It is very easy to spend money in Madrid. Not only do shops abound in Madrid, but much like other European capitals, the city is very costly. But a tight budget shouldn’t stop you from exploring the many commercial districts that Madrid has to offer, especially during the “rebajas” (sale/discount) seasons, which take place between July and August and January and February.

If you are looking for recognizable chain stores, both the Gran Via and Puerta del Sol have a wide selection of large brand name shops, such as Zara, Mango, Pimkie, Bershka, Sfera and H & M, all of which are reasonably priced. Sol is also the primary area for tourist trinkets and gift shops and home to the electronics, music, video and books superstore FNAC and the national department store El Cortes Ingles.

The stores in the centre of the city generally stay open throughout the day with normal work hours of 9:00AM/10:00AM to 8:00PM/9:00PM. However, smaller boutiques in the center and shops in other districts are more likely close during the traditional siesta period between 2:00PM and 5:00PM.

Other shopping areas of interest in the city center include the Malasaña neighborhood, which is renowned for its alternative clothing shops, where the discerning shopper can find goth, punk, rock and hip hop wear. Chueca is known for its small boutiques and concentration of male clothing shops (as it is Madrid’s loud and proud gay neighborhood) and also a wide array of shoe shops. If designer clothing is more your style, look a little outside the center in the in the Salamanca district, where you should concentrate on the streets Serrano, Velazquez and Goya.