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Classic shops in Girona and the Costa Brava

Avoid the typical places and go shopping in these classic emporiums that have survived the passing of time

Cal Cisteller
© Carles Palacio Cal Cisteller

Globalisation and gentrification have had their effect on Girona, it almost goes without saying. But only up to a certain point: in the province, they've had to close a couple of McDonald's, and the nearest Starbucks is about 100km away. The thing is that Girona locals, especially when it comes to food, love the label 'de tota la vida', which basically means places that have stood the test of time and endured through generations of shoppers. We love local butchers and artisan 'orxata' (summer drink made with tiger nuts, almonds or rice), as well as the clothes shop that's always been just round the corner. Read on to discover some of the favourite places to browse and purchase of lifelong Girona and Costa Brava inhabitants.

Mobles J.Nierga, Girona
© Time Out Girona
Shopping, Home decor

Mobles Joan Nierga

icon-location-pin Centre

It doesn't matter how many years go pass, and this place will still be there. Don't be suspicious of it just because you don't see anybody there. All Girona residents and lots of visitors head to Can Nierga when they want something that will last forever and can't find it anywhere else. The high chair for the first grandchild that all the others will use, an indestructible set of drawers, some kitchen chairs to keep for many years that can be painted and painted agin, and a basket to go hunting for wild mushrooms are just a few of the wood and wicker objects that you'll find in this personal and very local furniture shop. But don't think that you'll only find practical items there, that would be too boring: they also make our favourite rocking-horses. As they also accept orders, we'll take a risk on saying that it's the ideal place to go and get one if you're still suffering a childhood trauma because you never had one as a youngster and now you measure 5'7".
Pastisseria Serra, Palafrugell
© Pastisseria Serra
Shopping, Bakeries

Pastisseria Serra

icon-location-pin Baix Empordà

This cake shop, which is over 100 years old (it opened in 1904) is a family business on which every generation, and there's been a few, have left their mark. It started as a 'colmado' (a traditional grocer's shop) that was transformed into a pastisserie after one of the offspring studied the subject in Barcelona.  Later on liquors, supermarkerts and foreign products arrived, along with delicatessens and, in recent years, the wine boom. As such the Pastisseria Serra nowadays makes some of the best 'brunyols' (small deep-fried doughnuts, typically available during Lent) in the Empordà, but also stocks products such as Joselito ham and a large quantity of wines that are stored in the big underground basement of the shop. But what we like best of all are the ice creams they sell in the summer: don't miss the rose flavour. Ah, and one of its most recent innovations is the ability for clients to make orders online through their website.
Ferros d'Art Cadenas, Girona
© Time Out Girona
Attractions, Historic buildings and sites

Forja Ferros d'Art Cadenas

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Forges are mythological spaces that evoke certain ideas and images that we have embedded in us, culturally speaking, about brute force, sweat, fire and hell. The results (and how could it be otherwise) can also have a magic aspect, as in the case of the pieces from the Forja Carrera in Girona. Architect Rafael Masó, who spread modernisme around the city, a very organic and personal kind of modernisme, contracted Nonito Cadenas to make iron railings and fixtures for his buildings. Nowadays the great-grandson of Cadenas, Sergi, follows in the family tradition of the traditional forge adding new technologies and materials such as stainless steel. His furniture and structures made for both interiors and exteriors are unique artifacts that that could have been made by the hand by Vulcan himself. Don't miss visiting the shop, the iron work on the façade of the premises on Av. Sant Francesc alone is worth seeing.
Callol Serrats, l'Escala
© Callol Serrats
Shopping, Grocery stores

Callol Serrats

icon-location-pin Alt Empordà

Recommending just one of the anchovy factories in L'Escala is quite a commitment. There are four in the town and they all have international renown. In the end, we've gone with the oldest: Fill de J. Callol i Serrats.  Operating since 1847, it's now the sixth generation of the family that dedicates itself to the thousand-year-old art of salting the fish. On their website you can buy anchovies, 'seitons' (anchovies in vinegar), 'bonítol' tuna and stuffed olives, but the best way to discover the famous original  product is by calling the factory and arranging for a visit and tasting. They'll explain the salting process and you'll finish by eating anchovies accompanied by local wines. A good plan, we think you'll agree.

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