The history of Madrid begins in the 10th century. Those were the bloody times of the Reconquista, when the Spaniards, with varying success, tried to reclaim the lands conquered from them by the Moorish people. Their struggle was successful only in the 15th century. The Moors left, leaving behind an oriental flair of luxury and puzzles, as well as the famous style in architecture and applied art of Mudejar.
Warm and fun loving, the Spaniards are passionate adventurers and romantics. What gifts can you bring from Madrid that symbolize them? We have prepared a list of the most colorful purchases.
Gifts from Madrid for adults
Spain today is one of the world leaders in the production of porcelain and ceramics. And this is to the merit of the former Arab conquerors, because it was their pottery traditions that were continued and developed by Spanish artisans.
The most popular products come from factories such as Pickman , Sagradelos , Nadal , Graupera , Santa Fe.
Oriental multi-color patterns prevail in the painting, although there are collections with typically European monochrome landscapes. In addition to dishes, tourists bring ceramic tiles from Madrid.
Lladro porcelain figurines are also very popular. The company produces thematic collections of fine handmade figures of historical and religious subjects, everyday scenes from the life of the Spaniards and other people.
The best shops for ceramics and porcelain in Madrid: San Miguel Artesania at Plaza de San Miguel 5 and Antigua Casa Talavera at Calle de Isabel la Catolica, 2.
The Spanish are very particular about their dressing sense, so it is not surprising that several famous European clothing brands hail from here.
There are many branded boutiques scattered across Madrid, and you can easily find the one closest to you. And to make it easier to navigate, let’s talk a little about each brand:
- Springfield – makes comfortable and stylish youth clothes, focused mainly on males
- Cortefiel – a brand of elegant and comfortable clothing for adult women and men
- Bershka – a manufacturer of affordable clothing and accessories for young people
- Stradivarius – a brand of original and colorful clothes for girls and ladies
- Mango – the world famous brand of clothes and accessories for the whole family, makes clothes up to size 58. In different years, such famous personalities as Penelope Cruz, Mila Jovovich, Scarlett Johansson, Zinedine Zidane, Kate Moss and Gerard Pique collaborated with Mango
- Zara – presents trendy clothing for the whole family at affordable prices
This is a universal summer shoe worn by people of all ages, both women and men. Lightweight textile slippers on jute soles are very comfortable and look elegant on the feet.
4. The Guitar
One of the best things you can buy in Madrid as a gift for a musician is a six-stringed Spanish guitar. The instrument was not invented in Spain, but it was this country that became one of the proponents of guitar music.
Local manufacturers are not part of the best, but the quality of their products is much higher than, say, the Chinese. Here are some of the most famous Spanish guitar brands:
- ALHAMBRA – produces flamenco and classic guitars, there are models for adults and children, a very wide price range
- Almansa – more than 100 years old company where most of the work is done manually, there are relatively inexpensive models of guitars
- ADMIRA – specializes in classical guitars, many handmade models, the body is coated with special varnish for better preservation of the instrument
5. Pearls of Majorica
Mallorca is famous not only for its resorts, but also for its organic pearl factory. Scientists in the laboratory were able to fully reproduce and improve the pearl production process taking place in the mollusk shell.
The production is quite complicated and it takes 10-30 days to make one pearl.
First, based on organic elements, a pearl essence identical to natural is made from the sea. Then it is applied in layers to the core of an opaline crystal. Careful grinding of each layer helps to avoid roughness and curvature of the finished pearl.
The result is a perfect pearl that has a beautiful rainbow shine, an absolutely smooth surface, uniform color, and strength that is much higher than that of natural or cultured pearls.
The factory has an outlet, a logistics center and a design studio. Here they create beautiful jewelry made of pearls and silver 925, complementing them with inserts of synthetic and semiprecious stones.
In Madrid you will find them in the following company stores:
- Majorica , Calle de la Princesa, 56
- Majorica en El Corte Ingles
- Calle de Raimundo Fernandez Villaverde, 79
This dance embodies the soul of a Spanish woman. With quick clear movements, flexible gestures of the hands, the flamenco dancer tells the story of love and hatred, jealousy and betrayal, or fidelity and happiness.
What souvenirs can you buy in Madrid for compatriots in love with Spain? Of course, an elegant dress or blouse with a skirt for dancing. Hair combs and hairpins with lush flowers are also very good. But it’s better to take dance shoes only if you know the correct size!
This accessory is so popular that the Spaniards even came up with a special sign language. With the help of a fan, various messages can be transmitted, as a rule, addressed to a lady to a cavalier. For example, “You are being rude” or “I like you”.
Fans are made of paper, fabric, feathers, and the most expensive are made of mother of pearl. They are colorful models painted with paintings from life in the past centuries. They are sold everywhere, and if you want an exclusive handmade fan, visit the Casa de Diego store at Puerta del Sol, 12.
8. Mantones de Manila
Once upon a time, Spanish sailors brought Chinese silk scarves of superior quality to their loved ones from faraway Manila. Spanish women themselves embroidered flowers on them and decorated them with tassels. And so the famous Mantones de Manila, aka the Manila shawl, appeared.
Nowadays, it is rather a festive accessory than an everyday wear. It is also adorned by flamenco dancers.
9. Cocktail hats
In recent years, Spanish brides increasingly replacing the traditional veil with a cocktail or a wide-brimmed hat. The fashion was imported from England, where guests present at royal family marriages come in such outfits. The Spaniards decided to keep up, and today in Madrid’s stores a hat will be found even for the most capricious lady.
Tip – Madrid’s stores traditionally open between 9–10 in the morning and are open until 14:00. Then everyone closes on a siesta until 17:00 and continues to work until 20:00-21:00. Keep this in mind when planning your shopping!
In Madrid there are shops that sell hats of really good quality. Take a look at the oldest La Favorita CB store on Plaza Mayor, 25.
There is a wide selection of winter felt hats and summer straw boarders, as well as berets and caps.
11. Real Madrid Football Club
According to FIFA, this is the best football club of the twentieth century. So, what should you bring from Madrid as a gift for a football fan or a fan of Cristiano Ronaldo, if not Real Madrid?
The club’s official store is located at 31 Calle Gran Via. At the entrance, visitors will find a statue of Ronaldo, welcoming visitors to the exciting world of sports.
The store sells Real Madrid official merchandise, footballs, calendars with photos of Real Madrid players and other things. A great place for fans, although the goods cost on the higher side.
What to buy for children in Madrid
What can you get for children from Madrid? Of course, local sweets!
Turron is a traditional Spanish delicacy, which the housewives used to prepared only for Christmas. It contains egg white, honey, sugar and almonds.
In France, Turron is called nougat, as we also call it in English.
Nowadays, many varieties of turron are made by adding chocolate, fruit, popcorn, popped rice, etc to it. Usually the Gijon Turron is softer whereas the Alicantean turrons are hard.
13. Violet sweets
For over a hundred years, on the square de Canalejas, in the house number 7 there is a tiny shop La Violeta. Violet sweets are made here.
The simplest is candied flowers in the form of small sweets. But you also get a assortment of chocolate sweets with violets, marmalade, candy and caramel in them.
Everything is very beautifully packed and there are boxes designed for a specific event in life: baptism, communion, wedding.
The recipe of these treats has not changed over the entire existence of the company. It is kept in strict confidence, so violet delicacies can only be bought in Madrid.
14. Vanilla dolls
The relatively young brand Paola Reina , which is only 25 years old, has already managed to win the hearts of residents of 33 countries on 5 continents.
The company has a team of designers who carefully think about the appearance of the doll and its outfit. The face of each is made by hand, so it looks original and alive.
Puppets are released in collections. The range of Paola Reina has baby dolls, teenage girls, fairy-tale characters and soft printed, flexible and articulated figures. They are made from environmentally friendly vinyl, and the light vanilla aroma emanating from these toys is natural and non-toxic.
Paola Reina make dolls of different races and nationalities. This naturally helps to instill tolerance in children from early on.
The company separately produces clothes and shoes for the dolls. So you can bring new clothes not only to your daughter or niece, but also to her favorite doll.
The Spanish love a good laugh. So they could not help but point out the pooper that is usually depicted in the nativity scene during Christmas.
Over time, the imagination broke out, and now Spain is producing figures of pooping politicians, football players, members of the royal families and other celebrities.
Puzzled what to bring from Madrid to a friend with a good sense of humor?
Look for a caganer representing his idol – it will be an unforgettable gift!
Looking for cheap souvenirs from Madrid? Have you got fed up with trinkets and magnets? Then buy thimbles for your friends.
Artisans make them from porcelain or metal and decorate with the finest patterns and beautiful paintings, which turns an ordinary household decoration into a work of art.
17. The Spanish Bull
Bullfighting is a sight not for the faint of heart. If you think you are up for it, visit the Las Ventas Arena on Alcalá Street.
Since 1929, bull-fights have been held here every Sunday. The season lasts from March to October.
As a souvenir, why not grab a figurine of a bull. They are sold in all souvenir shops of different sizes and colors.
18. Olive oil
Spain is the land of olive groves. A bottle of first-class cold pressed oil here will cost you much less than at home. Be sure to stock up on this healthy and tasty product for yourself and your family.
Tip – For shopping, we recommend the San Miguel Market. It remains open even during a siesta hours, the assortment is huge and the service and quality of goods are very good. In addition, ready-made meals and drinks are also sold here.
The most popular meat delicacy that tourists bring from Madrid is dried pork ham. Jamon is of two types – Iberico and Serrano. Between them there is a significant difference in price and taste, so you should learn to distinguish between them before you buy.
Iberico is made from a breed of black Iberian pigs that graze in the wild and move actively. Due to this lifestyle, streaks of fat are formed in the meat, which gives the finished product its juiciness.
Iberico ripening lasts 8–36 months. It’s color ranges from purple to pale red. The price starts at 30 euros per kilogram and can reach €300 for some varieties.
On the other hand, white pigs are used for the manufacture of serrano ham. These animals are kept in a pen and fed mainly with dry feed.
The aging period of this type of jamon is usually no more than 7 months. The color of the meat is closer to pink, and the price is about 15-20 euros per kilogram.
In Madrid, delicious pork sausages, chorizo and fouet, are sold.
A lot of paprika is added to the chorizo, which is why it is bright red on the cut and piquantly aromatic in taste.
Fuet is dark brown and covered with white mold on top. Olives, cheese or figs are often added to this sausage variety.
21. Paella set
With it, you can cook a delicious Spanish paella at home! The set includes the broth powder, a special low frying pan and a special kind of rice that absorbs liquid well.
Spain makes some excellent wines with a rich range of aromas. You will find the best varieties in the following stores:
- Vino & Compania , Plaza de Olavide, 5
- Lavinia , Calle de Jose Ortega y Gasset, 16
- Bodegas Mariano Madrueno , Calle del Postigo de San Martin, 6
What can not be taken out of Madrid
Spanish law is friendly to tourists and in every possible way that promotes the sale of their goods to foreign citizens.
Passing customs control in Spain safely will help you comply with simple rules such as follows.
- Do not export items of historical, national, or artistic value.
- Make a declaration for cash in the amount of 2500–8400 euros. A smaller amount does not require registration, for a larger one you will need documents authorizing the export.
- Keep receipts for expensive purchases, especially jewelry and antiques.
- Remember that alcohol and tobacco can only be taken by adults. The number of strong drinks should not exceed 5 liters per person, wine can be carried almost without any limit. However, if it is more than 90 liters, you will need proof that you are not carrying it for sale.
Madrid is one of the most beautiful cities on the planet with many ancient buildings and attractions. Shopping here is equally delightful, flavored with a quick rumble of local sellers.
If at first the Spaniards shock a little with their emotional and loud manner of speaking, over time you realize that in essence they are very kind-hearted people!
Proper organization of travel will help you to have time to see all the most interesting sights in Madrid.