Incredible shopping experiences around the world

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By Lyndal Phillips

Fancy a spot of skiing when you pop in to the shops? How about a little underwater adventure between trying on shoes and having a coffee?

No longer just a necessary chore, the concept of ‘shopping’ has expanded to become a lifestyle choice. International shopping centres are becoming travel destinations.  The reason they’re attracting crowds is that they’ve been designed to encompass extreme sports, cultural immersion and educational activities.

Grab your passport, and an empty suitcase for an international shopping expedition with an adventurous twist!

Shopping The Dubai Mall, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Almost anything is possible inside the largest shopping mall in the world, The Dubai Mall. Attracting more than 50 million people every year, this extraordinary mall will provide you with a shopping experience unlike any other.

As a visitor, you can explore an underwater zoo and an aquarium complete with a walk-through shark tunnel.  Alternatively, you could find respite from the intense desert heat by the Olympic-sized ice rink, or by viewing the world’s largest choreographed fountain show.

The Dubai Mall is more than an adventure playground. If you’re a serious shopper you can browse more than 1,200 different shops where everything from high end brands and world class products to local bargains and travel souvenirs is on offer.

Shopping the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Milan, Italy

The magnificent Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II opened in Milan in 1877. This mall is famous for its stunning architecture, colourful glass ceilings and spectacular glass dome.

The Galleria is one of the world’s oldest, and most picturesque, shopping malls. It connects two of Milan’s most popular tourist destinations: The Duomo and Teatro Alla Scala.

The combination of beautiful architecture, world class shopping and delectable Italian food ensure that this mall has remained a popular international shopping destination for more than a century.

Shopping West Edmonton Mall, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

The West Edmonton Mall is a shopping destination designed to cater for your inner thrill seeker. It is home to an indoor amusement park, as well as a water park. You’ll also find an 18-hole mini golf course, an indoor sea lion habitat as well as an ice rink, indoor shooting range, several nightclubs and a large music venue.

Visitors who do wish to shop will find plenty to please in one of the 800 stores set along the themed wings of the mall. Take a stroll through Chinatown, Bourbon Street and Europa Boulevard for shopping and dining with an international flavour.

 Shopping Madrid Xanadu, Madrid, Spain

Beanie and gloves are essential items for a visit to the Xanadu shopping complex in Madrid. The SnowZone ski park will provide you with year-round snow-filled fun. You can explore the two ski runs, complete with chair lifts, and let your snow angels loose in the designated snow play area.

Snow fun aside, Madrid Xanadu is one of the largest shopping malls in Europe. You can browse more than 200 shops, and then relax while watching a film in the state of the art cinema complex.

Shopping Siam Paragon, Bangkok, Thailand

The Siam Paragon is one of Asia’s largest malls, and a true international shopping destination. The luxury in-house hotel accommodation caters to the many guests who arrive every year to enjoy the ultimate shopping experience.

Tourists travel from around the world to visit the opera hall, movie theatre, bowling alley, art gallery and aquarium. You’ll find all of this and more within the Siam Paragon mall.

You’ll be delighted by the wide array of stores, and revived by the local cuisine and culinary experiences available at the mall’s many restaurants and bars.

Shopping Grand Bazaar, Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar is considered by many to be one of the world’s original shopping centres. An enormous indoor marketplace, the Grand Bazaar is comprised of 61 streets and is home to over 3,000 stalls.

Turkish textiles, ceramics, footwear and jewellery are among the ornate and original treasures you can find in this magical marketplace. A spectacular array of local produce and delicious street food is available for a cultural taste test.

A visit to the colourful and crowded Grand Bazaar can be overwhelming for the uninitiated. Guided tours of the market are available and recommended for tourists who wish to relax and soak up the smells and sounds of this ancient marketplace.

Include these extraordinary shopping destinations on your travel itinerary and you’ll never again need to park your partner on the ‘bored hubby seat!’

Where in the world is your ultimate shopping destination?

Main image: Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Milan, Italy |

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