[Updated 11 June 2021]
Europe is high on the list for avid travellers thanks to a number of reasons. The diverse culture, amazing architecture and limitless adventures are just a tip of the iceberg ? It is also quickly becoming a haven for luxury shopping. With amazing deals treasured within beautiful boutiques, it’s no wonder Europe also happens to be one of the best-dressed continents in the world!
How is it cheaper?
Quite simply: VAT refunds for NON-EU citizens
There was a point last year when the price difference between places like Asia and US, compared to Europe, were dramatic – brand lovers that snapped up this opportunity to invest in an extra handbag or FIVE, had Brexit and currency crashes to thank. Since then, labels have harmonised prices to cover their losses and increases have meant that prices across the globe are far more competitive?
For non-EU citizens shopping in Europe, savings can still be considerable though as they will be eligible for a tax refund. Bear in mind that currency exchange rates, varying tax amounts, service fees, and any import duties the respective countries may have will affect the overall price paid, and in turn, money saved.
Deals on designer – Spilling the tea!
Due to the number of variables involved, it’s difficult to tell exactly which country is the cheapest to buy from so it’s still best to do your research and make the necessary calculations closer to the time of travel for a real idea on figures.
I can, however, spill the tea on where you are guaranteed to find some of the best prices ☺️ The keyword to remember is LUXURY and so it’s almost an abomination to use cheap in the same sentence: let’s stick to BEST DEALS. The main idea is that you can save a lot of money by shopping at the right places!
Please don’t expect me to uncover a $10 Chanel bag - that’s one type of magic I just can’t do?
1. Louis Vuitton in France
Waltzing into flagship stores like the Champs Elysees to pick out beautiful leather goods as your gorgeous heels grace the perfectly polished floor is a bag lover’s dream. However, these iconic stores, including Louis Vuitton are also infamous for their queues, bustling with keen customers buying right up to their allowed quotas. Staff are often very busy and so unless you know exactly what
you want, purchases can feel quite rushed and the experience can be somewhat underwhelming?
For a less hectic experience, try Avenue Montaigne or the Galleries Lafayette
. To avoid buyer’s remorse on any big purchases, do as much research beforehand and if you are after something in particular, remember you can always call boutiques in advance to check if your desired item is in stock and for an up-to-date price which you can then go on to compare.
P.S: Galleries Lafayette is part of our 9D8N Paris itinerary!
Credit: Mathieu Lebreton on Flickr
Stores like Le Bon Marché
in Paris, will actually give you your VAT refund on site, which is handy and genius on their part, seeing as you will most likely put that money right back into their economy!
2. Givenchy in Paris
Credit: Sandra Dewi on Facebook
You are more likely to find the best prices on French brands in France, and Italian ones in Italy. So whilst gallivanting through boutiques in Paris, keep an eye out for deals on the likes of Givenchy, Chanel, YSL and Louboutin.
Of course, this is not a hard and fast rule, but hopefully it helps give you some direction. La Vallee Village
is an outlet mall on the outskirts of the city packed with amazing Parisian style at discounted prices. For the ultimate shopping experience, check out these brands that are cheaper in Paris than back home
3. Burberry in London
If you are looking to save up to 30-40% off store prices, outlets are the one for you! Burberry has a few brilliant spots in the UK including Bicester Village
and the Burberry Factory Shop
in London. The latter is getting more and more popular by the day as it is a mere bus ride from central London. The tidy and spacious shop offers an overall enjoyable shopping experience.
Like most outlets, expect to find slightly out of season stock from official stores, particularly outerwear, jeans and shoes as opposed to handbags and accessories. Don’t rule these out completely though, you just never know! A bit of a tip, try calling the store in advance to find out when they are expecting their next delivery and be there as soon as they open so you can get first dibs and hopefully land a brilliant bargain. Good luck! And for more affordable buys, check out these brands that are cheaper in London than back home
4. Saint Laurent in Serravalle
The largest outlet mall in Europe, Designer Outlet Serravalle
is a short drive from Milan boasting hundreds of high to medium end brands. Beside Saint Laurent, Versace, D&G and Robert Cavalli are also some of the top brands you can find with a potential discount of 30-50%. And if you’re lucky, maybe even up to 70%!
5. Gucci in Italy
Nestled in the beautiful hills of Tuscany, The Mall
is an upscale outlet bursting with both Italian and non-Italian brands. Each brand has its own beautifully presented expansive store. There is free onsite parking and a chic café with a gorgeous rooftop view. Get ready to spend an entire day shopping as you scout for amazing deals, including 50% off original prices and impeccable quality. Gucci’s factory outlet is at The Mall and new clothes and accessories are shipped in everyday ?! Their s
tock is occasionally out of season and The Mall can get very busy with tourists, so be prepared for the hustle and bustle.
Credit: Cindy Style by Fabiola Aliu on Facebook Although it is an outlet, it is still designer brands with designer prices. Remember
that word ‘cheap’? Yeah, we left that at the start of this article? You can expect to find Moncler, Ferragamo, Valentino, Versace and TODS, just to name a few.
6. Mulberry in the Netherlands
Credit: Designer Outlet Roermond on Facebook
Designer outlet Roermond
is located just 20 minutes from the border with Germany, and is possibly one of the most visited outlets in the entire area (not surprising since they might offer up to 70% off designer goods!).
Expect to find spacious stores and a great variety of products including current season designs. Popular brands here include Prada, Zegna, Tag Heur watches, Mulberry, Kipling and many more.
7. Hermes in Ireland
Credit: Brown Thomas on Facebook
The home-grown luxury department store Brown Thomas
is located on the colourfully commercial, Grafton Street. Housing a wonderful selection of luxury brands, very friendly staff and exquisitely put together displays, this is easily one of Ireland's more popular spots for leisurely shopping. Brand lovers have reported to have enjoyed up to 20-50% on luxury names during sale seasons, and were just as excited about the outstanding customer service they received.
Again, thanks to tax relief, non-EU shoppers can save considerably all year round on
brands like Hermes. Always remember to take your passport to qualify for the refund and check with the store beforehand if you are looking for something in particular.
So, which European country is the cheapest for Luxury brands?
Prices for luxury goods across European countries are more or less the same; the main variant is the VAT that is partly refunded before you depart from your last European destination. But do remember to check rates closer to the time of travel for a better idea on actual prices. Seeing as savings across the continent is likely to be nominal, pick a destination which ticks all your other boxes too. I mean, surely you will be travelling for more than just retail therapy – right??
And if that’s not enough shopping for you, here’s another list of 7 best places for luxury shopping in Europe! Go shop till you drop! We know we definitely would ????!