Out-of-hours Madrid: Part I – Shopping

Shopping in Madrid

by Faye Davies

Typical Madrid opening hoursThe scene – or variations thereof – will be familiar to many a non-native Madrileño. Late for a meeting yesterday, I realised I’d run out of deodorant. Horror struck. Not because I’m afflicted with particularly bad BO (to my knowledge), but because it was just past 2:30pm, the time when almost everything becomes unavailable, almost everywhere.

As you might expect, the exceptions tend to be the big players. If you feel like I do about El Corte Inglés, your options are largely limited to specialist chains. Supermarkets Carrefour and Mercadona are fairly ubiquitous. They ensure you won’t go hungry (or smelly), but not much beyond that. For clothes, gifts and electrical goods, the shops around Sol – such as Fnac (books/music/technology), Zara (fashion) and Vodafone (mobile phones) – have generally civilised opening times.

Last, but not least, Chinese-owned shops do a sterling job of providing most things around the clock. Although quality is variable, a discerning eye can land you a bargain in your lunch hour. I recently bought a good Spanish-made espresso maker at my local chino for the price of two coffees.

As for the deodorant, I eventually found it in the Quevedo branch of Gilgo.


Comment from graeme
Date: November 27, 2007, 2:42 pm

In the first couple of years I was here it was annoying, I would be half way down the road to the shops before I remembered that they closed in the afternoons. On the other hand its great that you can shop in the evenings when they reopen again, especially if you have to be at work all day. When I go back to the UK these days I find it hard to get used to most of the shops being closed by 6.

Comment from Katie
Date: November 27, 2007, 3:38 pm

and now ’tis the season to enjoy shopping on sundays for a month!

Comment from Alberto
Date: April 4, 2008, 11:06 am

I’d say the most common shopping hours are: