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Top Shopping Destinations for 2012

Shopping is a language that’s internationally recognised and loved no matter where you live – usually for fashion items but also homewares, antiques, food and plenty more! There are many cities that are celebrated for their fabulous shopping possibilities, so this is a (by no means exhaustive) shortlist of some of the best shopping destinations from different parts of the world:

New York – USA

No matter what part of New York you’re in, you’re not likely to be more than a few blocks away from a shopping opportunity, whether it’s big-name brands, unique independent stores or huge malls you’re looking for.

Situated right at the centre of the action, Fifth Avenue caters for every pocket as well as being conveniently placed for many of New York’s sightseeing landmarks. Here you’ll find heavyweights such as Louis Vuitton and Tiffany’s just a short walk from high-street names like H&M and Forever 21, as well as the cavernous Abercrombie & Fitch flagship store!

New York is also home to some of the world’s most famed department stores including Saks, Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s. Bargain-hunters can also revel in cut-rate designer fashions at Century 21 – conveniently placed for sightseers visiting Ground Zero.

If outlet shopping is your thing and you have a day to spare, you can take a one-hour bus journey out to Woodbury Common, which has over 220 stores including sportswear, designer shops, home furnishings, jewellery and loads more at knock-down prices.

Dubai – UAE

The people of Dubai love shopping so much, they even hold a festival in its honour! The annual Dubai Shopping Festival is a month-long event that attracts about 3 million tourists to Dubai every year. It began in 1996 and holds daily car raffles, nightly firework shows and countless other events, as well as massive shopping discounts and promotions, which is an even more attractive prospect when you consider that shopping in Dubai is already tax-free.

Mall-shopping is often the most practical option in Dubai, as soaring summer temperatures mean it’s too hot to roam the city streets for half the year. One of the most highly recommended is The Village Mall just off Jumeirah Road, which houses a mix of unusual, unique designer shops and more popular international brands. The Mall of the Emirates is one of the city’s largest shopping centres whose highlights include the world-famous indoor ski slope.

Another unmissable aspect of Dubai shopping is the Souks, which are frequented by tourists and locals alike, all doing their best to haggle for a bargain!

Milan – Italy

Milan is one of the world’s fashion capitals and is synonymous with the biggest names in designer fashion such as Armani, Versace, Dolce & Gabbana and Gucci, all of whom set up their original boutiques in this city.

As Italy’s top source of ‘alta moda’ (high fashion), Milan is home to one of the four “International Fashion Weeks”. Milan fashions are seen as the epitome of chic (albeit not necessarily cheap!) – the headquarters of most of Italy’s top designers are housed here, so even if you’re not intending to buy, a visit to their flagship stores could be just as much considered sightseeing as shopping!

Fortunately, most of these huge names are conveniently housed in the Square made up of Via della Spiga, Montenapoleone, Manzoni and Sant’Andrea. For those travelling without the gold-plated credit card, you can find designer items slashed to half price at the 10 Corso Como Outlet. However, bargain-hunters should beware of street traders touting replica designer rip-offs.

London – England

As with any capital city, London is as much a destination for shopping trips as it is for taking in the sights. Whether you’re shopping for a bespoke suit from Savile Row or something more alternative and unique from Camden Market, London’s underground system can transport you round the city in a matter of minutes.

Oxford Street is a heaven for high street shopping, although the crowds and queues can be quite hellish! For a more upmarket experience, Mayfair or Knightsbridge are both home to many of the big designer names.

London is also home to Harrods, the world’s most famous department store and as much a tourist attraction as a shopping destination. Harrods is probably most famed for the claim that they could obtain “Everything for Everyone, Everywhere” and the subsequent rumour that US President Reagan once ordered a baby elephant from the store. Other department stores include the flagship Selfridges and Harvey Nichols, as well as food emporium Fortnum & Mason.

Note: It may not escape notice that Paris, France is not listed; this is not because it isn’t deemed a “Top Shopping Destination”, but rather because I wanted to get a good global spread, having already included London and Milan which are also within Europe.

Happy Shopping!