Don't know where to pick up your holiday gifts this year? No worries, there are great shopping destinations in every continent. If you still need to find an urban shopping paradise, check out the following cities.
London is home to luxury shops and quirky retailers alike. While Harrods is certainly the most famous high-end department store, hip fashion, unique gifts, rare sweets or one-off handmade jewellery are best found in Covent Garden. At big shopping centers like Westfield, in turn, you can find refuge among more than 275 luxury, premium and high-street retailers showcasing over 700 brands. It's the largest urban shopping centre in Europe, including a cinema, gym, several bars and restaurants - all under one roof. Consult Visit London for more details on London's best shopping areas.
2. New York
New York is a fashionista's paradise. From the high-end boutiques on Madison Avenue to the luxury department stores on Fifth Avenue, to the funky shops in SoHo, there is something here for just about everyone's taste.
New York magazine provides information on current sales and store openings. An even more curated guide is Daily Candy, which features a handpicked selection of all that's fun, fashionable, food related, and culturally stimulating in the Big Apple.
After museums and monuments, shopping in Paris attracts millions of visitors each year. While in the Marais, you can find great eclectic fashion, unique jewelry, antiques and fine art, the area around St. German-des-Près is known for chic classic design, books, and home furnishings. Then, there's the must-visit: the grand department store called "Galeries Lafayette."
Milan's shopping can essentially be divided into the following neighborhoods:[quintessential], [most central], [trendy], [avant-garde], [popular], [Milan's Chinatown], and [unexpected].
Shanghai is often called the "Oriental Paris." Whether it's crickets or pearls, you can get them at the markets in this city. Those who prefer high-end shopping, in turn, should head to West Nanjing Road. In addition, there are numerous malls to choose from, such as the Super Brand Mall, the largest shopping centre in the city.
Why not come back from India with a number of unique souvenirs, including scarves and other Indian crafts? If this sounds like the trip for you, then the markets of Mumbai are ideal. Lonely Planet tells us that you can purchase just about anything in the bazaars located north of the Fort. The main areas are Crawford Market (fruits and vegetables), Mangaldas Market (silk and cloths), Zaveri Bazaar (jewellery), Bhuleshwar Market (fruits and vegetables) and Chor Bazaar (antiques and furniture). Dhabu St, in turn, is the place to get leather goods, while Mutton Street is great for antiques, reproductions and junk.
There are so many items to buy in Istanbul, it's really more of a question of narrowing down your choices. At the big malls, such as Istinye Park, you can purchase many of the brands that are available all over the world (this particular mall even has a Porsche dealership). However, for more characteristically local souvenirs, a great place to go is the Grand Bazaar. Here, you can purchase anything from leather goods to belly dancing costumes. For Turkish delights, head to the Spice Market.
Like in Istanbul, many international brands have flagships stores in Marrakech. However, the real excitement is to be had at the souks. Here, you can have fun bargaining as you browse through Moroccan slippers and Oriental lamps. Saffron and other spices are also great local finds that are worth seeking out and bringing home. There are time-old shops that specialize in these specialties, and you can even hire a guide to take you through the souks.
Munich is the best place in Germany to buy beer, but many other products can be purchased here, too. Main shopping streets include the Kaufingerstrasse and the Neuhauserstrasse, where international as well as local brands can be found. For higher end shopping, head to the Theatinerstrasse, the Fünf Höfe and the Maximilianstrasse for even more luxury.
Tokyo offers shopping for all budgets. While the 100-Yen shops offer chopsticks, tableware, fans, kites, origami paper, calligraphy sets, "Hello Kitty" and more, the high end stores specialize in luxurious japanese designs.