Boutiques that make you fall in love with spectacular designs, secret gardens in the middle of the neighbourhood, family bookstores, eco-friendly shops... For the Botigues amb encant (Shops with Charm) competition, organized by the Barcelona city government and Time Out, we asked you to tell us the most special places to shop and, with your votes and your photos, you selected the best shops the city has to offer. These are your winners.
A place made for kids and teens but still fun for adults, where you can spend hours discovering the marvels between the covers of a book. You can ask for help from the bookseller, listen to recommendations from other customers or just explore freely, picking up whatever catches your eye. There’s a hardcover section, one for those that haven’t yet learned to read, another full of well-loved stories, right next to a small selection for adults – with only titles that the owner likes – and a section for fiction, music, theatre, poetry and art, sitting opposite the educational books, games and books about books. But the apple of Casa Anita’s eye is hidden in a bunch of wine boxes – the picture books, with fiction separated from non-fiction, of course. Self-edited books, origami and puppets have also found a place here.
An old meter box factory now filled with beautiful flora, this is truly a treasure of the Sants neighbourhood. As always, you can go to Hivernacle for all your indoor and outdoor gardening needs: plants, seeds, soil, tools and accessories. But what's new is that now they also rent urban garden allotments to measure. If you lack space at home to grow your own lettuce, you can always take a walk to Hivernacle to get in touch with your wild side.
The osleñas, as the creative team of the Oslo project call themselves, run this space that features the work of some 40-odd artists and artisans in Gràcia. This is not your typical shop but a place of refuge for those who want to introduce themselves to the DIY lifestyle. Throughout the year they put out monographs (books specialising in one subject), so keep an eye out.
Flowers, while beautiful on their own, can also be an art form, and at Dadaflor they decided to explore that. In the hands of artist-florist Marta Arnau, this space functions as a shop for all types of flowers – natural, dried, fabric and plastic – and as an art gallery where flowers, mixed with other materials, are used in creative and daring ways. And now you know the origins of the shop's name.
Number didn’t want to miss out on what was going on with footwear in New York, London and Paris, so they decided to bring the most interesting pieces that pass through these fashion capitals to Barcelona. They have shoes from Opening Ceremony, Swear, B Store, Ksubi and Reductions to fit all your needs, whether you prefer to teeter on stilettos, dance around in shoes with personality or hold on tight to your favourites that never go out of fashion.
In 2011, Majorcan designer Nataline moved her universe filled with beautiful handmade items from Sant Antoni to a little corner of Gracia. Her shop boasts a great assortment of colourful, feminine clothing that she has made herself as well as heaps of truly original accessories.
Saddlebags marked the beginning of Ramonas Barcelona, a little shop in the Born dedicated to urban cycling. Here you’ll find almost anything you can think of to make riding on two wheels more comfortable, such as the classic seats from Brooks, seat covers made from all kinds of fabric and in all kinds of patterns, animal-shaped bells, helmets covered with faux crocodile skin and, returning to their roots, saddlebags. If an elephant can ride a bicycle, as Ramonas proclaims, there’s no good excuse of two-legged animals to keep riding the metro.
In La Parada (meaning ‘market stall’) you won’t find asparagus or cod, but instead little landscapes and paper designs. Xènia Bagué and Raquel Villa work in the promotion, distribution and education of photography in this shop in el Mercado de la Abaceria, proof that you don’t need four walls to have a lovely space. On Thursdays they have professional photographers come to discuss their work, and on Saturdays they hold Speaking Corner, where people can get the word out about their projects. It’s great to be able to find both groceries and culture in just one visit to the market, isn’t it?
Warm colours, laughter and kutchi-kutchi. If you’re a child at heart and yearn for the fluffy, sweet, imaginary world that little ones love, don't miss a visit to I Love Kutchi. This shop in Barceloneta, masquerading as a haberdashery, stocks accessories and decorations for the whole family: a thermal pillow, an iPhone case made of tempting fabrics, a notebook with silkscreened covers or just a roll of washi tape. You’ll have a hard time leaving empty-handed.
Bromptons reveal their charm wherever they go, and they’re your best bet if you want to travel through the city in a healthy, sustainable way, without worrying about how you’re going to lock up your bicycle. At Cap Problema they’re specialists in this English brand and, aside from fixing typical mechanical problems, they’ll also dirty their hands to personalize your Brompton to your taste. But you’ll only be able to track them down in the afternoon.