17 April 2017 | Day 3 – La Roca Village Shopping
Factory Outlet Shopping
La Roca Village is one of the best shopping destinations in Barcelona. Because you can find multiple big brands all in one location and all offering discounted prices. It is around 40 minutes from Barcelona, and home to more than 130 fashion and lifestyle boutiques.
Options to get there
There are many options to get to La Roca Village. The cheapest option is probably the regular Sagales bus from Fabra y Puig station. This option may take longer if you do not stay near the station so you have to take into account the time to travel there. The bus is also not an express bus so more stops in between. Another option is the premium Shopping Express offered by La Roca Village but this would set you back by 20€ for a return journey.
We chose the Shopping Bus option offered by Sagales as this was the cheapest and most convenient for us. We went there in the morning on the public holiday after Easter Sunday. This is a day when many shops are closed but not La Roca Village.
Taking the Sagales Shopping Bus
I had already pre-purchased our shopping bus return tickets online from Sagales at 14€. This is 1€ less when you buy it online versus from the driver. I also found out another advantage of our pre-purchase was that we had priority to board the bus. What you don’t know is that when the bus hits its maximum capacity, the rest in line have to wait for the next bus (which is in another hour).
Buy your Sagales tickets online to save 1€ and guarantee yourself “priority boarding” and seats on the bus.
I could board the bus regardless of the time stated on my tickets (I checked this twice with them on facebook). So don’t get bogged down by a specific time. Pin down the date to go and buy your tickets online so you secure your seats on the bus for the day and get “priority” to board. Unfortunately the return trip was messy and this was quite a displeasure that Sagales would need to fix for better customer experience.
Go early to avoid the crowds. We went to the main stop at Casp 34, walking distance from Hostalin Gran Via where we stayed. We arrived close to 11am which was not early and there already was a queue. As I reached the back of the queue, I asked the staff about my tickets which I printed. He then promptly said I had priority to board and started asking others in the queue.
Don’t worry about the time stated on your ticket. You can take any bus and I recommend boarding from the main terminal at Casp 34.
We were ushered to the front while some had started to board. I felt that he should’ve asked right from the start. There was no guide on our return journey (around 8pm) so it was very messy and no proper queuing system. I’ll get to that later.
Sagales also offers another pick up at Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes 770. However our bus which originated from the main terminal at Casp 34 was already full. I don’t recall anyone getting on from that second bus stop so they were forced to wait for the next bus. So to be assured of a seat, it is best to board from the main terminal.
The bus offers free wifi which I found quite unstable. A guide accompanied us and spoke in Spanish, Catalan and English. She also dished out a coupon booklet which was quite crappy. We tried using one of the coupons for lunch at a sandwich shop but somehow it didn’t work there.
On Sagales website, it stated that the bus would stop first at Mango/Nike Outlet stores first then move on to the La Roca Village stop. Well it didn’t so we ended up backtracking to Mango and Nike after getting off. It was no big deal but it would’ve saved us 10 mins of walking time.
Don’t miss out on Mango factory outlet (10min away) which is huge and may offer some good bargains.
There is a McDonald’s nearby there along with a row of smaller shops. Your best option for a budget lunch would probably be at McDonald’s. This was our mistake so don’t make it. We ended up having lunch at a sandwich shop in La Roca Village which cost more and was not memorable.
I will not bore you with details of our shopping but we bought the most items from La Roca Village throughout our Barcelona / Italy holiday. La Roca Village does offer good prices which I can attest to for Camper, L’Occitane, Onitsuka (Asics) and Columbia. We bought a couple of jeans for like 19.90€ each from Mango outlet as well (but they are not part of La Roca Village). I saw seemingly good offers in other stores like Burberry, Bimba y Lola, Diesel but not enough to make us part with our euros.
Take note that there are discount posters in Spanish and if you don’t ask the staff, sometimes they won’t tell you. We almost missed out on an extra 20% off my Onitsuka shoes. The cashier even pretended not to know till I asked her and then she gave me the discount.
Don’t be shy to ask what the discount posters mean if you don’t read Spanish.
When you are there, La Roca Village will also have their staff scattered around offering you free discount booklet when you register for it. We missed this out as we weren’t aware. I am unsure about the offers they have but you may find it useful so look for a staff and register to get it when you are there.
La Roca Village also offers Tax Refund service counter which we found very busy with a line of mostly Asians. So we passed and decided to do our tax refunds at the airport instead since it is the same thing.
We ended up at the bus stop at around 7.15pm. We had to wait 45min for our 8pm bus and there was no proper queue at the bus stop. This is the part that sucked. When the bus finally came, everyone just suddenly showed up and they all rushed up the bus. No one queued and everyone ignored the ones who were there first.
Everyone hated everyone and blamed one another for jumping what was not even a line to begin with. All of us wanted to get up the bus because the next bus would be in an hour (9pm!). And 9pm would be the last bus leaving La Roca Village.
Like I said before, there was no guide on the bus to help arrange the people. It was just the bus driver, collecting money or tickets from individuals. It was very unproductive and very messy. I think Sagales needs to fix this problem especially during summer when the crowd is even more.
What tip do I have for you for this? Well I guess if you can, start forming a queue so no one can barge in when there is a line there. You are in Europe after all! They jolly well respect the queue.
What else can you do on a public holiday in Barcelona? We spent Easter Sunday at Sagrada Familia which is open on a public holiday.
Find out more about La Roca Village here.
Featured Photo: Port de Barcelona (near Maremagnum)