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The Traveller's Magazine
  •   4 min read

Winter sales are here, right on time for Christmas! If hectic plazas and crazed shoppers don’t phase you then take advantage of the season’s savings and satisfy your shopping cravings abroad. Here are 5 city jaunts where you’ll find great shopping and great deals!

Did you know that seasonal sale periods differ from country to country and are regulated by the law? Germany and Austria, for example, don’t have any set regulations on sales and stores can offer discounts whenever they wish. Other countries however have more or less regulated sale periods which begin in December and January. Spain and Italy even have sale periods which differ by region. Where can you go for a sure-fire bargain in Europe?

London, UK

On the home front, London never stops attracting tourists for the chance to shop along its famous promenades like Oxford Street or in legendary department stores. London is the European capital of sales! Starting on Boxing Day, December 26th, expect deals in every kind of store. You can imagine the chaos in Camden’s top shop markets and in Harrods. London shops discount goods up to 80%, a great chance to shop for next year’s Christmas!

  • When? December 26th to the end of January
  • How to get there? Flights to London (departing from all over the UK)

Barcelona, Spain

We love shopping in Barcelona’s fashion boutiques for their originality and cutting-edge style. Apart from the usual Spanish names like Zara and Mango, local talents sure deserve a closer look: Custo, Desigual and the dozens of smaller independent boutiques with one-of-a-kind designs. Head to Barcelona’s El Born neighbourhood and look for signs saying “Rebajas” or “Rebaixes” to find the deals. Roca Village is where you’ll find dirt cheap clothing year-round.

Milan, Italy

Milan, Europe’s other fashion capital after Paris, is a must-see and a must-stop for both fashionistas and jet-setters alike. If haute couture ready-to-wear clothing from the likes of Prada and Gucci don’t fit your budget, there are plenty of shops that suit without the price tag. Upscale Italian style delivers MaxMara, which can be found at outlet stores outside the city centre. Shopping for bargains in Milan is a workout… be quick but watch out for scams (tricky price inflation) and especially against counterfeit goods.

  • When? January 2nd to March 3rd 2011
  • How to get there? Flights to Milan starting at £34 by combining flights from two low cost airlines (from London)

Paris, France

“Ah, Paris…” Is there any better place on Earth to max out a credit card? The City of Light has it going on and always has for the couture-seekers and fashion-fanatics. If you’re not careful though a Parisian shopping spree can turn from dream to nightmare really quickly. The secret: arrive two days before the sales to give yourself a chance to see the city so as to not waste any valuable time on D-Day. If you can’t stand the crowds, wait 2-3 weeks after the sales start before going. Forget the Champs-Elysées, Opera, les Halles and the touristy areas. Instead try lesser-known areas like Bercy, Rue Vielle-du-Temple and Bon Marché.

  • When? January 12th to February 15th 2011
  • How to get there? Flights to Paris starting at £50 (from London)

Berlin, Germany

If the usual madness of blow-out sales frightens you to pieces, then Berlin is the perfect respite for you! It’s all cool in Berlin because there is no official sales period, retailers and shops can make their own rules and discount their inventory throughout the year. However, by ritual, there are mini-sales at the end of January giving you the chance to buy some unique treasures while not having to fight the crowds to find them. Berlin may not be considered a fashion capital, it is a mecca for shopping: clean-cut design shops, one-of-a-kind styles and vintage knickknacks. Head to Friedrichstrasse in Mitte!

  • When? Year-round, best at the end of January
  • How to get there? Flights to Berlin starting at £28 by combining flights from two low cost airlines (from London)

Don’t forget that sales don’t stop at retail outlets, airlines and travel companies are in on the fun as well! Watch fares on or set yourself an email alert so you know when’s the best time to get your flight to one of these shopping destinations.

Imgs: net_efekt, Schröder+Schömbs PR _ Brands, Wildebeast1, Jaume Meneses, realSMILEY, opethpainter / Flickr cc.

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