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Top 10 of the coolest places to shop in Europe

Europe is a haven for original design and whether you’re looking for unique gifts or just on the hunt for the next big shopping label you’ll need to head to Europe’s most creative shopping regions. Our writer Holly (a vintage and independent shop connoisseur) chooses her favourite…

Nine Streets, Amsterdam – one of the most beautiful and best places to shop in Europe

Nine Streets Amsterdam

Located in the attractive Jordaan district, Nine streets are made up of three-by-three-blocks of roads prettily interwoven with the city’s famous canals. Whether you are after vintage chic, handmade jewellery, a vegetarian cafe or even a barber that doubles as an art gallery, you’ll discover no shortage of interesting finds in the area. The whole place exudes a laid back bohemian atmosphere that is worth sitting back and absorbing over a cup of coffee or two. Also check out our awesome things to do in Amsterdam.

Hackesche Höfe and the Mitte district, Berlin

Hackesche Höfe Courtyard Berlin

The Mitte district is one of the trendiest parts of Berlin but if you really want to crank up the cool factor several notches then head for Hackesche Höfe, a striking complex of courtyards which is home to some beautiful boutiques and quirky little stores. The Moorish inspired main courtyard is also known for its trendy bars and stylish cafés where hip locals and curious tourists happily mingle. There are also some fabulous restaurants and bars and a cinema and theatre too, meaning you can extend your shopping trip into the evening.

Brick Lane & Shoreditch, London – a very cool place to shop in London

Brick Lane - cool alternative shopping streets

Arguably the most famous places on the list are these street-art-adorned areas in London’s colourful East End. Gritty, edgy and still very cool, whether you are after vintage attire, independent gift shops, unusual art galleries or high fashion designer boutiques then Brick Lane and Shoreditch have it all in abundance. Stalls and shops sell everything from homeware to gourmet street food with bags of personality thrown in. These places are a lot of fun, especially bargain hunting at the weekend markets. Looking for somewhere equally unique to stay? Here are our Top 10 cool and unusual hotels in London.

Stockholm Bohemian SoFo

Stockholm Bohemian SoFo

The laid back atmosphere and artistic air of this cool part of town centres around the busy centre of Nytorget Square. South Folkungagatan is alive with beautifully creative and unusual shops that stock the finest examples of quirky clothes, jewellery, homeware, books and magazines, record shops, knickknacks and vintage and second-hand goods. Many of the fashion stores have their own labels here and when you do decide to take a well-earned break from your shopping you’ll be spoilt for choice for independent cafés, restaurants and bars.

Ghent Old Town

Ghent quirky restaurant elephant

Beautifully quaint and quintessentially Belgian, the cobbled city of Ghent is about as far away as you can get from unimaginative chain stores and typical high street shops. The whole Old Town is full of gorgeous independent eateries, fabulous vintage stores and some of the finest design shops in the country. If you’re anything like me and love browsing in old-fashioned book shops, indulging in gourmet foods and have a passion for independent fashion then Ghent will definitely catch your eye and most likely your heart as well.

Montmartre, Paris

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Parisians are renowned for their striking sense of style, but this isn’t all associated with the top designers and huge department stores. If you like your shopping experience to be a little more intimate then head for the capital’s last village and Amelie’s favourite hangout, Montmartre. This area of the city still maintains the artistic bohemian spirit that many artists, authors and philosophers developed in this area over the years. The pretty winding cobbled streets offer specialty shops, art galleries, handcrafted jewellery, independent fashion labels, artisan food stores as well as gorgeous views over the city.

Riga Old Town, Latvia

Pretty Shop, Riga on GlobalGrasshopper.com

Riga – known as the pearl of the Baltics – is an exceptionally beautiful north European city. The Latvian capital’s old town has a bustling electric atmosphere where you’ll see better-than-average street performers, flower sellers, live music, gorgeous chocolatiers and plenty of alfresco cafés lining its cobbled streets. Riga offers an excellent range of independent stores but head there if you’re especially into beautiful crafts, organic toiletries, beeswax candles, natural produce, textiles or designer goods.

Brighton Laines, UK

Brighton - Shopping in The Lanes

Brighton is easily the UK’s coolest seaside town and despite the sometimes bracing wind, this place makes an excellent shopping destination. Brighton is home to a huge number of artists and creative types giving the city a bohemian air and here you’ll find chic boutiques, unique fashions as well as antiques, original art and stylish jewellery thrown in. Head to the North and South Laines for the trendier shops – here they sell everything from 50s and 60s kitsch to French reproduction furniture.

Zurich Old Town

Cafe Schober Zurich Old Town

You may or may not be aware that Zurich is actually a very cool place to shop. The old town is the centre of the action and this is where beautiful traditional architecture sits side by side with an impressive collection of bookstores, antique dealers, florists, independent clothes stores, jewellery shops and superb design stores. A special mention has to go to the gorgeous historic cafes, beautifully presented traditional food shops and the unique gifts on sale at the excellent Dada museum shop.

Laugavegur, Reykjavik

Reykjavik shopping Street

Reykjavik is a city where the locals like to look at life a little differently. A haven for original design, the main shopping street of this intriguing city is Laugavegur, the commercial artery of downtown Reykjavik. This place is brimming with independent, design and quirky stores offering a mixture of both Icelandic and international designs. The funky boutiques are the perfect place to stock up on fabulous things that you won’t find anywhere else. Just make sure you take plenty of money; Iceland is also (sadly) very expensive.

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Holly’s passion for adventure was first inflamed during a family holiday to Africa at the tender age of seven. With a taste for the exotic, the off-beat and the far flung, her feet have stayed consistently twitchy and a studying for a degree in Japanese and art history only poured more fuel onto her travelling ardor. UK based Holly likes nothing better than unravelling new destinations through the people, the cuisine and the local stories, and a story teller herself, her other indulgences include spoken word poetry, playing the cello, photography and seeking out curios. Counting Japan, Paris, Barcelona and off-the-beaten track family adventures as her favourite travel destinations she’s also a regular columnist for The Green Parent Magazine, an author for Green Books and runs the website Natural Mumma.

16 Comments

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    Ravi Roshan Jaiswal

    5 July, 2016 at 7:45 am

    Hello Holly,

    Informative post indeed. I am happy to see this coolest shopping places in Europe. I was really unaware about such shopping places which are really amazing and very beautiful looking. These all 10 shopping places are wonderful and hope people enjoy to buy from this places.

    Each and every shopping places are looking much pretty. I just can’t decide that which is one is the best. It seems like that here is the huge collection of fashionable items.

    Thanks for an awesome post for us.
    Have a good day ahead.

    – Ravi.

    Reply
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    Audrey Blakeney

    29 June, 2015 at 6:40 pm

    As the post explains, European shops are incredibly popular often because they have their original designs and features. Such designs often have unique character, which is appealing to shoppers. People don’t want to buy things that all look the same, and having a store that not only offers unique merchandise but itself has a unique look could be far more attractive to buyers.

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    Ale @ iFly

    22 April, 2015 at 3:55 am

    Perfect! I love shopping but ensures to watch out my financial capacity that’s why I love your post for giving me sensible ideas to shop in Europe.

    Reply
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    Agness

    17 September, 2013 at 2:28 am

    I hated shopping in Amsterdam, the streets were way too busy, you could smell some weed and prices were so high! Although I fell in love with this city, I wouldn’t enjoy shopping there. I have heard that Zurich Old Town is an amazing place to do some shopping. It’s cozy and lovely and there are plenty of bakeries where you can get fresh bread and cakes from 🙂

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    Angela

    16 September, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    I wish I knew this before going to Ghent. I remember it was raining, I was lost and I didn’t like it at all. But you make it sound like I want to go back.

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    Lauren Meshkin

    13 September, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    I absolutely love shopping in London’s East End. I’ll definitely have to check out these other places you mentioned while traveling. Great post, thanks for sharing!

    Happy travels 🙂

    Reply

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