The world's best shopping streets where independent boutiques still thrive

New York
Credit cards at the ready! Our experts pick the places they head to for fun, fashion and retail therapy - © Richard B. Levine All Rights Reserved/Richard Levine

Some people travel to far-flung destinations for the food, going out of their way to hunt down exotic flavours and weird and wonderful local delicacies; others go for culture, planning itineraries fit to bursting with visits to churches, museums and art galleries. Me, I go for the shopping.

I’m not talking about jetting off somewhere with an empty suitcase so that I can return with it stuffed full of cut-price designer T-shirts and jeans, like you used to be able to do on a trip to America, or spending the majority of a European city break darting in and out of high-street chain stores, marvelling at the ludicrously cheap prices (though I do have one friend who plans her trips around whether or not the destination has a Zara). I’m talking about discovering those streets lined with indie boutiques selling pieces that tell you everything you need to know about the city you find yourself in.

Some of my most treasured possessions were purchased on my travels. Like the little black dress I hunted down in a vintage store in Paris, which makes me feel the tiniest bit more like Coco Chanel every time I wear it. Or the spice shop in Mumbai where I designed my own incense sticks, their intensely pungent aroma filling my flat every time I light one (only on special occasions, obviously). Or the multicoloured papier-mâché skull I bought from the stall on the side of the road in Mexico, which now sits proudly on my mantelpiece, reminding me of mescal-fuelled nights every time I look at it.

There’s something truly magical about discovering a genuinely independent store or, better yet, a whole street of them. And your reward for tracking them down? The very best kind of holiday souvenir. Here The Telegraph's destination experts share their favourite shopping streets from around the globe.

Luciana Bellini

Find the best shopping streets by city


Rue Vieille du Temple

Rue Vieille du Temple shines out among the Marais’s historic, boutique-filled lanes. Connecting the more touristy southern quartier of Paris with the hip Haut Marais, it stretches north from rue de Rivoli. Starting in the south, fashion names such as Karl Lagerfeld (No 25) rub shoulders with French sunglasses brand Izipizi (No 46), on the cusp of becoming a cult staple. Further north at No 105, Maison Labiche’s customisable embroidered T-shirts are de rigueur for blending in – and a great gift. Similarly sweet if you’re shopping for Parisian threads in, you can’t go wrong with the brightly coloured prints at family-owned boutique, Soi (No 104) .

L’Officine Universelle Buly, Paris
Be sure to drop by L’Officine Universelle Buly’s apothecary-meets-coffee shop

Passing the back of the Musée Picasso makes a natural point to pause for food, either with lunch at laid-back bistro Glou at No 101 or by stocking up on Bordier butter, artisanal cider and salted caramel at Breizh Café’s epicerie at No 109, the city’s most famous spot for a pancake pilgrimage. As the road widens, stop to admire the honeyed stone facades that typify the Marais’s leaning town houses, or detour to browse the jewellery stalls that set up on weekends outside the oldest covered market in Paris, the Marché des Enfants Rouges.

Pick up preppy nautical staples at Saint James (No 116) or a directional shirt at FrenchTrotters (No 128), then stroll a few steps further on to where the street becomes rue des Filles du Calvaire. Your eye is sure to be caught by Delphine Pariente’s engraved jewellery at nouvel amour or Papier Tigre’s stationery, at, respectively, 10 and 5 rue des Filles du Calvaire.

Be sure to drop by L’Officine Universelle Buly’s apothecary-meets-coffee shop for an espresso and one last purchase, just around the corner at 45 rue de Saintonge.

Stay nearby

For a fashion-forward stay, opt for the Christian Lacroix-designed Hôtel du Petit Moulin, tucked behind the facade of a historical bakery from which the hotel takes its name. Inside you’ll find a jewellery box of joyfully individual rooms, arranged around the original 1600s staircase. Hôtel du Petit Moulin (00 33 142 741 010; has double rooms from £240, room only. You can travel from London to Paris with Eurostar ( from £80 return.

Find more of the best shops in Paris in our expert guide

Eleanor Alrdige and Hannah Meltzer


Store Strandstræde

When it comes to Copenhagen’s shopping streets, Strøget tends to get most of the crowds and Jægersborggade most of the hype. Flying under the radar, even though it’s just off the tourist hotspot of Nyhavn, is Store Strandstræde, which in recent years has been quietly filling up with chic little shops. It’s not the cheapest of streets but it ticks the quality boxes.

Yvonne Koné at No 3 sells beautifully simple leather bags and accessories, including her popular take on a bum bag, a perennial bestseller in this city of cyclists. A few doors down at No 7 is Meotine, where the rails are filled with modern-minimal trench coats and jackets, followed, at No 9, by the flagship boutique for Mark Kenly Domino Tan, celebrated for his refined tailoring.

Danish eco-friendly brand Aiayu is the place to pick up super-soft sweaters, scarves and accessories - Stine Heilmann

Carry on along this side of the road, passing, among others, Louise Grønlykke (No 19; a goldsmith who takes inspiration from Arabic styles) and Skall Studio (No 21; a home-grown fashion brand with a strong focus on sustainability – check out the signature range of knitwear, made from organic Danish wool in neutral shades). At the end of the row, you come to Geismars (No 21), famous for its fine linens. Fitting one of its luxury eiderdown duvets in your case might be a squeeze but you could maybe find room for some Egyptian cotton pyjamas.

Across the road at No 18, nab one of the outside tables at Nebbiolo to relax with a glass of Italian wine and an antipasti platter before heading back along the south side of the street. Here, highlights include Aesop (No 8) and Le Labo (No 14a) plus Aiayu (No 12a), a Danish eco-friendly brand, which is the place to pick up super-soft sweaters, scarves and accessories. Knitted clutches and cashmere socks are popular buys. If you’re ready for more refreshment, cross back over the road just before you reach Nyhavn and enter the recently opened Restaurant Anton (No 3), where you can admire beautiful 19th-century murals as you tuck into a smørrebrød lunch.

Stay nearby

71 Nyhavn Hotel (0045 3343 6200; has double rooms from £319 including breakfast. You can fly from London, Birmingham, Manchester and Aberdeen to Copenhagen with Scandinavian Airlines ( from £118 return.

Find more of the best shops in Copenhagen in our expert guide.

Suzanne King

New York

East 9th Street

New York has its famous shopping streets, such as Fifth Avenue, and its infamous neighbourhoods for maxing out your credit cards, like SoHo. But why shop where everyone else goes and at all the same big-box retailers you can find in every other large city around the world?

Instead, point yourself to the East Village, Manhattan’s punkiest neighbourhood where indie boutiques rub elbows with funky wine bars and Michelin-starred restaurants. Specifically, aim your pocketbook at East Ninth Street, between Second Avenue and Avenue A. Start on the east end of Avenue A and East 9th Street and walk westward, first popping into Mr. Throwback at No. 321, a shop that specialises in vintage sports t-shirts and shoes, and then check out Fucking Awesome, appropriately enough at No. 420, for hip skater apparel, clubwear, and retro fashions.

east 9th street
Head to the East Village for a more authentic shopping experience in New York - Credit: Steve Tulley / Alamy Stock Photo/Steve Tulley / Alamy Stock Photo

Cross First Avenue and make a b-line for Wicked Heathens (No. 337), a diminutive spot selling handmade jewellery with an emphasis on crystals – that purple amethyst might look real nice hanging from a leather-braided necklace. Right next door at Fabulous Fanny’s (No. 335), you can peruse the plus-sized selection of sunglasses from the 1970s and ‘80s. A couple of doors down, Ibiza NYC (No. 321) is a nearly 50-year-old shop that sells womenswear made by indie designers from around the planet. At No. 309 is Spooksville, a gift shop with an emphasis on the weird and wacky, such as plates with the image of an evil eye, art books, and funky socks with cheeky phrases on them.

If all that shopping builds up an appetite—as it tends to do—then nab a table at Veselka, on the corner of East 9th Street and Second Avenue, a beloved 24-hour Ukrainian diner that’s been serving pierogies and American-style pancakes to hip and hungry New Yorkers since 1954 when the neighbourhood was filled with Ukrainian immigrants.

Stay nearby

Moxy East Village (001 212 288 6699; has double rooms from £400, roomonly. You can fly from Heathrow or Gatwick to JFK-New York or Newark, New Jersey with British Airways ( from £600 return.

Find more of the best shops in New York with our expert guide.

David Farley


Carrer de Verdi

Once an independent village, later subsumed into the urban fabric of Barcelona, the neighbourhood of Gràcia still has a distinct feel, with narrow low-rise streets and an unpretentious, animated air. Its central access is the Carrer de Verdi, which bisects the barrio north to south and is home to quirky boutiques, authentic tapas bars and an excellent eponymous cinema (at No 32).

Walking up from the buzzy Plaça de la Revolució, the first of these, at No 3, is jeweller Pia Barcelona, which specialises in precious stones and gem therapy, inspired by Asian ideas and aesthetics. Nearby is the friend El 28 de Verdi at No 13, where you’ll find everything you need for the red carpet, along with eco-friendly, fairtrade bags made by disadvantaged women.

At No 17 Picnic is a Scandi-influenced concept store with gaily patterned shirts, cooler-than-thou shades and acrylic jewellery, while nearby at Nos 15 and 20 are the two family-run El Piano fashion boutiques, where you might get lucky and unearth a cut-price gem in one of their frequent sales.

Nana Banana at No 24 specialises in bold blocky clothes aimed at a youthful crowd, with a gender-free line, affordable handmade jewellery and some especially funky recycled plastic baskets, perfect for shopping or the beach. Further up at No 37 Streeters has a great selection of trainers from Veja, Munich and others, and then it’s time for a caffè and cannoli pitstop at La Pasticceria de Gràcia, an Italian bakery at No 58.

Check out the delicate handmade jewellery at Art Centre (No 61) and maybe pick up a bottle of wine and some picnic nibbles or take part in a tasting at Wine Palace (No 67), but make sure to save some energy to sift through the racks of American vintage finds at Revolution (No 80).

Stay nearby

Seventy Barcelona (0034 93 012 12 70; is a colourful, plant-filled hotel with a youthful vibe. It has double rooms from £213, B&B. You can fly from London Gatwick, Stansted and various other UK airports to Barcelona with easyJet, Ryanair, Vueling and more, from £50 return.

Find more of the best shops in Barcelona with our expert guide.

Sally Davies

Los Angeles

North Vermont Avenue

Los Feliz, just south of the Griffith Observatory, has become one of LA’s most desirable neighbourhoods, full of cool, laid-back charm. Nowhere is this more apparent than on North Vermont Avenue, a row of eclectic shops and cafés that starts in earnest after the art deco Los Feliz cinema, known for its kitsch neon sign and starry ceiling. 

One of Los Angeles’s most beloved independent bookstores, Skylight Books, is a couple of doors down at No 1818. Bright and airy, with a tree growing through the middle, this shop is home to some of the city’s best book clubs, as well as regular author events, and is the place to come for quirky, hand-picked finds. Split into sections including feminism, atlases and almanacs and an excellent selection of graphic novels (housed in its Arts Annex further down the block), it’s easy to lose a few hours in here.

Skylight Books, Los Angeles
One of Los Angeles’s most beloved independent bookstores, Skylight Books

For one-off gifts head to Sumi’s (No 1812), which specialises in handmade wares by small businesses. It’s particularly known for handcrafted jewellery, some of which is made by owner Sumi Siegel herself.

Stop off at the quaint Little Knittery (No 1808), which stocks a selection of locally produced yarns and runs regular knitting and crochet workshops, before heading to popular labyrinthine vintage store Squaresville (No 1800), two floors crammed full of Fifties frocks, rock’n’roll T-shirts from the Eighties and the odd designer find, from Escada jackets to Christian Louboutin slingbacks – all at bargain prices.

Cross over Melbourne Avenue, with its cute flower stall, and take the next left to pay a visit to Kingswell (located at 4651 Kingswell Avenue), one of the best skate shops in Los Angeles. There you’ll find all the gear you need to join the city’s renowned skate scene, from customised decks to a hand-picked selection of skateboarding shoes.

Stay nearby

Hotel Covell (00 1 323 660 4300; has double rooms from £192, room only. Located just down the road, on Hollywood Boulevard, the boutique property has five stylish and eclectically designed suites to choose from. You can fly from London Gatwick to Los Angeles (LAX) with Norse Atlantic Airways ( from £340 return.

Find more of the best shops in Los Angeles with our expert guide.

Luciana Bellini


Lamb's Conduit Street

Bond Street may be world-famous for its luxury megabrands, but any Briton knows the capital has far better to offer on many of its smaller streets. For a superb selection in a still very central location, the city’s tastemakers prefer a stroll down Lamb’s Conduit Street in Bloomsbury.

This partially pedestrianised street is especially well known for menswear, but any lover of independent and cult fashion will enjoy browsing its stores. Sharp dressers will find particular pleasure in the impeccable men’s shirting at Alder & Green (No 38), handmade Italian ties and socks at 40 Colori at No 30, or easy cotton chore jackets and just-creased-enough linen shirts at Oliver Spencer (Nos 58 and 62). Get fitted for a bespoke suit at Henry Herbert (No 8 Lamb’s Conduit Passage) or Connock & Lockie (No 33), then find the shoes to go with it at Grenson (No 40) – its Nanette hiking boots have been in short supply ever since Holly Willoughby wore them on I’m a Celebrity. If you want to look really sharp, stop in at Huckle the Barber at No 55 for a wet shave, then pop in to Aesop (No 50) for skincare that actually lives up to the hype.

Huckle the Barber
If you want to look really dapper, stop in at Huckle the Barber for a wet shave

Stock up on T-shirts at Sunspel (No 42) and artsy, utilitarian separates at Toast’s menswear store (No 59) and Folk (No 49), whose dedicated men’s and women’s boutiques sandwich the beloved Noble Rot wine bar at No 51. Also worth a visit is London Undercover (No. 28), which sells hand-crafted umbrellas – essential if you get caught in a downpour. Lamb’s Conduit Street has also become a mini Mecca for chic optical eyewear. There’s French favourite Jimmy Fairly at No 41 and The Eye Place at No 44.

You can buy a bouquet at Dawson Flowers at No 43, then pop into interiors gold mine Pentreath & Hall – the entrance is around the corner at 17 Rugby Street – but not before dipping into La Fromagerie, London’s best cheese shop at No 52, and a great spot for breakfast or lunch. That said, so is Honey & Co; it’s best to reserve a table if you can, but it keeps its window counter open for walk-ins. Refuel with a coffee at Tutti’s (No 68), and don’t go home without dining at Ciao Bella (No 86-90), a local favourite, though you’ll have to book – it’s packed nearly every night.

Stay nearby

The Rosewood London (020 7781 8888; has double rooms from £597, B&B.

Find more of the best shops in London in our expert guide.

Tamara Abraham

Cape Town

Kalk Bay Main Road

Cresting Boyes Drive – high above the translucent waters of False Bay, just before you drop into the postcard view of Kalk Bay’s fishing harbour – is the first part of this shopping day, because part of what makes trawling Kalk Bay’s Main Road such a treat is the setting.

Kick off at the parking lot where Boyes Drive meets Main Road with a shot of Truth Coffee at Olympia Café (No 134) before heading upstairs to Kalk Bay Modern (No 136), one of the city’s most underrated galleries. Owner Cheryl Rumbak has an excellent eye, cramming KBM with a great selection of both well-known and emerging South African artists, as well as a range of well-curated crafts and designs (look out for Nic Bladen’s botanical jewellery). Stock changes regularly, of course, but aside from the more obviously famous (William Kentridge) you’ll encounter the likes of Nicolaas Maritz’s colourful abstracts and classic South African landscapes by Ben Coutouvidis. KBM also holds one of the largest collections of contemporary San (Bushmen) art in South Africa.

Next stop is a block north to browse the collection of leather bags, linen clothing and eclectic souvenirs in Miss Mrs & Friends (No 124) before passing Casa Boho (No 108; stocked with mostly Indian blockprint bedding). Keep an eye out for the entrance to Soul Design (100A) and pick out some fabulous handmade African jewellery that you’ll wear forever (great gifts too). Next door is Kalk Bay Co-Op (No 100), a hyperlocal collection of young designer stuff – funky beach bags, cushions, handmade stationery, ornaments. If you’re still keen to browse stick your head into Oh So Boho (No 96) – don’t miss the small but solid selection of shoes and bags, including the casual suede lace-ups known as “vellies”.

Kalk Bay Modern
Kalk Bay Modern is one of the Cape Town's most underrated galleries - Copyright 2018. All rights reserved.

For the prettiest frocks in gorgeous fabrics, cross the road to Jane Valken (located in the Kalk Bay Train Station building), all conveniently arranged in colour blocks. Then back across to forage for antiquities in Quagga Rare Books & Art (No 86), a cosy jumble of historic African maps, interesting skulls, bones, books and other objets collected over many years by the Curtis brothers.

If you’re big on T-shirts, don’t miss the large selection of local designs at Big Blue (No 82). Catacombes (No 71) has a great eye for cool, casual summerwear; next door at No 70 is Ska Clothing for incense-smelling hippie threads; directly behind is Whatnot & Chinatown for the largest collection of vintage bric-a-brac. Kalk Bay Books (No 62) is one of the few independent booksellers in the city, and very supportive of the local literature scene.

Just beyond is Artvark Gallery (No 48) for a broad selection of predominantly functional art, as well as paintings, jewellery, crafts and cards, and a coffee shop with a seaview. Anpa Jewellers (No 44) is where Andreas Betzold and Patrizia Litty create eye-catching contemporary pieces. There’s a bespoke service, too, where you can incorporate your choice from their collection of unusual gemstones, such as tourmaline and demantoid. (Note that Anpa closes for the winter months May to August)

Stay nearby

Chartfield Guest House (0027 21 788 3793; has 13 double rooms from £55, room only, as well as a selection of self-catering apartments all strolling distance from Kalk Bay’s Main Road. From November to March the best way to get here is with a direct Virgin Atlantic flight from Heathrow to Cape Town (, from £835 return.

Find more of the best shops in Cape Town in our expert guide.

Pippa de Bruyn


Galip Dede Caddesi

Once known to locals as “Music Alley”, owing to the sheer number of musical instrument shops lining its steep, narrow and cobbled length, today vibrant Galipdede Caddesi in Istanbul is as much about alternative clothing and trendy gift shops as it is about music. It’s fun to walk down, cheap to shop on and a couple of Beyoglu’s big tourist draws lie just off it.

First up is a narrow alley leading to the Galata Mevlevihanesi, today a fascinating museum but once a lodge for whirling dervishes, one of whose former members the street is named after. A little further down at No 33 is Zuhal Music, which stocks a cornucopia of traditional instruments, including Istanbul-made Agop and Mehmet cymbals. Next door at No 35 is Crash, a hip clothing outlet that has been selling a quirky range of T-shirts designed by local graphic artists for more than a decade.

Galata Towels
Galata Towels stocks a bewildering array of beautifully woven and patterned cotton pestemals (Turkish bath towels)

Grab a fresh juice from one of the shops opposite before continuing steeply down to Home Spa at No 61 to sample a range of artfully displayed, fragrant laurel and other naturally scented, Turkish-made olive-oil soaps. A little further along at No 60 is Galata Towels, which, despite its compact interior, stocks a bewildering array of beautifully woven and patterned cotton pestemals (Turkish bath towels). They double as ideal beach wraps.

Next stop is ultra-cool Aponia (No 101a), with its owner-designed-and-executed Istanbul-themed range of T-shirts and posters. Continue steeply down to the last stop at No 103, for Frog Records, with a fine selection of used, new and collectible vinyl, from jazz to rock and world to Turkish. Shopped out? The square at the foot of the iconic Galata Tower, just yards off Galip Dede Caddesi, is home to Guney, a long-standing, vibrant eating place serving cold beers and homely Turkish meals. Or head up the tower (queues permitting!) for panoramic views of the metropolis.

Stay nearby

The stylish boutique Georges Hotel (0090 212 244 2423,, fashioned from a beautiful 19th century apartment block, is just a few minutes’ walk from Galip Dede Caddesi. Doubles from £263, B&B. Flights to Istanbul from Gatwick start from £112 with Wizz Air (

Terry Richardson

The article was first published in September 2019, and has been revised and updated.