Shop ’Til you Drop: A Guide to Finding Shopper’s Paradise on the Spanish Islands
Millions of tourists flock to the Canary Islands with good reason: beautiful beaches and vistas, not to mention the marvellous weather. However, that’s not all the Canary Islands have to offer. As well as designer shops and huge air-conditioned shopping centres, the Canary Islands really sparkle when it comes to markets. For a taste of authentic culture, mix with the locals and pick up some bargains.
Teguise Market, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote
Spend a little time in Costa Teguise’s market and you’ll soon realise that it’s full of hidden gems. You can enjoy a light-hearted joke and conversation with the locals while you haggle over leather goods, cotton and fresh produce. You’ll see some of the same products on different stalls, but the prices differ per vendor, so don’t just settle for the first price they offer.
Situated around a pretty courtyard this is an endearing place to spend a Sunday morning. You can listen to live music and soak up the atmosphere. Bring your most comfortable shoes with you, since this huge market has hundreds of stalls. Remember that the Spaniards take a siesta, so most markets will close about 2pm. Beat the crowds and get down there early.
Mercado de Nuestra Señora de Africa, Santa Cruz, Tenerife
Housed in a 1940s building, the iconic tower of the Mercado de Nuestra Señora de Africa makes this market easy to spot across Santa Cruz. This market is a paradise for foodies and the local produce really comes into its own. The goat’s cheese and the local wines are particularly excellent.
Downstairs at the market, you’ll find the best in fish and seafood. Delicious langoustines and generously sized tuna are just a few of the delights that await you, and there is enough to feed the whole family and then some. It’s not just all fresh food, though. You’ll come across deli style stalls selling olive oil, coffee, teas, spices and traditional sauces and marinades, like mojo sauce — perfect for pouring over potatoes.
After you’ve finished shopping, it’s hard not to be enticed by the aroma of fresh coffee and pastries wafting the air. The kids can check out the play area and you can relax and watch the world go by, pastry in hand.
El Mercadillo, Maspalomas, Tenerife
The mercadillo in Maspalomas is both indoor and outdoor and is good for clothes and shoes. You can also find jewellery items and bags to complement your purchases. Open between 8.00 and 2.00 pm on Wednesdays and Sundays, prices in the market are high because vendors enjoy a good haggle.
This is an extremely lively market. You will even see traffic police here stopping the traffic so that the crowds of shoppers can cross the street and continue their bargain hunting. If the crowds get too much, you can sit inside the market and take a time out with a coffee.
Markets aren’t the only places to shop until you drop in the Canary Islands, but for a unique experience, the freshest local produce and a great social aspect with plenty of opportunities to mix and mingle with the locals they are well worth the early morning wake up call.