These Are the World's Cheapest Shopping Destinations

Kraków is among the cheapest shopping destinations in the world
Kraków is among the cheapest shopping destinations in the world | © Yevhen velishchuk / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Nick Dauk
30 March 2021

A shopping spree spends a little different when you’re on holiday. Unfortunately, unless you’re a pro at window shopping, it’s way too easy to blow your budget in cities like Milan, London and Paris. Thankfully, there are malls and markets across the map that won’t leave you with new clothes and empty pockets. Grab clothes, jewellery, art, souvenirs and more without breaking the bank at the cheapest shopping destinations in all corners of the world.

Krakow

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Get ready to pop some tags in Poland. Krakow brings together modern malls with medieval markets to offer everything from the latest designer trends to traditional, handcrafted goods. Florianska Street is a tourist haven so don’t feel bad walking away from a high price tag; venture away from Old Town and into the Great Polish Flea Market to have a banter over antiques and relics of yesterday. Hala Targowa is another fantastic flea market where haggling over a few zloty is commonplace.

Hoi An, Vietnam

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If Hanoi is for foodies, Hoi An is for shopaholics. While Vietnam is known for its budget-friendly shopping, Hoi An is indisputably the country’s capital for shopping. Many of the high-quality brand names dominating the shelves in the West are manufactured in the country and sold at jaw-dropping prices. Hand-stitched clothing and shoes sit alongside handmade ceramics and decor. One rule: never settle for the listed price. In Hoi An, an interested buyer with slick negotiating skills can negotiate down to one-third of the price.

Buenos Aires

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Buenos Aires will temp shoppers to the Argentinaian capital with huge savings. All of the big name brands from the United States, Asia, and Europe have made it to South America, and the great exchange rate is music to any budget-shopper’s ears. Before browsing the bargain basement prices though, shop local from the start in Palermo Viejo. Argentinian brands and handmade goods are both unique and cheap. Mercado San Telmo and the “Feria Americana” used clothing stores are the best places to find vintage, gently-worn, and one-of-a-kind items.

Hong Kong

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Hong Kong is hands-down one of the best cities for shopping in Asia, thanks in part to the overly helpful salespeople. Good luck escaping their insistence and influence; many of these clerks will shadow your every step until you find what you’re looking for, including a few knockoffs that will make you do a double take. As one of the cheapest haunts for bargain hunters around the globe, a week of shopping in Hong Kong is well-worth the company of a few persistent salespeople.

Shenzhen, China

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Hands not full after a day of rummaging in Hong Kong? Hop a train and continue the shopping spree in less than an hour in Shenzhen. Bounce between mall after mall for familiar finds. Those who love the thrill of the hunt should lace up comfortable shoes to stroll the stores and smalls lining the pedestrian streets. Keep a full day free for more than a hundred storefronts in the massive LuoHu Commercial City.

Istanbul

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Shopping in Istanbul is our preferred Turkish delight. To the uninitiated, Istanbul may not top the list for dream shopping destinations. One trip to a Turkish bazaar, however, will immediately change that. The renowned Grand Bazaar is one of the oldest markets on the planet, and with over 4,000 shops, it’s also one of the largest. Bargain hunters will revel in antiques, carpets, jewellery, and clothing, all available at affordable prices after a little friendly negotiating.

Prague

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World-famous Prague is the ideal location for a romantic day trip from Vienna
World-famous Prague is the ideal location for a romantic day trip from Vienna | © Andrew Duke / Alamy Stock Photo
Prague’s magical architecture may rank high as one of Europe’s most beautiful cities, but it doesn’t carry the high price tag like its contemporaries. Shopping in the Czech Republic’s capital is a little unconventional as there is no “proper” shopping district. Instead, an eclectic mix of independently owned markets, quaint boutique shops, and larger malls will send shoppers on a spree through every inch of the city. From the Fashion Area on the outskirts of the city to the pop-up shops near the Charles Bridge, Prague’s shopping scene is definitely worth czeching out.

Barcelona

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Bargain hunting in Spain? Consider Barcelona the best bet for budget-friendly shopping. La Plaza de Catalunya and Las Ramblas are just two of the zones where a credit card can rack up major points on the latest threads. Large chains, mom-and-pops, and independent designers compete for cash, offering shoppers the opportunity to grab the latest name-brand threads as well as one-of-a-kind must-haves for the closet. Big names like MNG Mango and Zara are worth a visit, but shoppers should also keep their eyes peeled for Ivori and Tot-Hom as well.

Madrid

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Barcelona isn’t the only steal in Spain. According to the Globe Shopper City Index, Madrid and Barcelona tie for rank in the top ten as the best cities for shopping in Europe. Unlike the shops in the shadow of La Sagrada Familia, Madrid is the destination for those with rich tastes. Neighbourhoods like Salamanca and the Mercado Fuencarral dazzle with luxurious brands that won’t dent the wallet. With more than 50,000 boutiques, stores, and flea markets, there’s ample opportunity to find great deals on brands across the spectrum.

Sao Paulo

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Looking for a high-end luxury shopping experience with no need to pinch pennies? While everyone else heads to Europe or Asia for cheap finds, savvy shoppers should flock to Sao Paulo instead. Brazilian bargains don’t get any better than at SP Mall. Skip the pricey international brands on Rua Oscar Freire and head to the weekend markets like Praca Benedicto Calixto and Praca da Liberdade for an underpriced reprieve full of Brazilian-made leather goods.
These recommendations were updated on March 30, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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