Shopping in Lanzarote
Where to shop in Lanzarote
Lanzarote is a tiny island and the numbers of shopping opportunities reflect this. While there are is a small commercial centre in the capital, Arrecife, and in the largest resort of Puerto Del Carmen, most of the outlets are small, individually-run shops, the vast majority of which cater to the tourist trade. Unusually, some of the island’s most important tourist attractions - particularly the Fundación César Manrique - are actually the best places to purchase quality mementoes and gifts, such as local artwork, jewellery, and César Manrique prints.
If you are after food and wine, shop where the locals shop - in supermarkets in the larger towns for the best prices, and at farmers’ markets for some of the best in fresh produce.
Farmers’ markets are a wonderful local tradition and a fascinating insight into rural island life. If you are self-catering, these markets - there is a different one nearly every day of the week - are a good place to stock up on provisions, such as fresh fruit and vegetables. Otherwise, you might pick up unusual gifts to take home, such as fig jam and locally made wine.
Don’t miss the chance of visiting one of the island’s local markets - for their atmosphere and social traditions as much for shopping.
This low-key, village farmers' market in the main church square bustles with local life and is highly recommended if you want to get a taste of real island life.
This recent addition to Lanzarote’s market calendar offers a good combination of local food produce and handmade crafts.
Undeniably touristy, this one-time village market now sees bus loads of visitors from the resorts all around the island. The quality and prices of some of the merchandise may be questionable, but there are some good items - particularly lace - to be found and it’s an enjoyable day out, with music and dancing in the main square.
I love this little farmers' market just off the main square. After wandering around the small collection of stalls, perhaps buying some fig jam or island herbs, I have a coffee on the café terrace on the square and watch the islanders visiting the hulking church in the centre of the village.
Marina Rúbicon, Playa Blanca
Wednesday and Saturday 9am–2pm
This is a relatively new addition to the market scene, aimed at the tourist market, but with interesting jewellery, clothes and some souvenirs.
Look out for locally handmade pottery, such as pots and jars, basketry, embroidery and textiles, especially tablecloths and handkerchiefs, which are all part of a long tradition of island handicrafts. Small figures with huge phalluses traditionally used in marriage ceremonies make unusual presents for the unshockable. Consider too, items fashioned out of plants and palms. Lanzarote’s proximity to Africa is evident in the wide variety of distinctly African items on sale, particularly in the stalls lining Arrecife’s seafront and in the market of Teguise. While not uniquely local, carved wooden masks, leather items and even African drums make exotic mementoes. Unique to the Canary islands is also the tiny timple, a kind of stringed musical instrument.
My lovely Aunty Jackie who lives in Inverness but has a holiday home in Lanzarote has been known to buy her smoked salmon at Uga. Although it comes all the way from Scotland, it is smoked on the premises in Uga and is almost as good as the real thing. Buy some to eat one evening, washed down with a good, crisp local dry white, or consider a purchase for an unusual gift (it comes vacuum packed). Most of the bodegas, and some supermarkets sell local wine in gift packs to take home. The only thing I would say is that the shop is positioned on a bend in the main road and is really easy to miss, so keep your eyes peeled.
The local volcanoes are the finding place of a stone known as peridot, which is often used to make jewellery.
Bird of Paradise or Strelitzia flowers can also be taken home as an unusual gift. It is best to order them in advance from flower shops.
Souvenir t-shirts and brightly coloured beach towels showing a map of Lanzarote, fridge magnets etc are on sale in all the main resorts of Costa Teguise, Playa Blanca and Puerto del Carmen. While some of the quality may be questionable, on the whole these are fun, reasonably priced items. I bought a bright pink flamenco dress for my five-year-old niece, which may have been nylon and rather hastily sewn, but was only 7 euros and she loves it.
Teguise market (note that Teguise is an inland town, completely separate from the coastal resort of Costa Teguise) is now so touristy, with coach loads of tourists bussed in from the resorts, that I recommend avoiding it all together for shopping. That said, it does have a bustling atmosphere and you may catch a folklore show or some other entertainment. If you do decide to buy, do check the quality and be sure to bargain hard.
Lanzarote has duty free tax status, making alcohol, cigarettes and perfume much cheaper than in the UK. For the best prices, buy these items in a local shop, or supermarket rather than at the airport or on the plane home. Unless you really know what you are doing, avoid buying electronic goods as there are almost daily complaints from tourists who have been sold faulty or fake goods.