The Holidays are approaching fast. If you’re looking to spoil a special someone, treat them to a trip to one of Europe’s often overlooked luxury shopping locales to experience the magical wonderland that is Europe during Christmas time.
You might want to ditch the high-profile destinations like Bond Street in London, Avenue Montaigne and Champs Elysées in Paris, and Via Montenapoleone, Milan — instead, favor a stroll down one of these more low key destinations.
1. Bahnhofstrasse – Zurich, Switzerland
Flanked by handsome trees, The Bahnhofstrasse charms with its air of grandeur amidst offices of some of the world’s biggest banks. The pedestrian-friendly street, stretches for a mile, dotted with exclusive and opulent boutiques.
The high end shopping strip offers top fashion designers, shoes, accessories, jewelry, china, and of course Swiss watches. Many fine furs are also available, and it’s fun to stroll into a haberdashery to be fitted for a 2,000 € mink, Cossack hat, even if you’re not buying. Don’t pass on a visit to the world renowned Confiserie Sprungli for a taste of the world’s finest chocolate — think of it as a reward for a long day walking the cobblestone streets.
2. Tretyakovsky Proezd – Moscow, Russia
Russia may not conjure images of the rich and famous, but this is quickly changing and Tretyakov Drive bears witness to this trend. The bloom of Russia’s millionaires creates the need for opulence and this street has the best and most expensive brands and labels. Car showrooms for Bentley and Ferrari will immediately grab your attention. Afterwards your heart’s desire may lead you to the Chopard store, one of Switzerland’s finest watch makers. You’ll also be tempted by other high end stores bearing the names of Brioni, Bulgari, Roberto Cavalli, and Gucci.
3. Stroget – Copenhagen, Denmark
A testament to the best in form and function of urban design, the Stroget makes for a sublime and egalitarian shopping experience. Closed off to traffic, the street provides Europe’s longest pedestrian, shopping area, so don’t worry if the window shopping distracts you. Meanwhile, you will probably notice that affordable, chain stores are equally mixed in with the most expensive name brands and boutiques Copenhagen has to offer. This makes the six streets that compose the Stroget a popular tourist attraction. When your feet start throbbing, treat yourself to a delicious coffee at one of the many cafes lining the street.
4. Laugavegur – Reykjavik, Iceland
Iceland may receive the most attention for its volcanic activity lately, but your credit card is just as likely to erupt here. Definitely not one of the most bustling or biggest shopping area in Europe, this commercial district in downtown Reykjavik still has plenty to offer. One of the oldest shopping streets in Iceland, the Laugavegur not only features some of the world’s most expensive brands and exclusive stores, but also provides the best of Icelandic goods. The variety of clothing boutiques and assorted shops sell cosmetics, books, music, lingerie, and the highest quality handmade woolen goods and knitwear. If you buy something from a local fashion house, you will undoubtedly be paying for an original.
5. Calle Serrano – Madrid, Spain
Perhaps the least known of all shopping streets, don’t underestimating Calle Serrano. Spaniards love shopping, and the only thing they like more is to walk, making Calle Serrano a paradise for some. Located in the swanky Salamanca neighborhood, near the American embassy, dozens of decadent boutiques, fashion designers and jewelers nestle up next to Spain’s biggest banking, corporate offices. Michael Kors, Rabat, Dior, Prada, Hermes all call the street home, putting Spanish elegance and panache on full display. Spend enough time here and you will come to know the meaning of the Spanish word “pijo”.
Daniel Pott is blogger and Brand Manager for PrivateJetsCharter.com. He enjoys sharing tips and ideas on luxury travel.