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April 25, 2012

World's Top Shopping Streets

When it comes to first-rate shopping, all roads lead to these stellar thoroughfares.

For the seasoned traveler, few things are as gratifying as when someone notices an object you bought during your journeys, be it from Paris, Tokyo or São Paulo. The thrill isn’t just in the nod to a jet-setting lifestyle—it’s also in the chance to reminisce about a past adventure.

People shop abroad for different reasons. Some hit the tarmac ready to hunt for that next souvenir to add to a collection. (After all, one rarely sees a lone tribal mask.) Others delight in snagging whatever a country does best, be it knitwear in Iceland or watches in Switzerland. Still others rejoice in finding favorite luxury designers wherever they go, reveling in, say, an Hermès bangle bought in Qatar as much as one snapped up in Arizona. Then there are those who shop simply for shopping’s sake. For these folks, even sourcing the necessities is a joy.

No matter which type of shopper you are, perusing a country’s wares is an essential part of traveling—not just because of what you might buy, but also because of the experience you’ll have while doing it: discovering a store, falling in love with something fantastic, interacting with a salesperson and walking out with a treasure. Here are ten of our favorite shopping streets in the world.