plenty of women's clothes shops, including Mango and Nice Things, plus unisex retailers like Desigual, Pull & Bear, Pepe Jeans and Massimo Dutti. There are also a few sportswear shops, including Nike and Under Armour. It's fair to see that most shops are high-street rather than high-end, but the reductions at more pricey shops like Hugo Boss and Guess make it worth a visit if you don't want to pay full price. There's more than just clothing, though: there are also a couple of homewares stores, accessories shops, shoe retailers and some cosmetics stores (although the reductions here are less significant). If you're looking for some summer swimwear and can't wait for the sales, there are big discounts on last season's bikinis and swimsuits at Calzedonia.

Top pick: Bimba y Lola. The reductions on past seasons of women's clothing and leather goods are significant, especially on their beautifully-designed handbags.
How to get there: Take the metro (line 10) to Hospital Infanta Sofia. It's in zone B1, so tickets cost €3.50 and you have to change trains at Tres Olivos. It's open daily.
Top tip: Don't go hungry - there's only a simple cafe in The Style Outlets, and the choices at the nearby shopping centre are pretty poor chain restaurants and fast-food outlets.

Las Rozas Village, Las Rozas
Las Rozas Village is part of a worldwide group of designer outlet villages, including Bicester Village in Oxfordshire and Kildare Village near Dublin. It has a more luxe feel than The Style Outlets, and is designed to feel like a chichi town centre as opposed to a mall. The brands on offer here are also more upmarket, with designer names such as Armani, Belstaff, Burberry, Michael Kors and more. There are also plenty of homegrown designers represented here, including Carolina Herrera and Loewe. As there are more big-name brands here, prices aren't as low as at The Style Outlets, where sub-€10 clothing items are normal at some stores, but if you've saved up and want some cut-price luxury goods, this is the place for you. In addition to clothing, accessories and leather goods, you'll find wedding and bridesmaids dresses, skiwear and homewares.

Top pick: Spanish brands such as Carolina Herrera, Desigual and El Ganso for locally-designed bargains.
How to get there: You can either take the Cercanias trains to El Pinar de Las Rozas (3km from the village) or take 'The Shopping Express', the coach laid on by Las Rozas Village which departs from Madrid 3 times a day and costs €16 return. Everyone who takes the coach also receives a VIP card for further shopping discounts. Open daily.
Top tip: Sundays are quieter, so if you want more space to peruse, it's a better choice than Saturday.

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