Like other major capital cities around the world, the widest selection of souvenirs can be found in the parts of Madrid that attract the most tourists. Rather than waiting to do your shopping until you get to the airport where everything costs double, take a morning off from your usual holiday activities to look for the perfect gifts to take home. The greatest concentration of souvenir shops can found in the area between Puerta del Sol and Calle Mayor, in the heart of the city.
You won’t have to go far to find typical, clichéd gifts, however, if you want something other than a straw donkey, try visiting the “anti-souvenir” outlet, Madrid al Cubo, a unique shop that’s a must for anyone that loves interesting, original gifts. “We are not bullfighters or flamenco dancers; we are from Madrid,” affirm the two brothers who own the store. With their quirky creations they seek to distance themselves from traditional Spanish souvenirs by using a large dose of irony and a sprinkle of dark humor.
The designs are innovative and intelligent and include a idiosyncratic take on Madrid icons. These include prints of the famous Schweppes building and doormats that look like the city’s manhole covers. They also have fun with the idea of the cult manga robot Mazinger Z terrorizing Gran Vía, Madrid’s main thoroughfare.
Another store that shuns familiar souvenirs in favor of a more creative vision is La PeSeta. This shop has more than 10 years’ experience of creating useful items that will also remind you of your stay in Madrid. Here you’ll find bags, dresses, bow ties, wallets, canvas sandals, and clothing made using a variety of fabrics. There’s a reason these items look so good. Their creator, Laura Martínez del Pozo, has worked with some of the most famous designers in the world.
Any one of the 25 shops that Madrid Souvenirs has in the city center will take you on a journey through the history, art, and culture of the city. This includes everything from traditional handicrafts, shawls, and hand-painted fans, to a range of stationery. There are also souvenirs for foodies, like nougat candy, candied violets, and, of course, olive oil.
Plaza Mayor Tourist Information Center is open 365 days a year and offers visitors exciting discounts and a many options of keepsakes, including magnets, notebooks, pens, mugs, postcards, bags, and T-shirts designed by renowned Spanish designers. Despite recent improvement works in the store, you can still visit its temporary installation next to Arco de la Sal and Postas Street.
Another shop that comes highly recommended is Caprichos de Madrid. This shop is nestled in a historic alleyway in the old town and sells classic souvenirs that exude history.
Taking the time to explore the many alternative souvenir shops in Madrid means that you are guaranteed to find the perfect object to remind you of your stay in this vibrant, and lively city.