The Venice of the Canary Islands Photo by Kirsi L-M via Flickr Creative Commons

One of the great benefits of the Canary Islands is the cheap shopping. The archipelago is partly duty-free, which means that alcohol, tobacco, perfume, and other heavily taxed goods are much cheaper here than in many EU countries.

Santa Cruz is probably the best place to indulge in bargain retail therapy, with most of the duty-free shops situated around Plaza de Candelaria and Plaza de Espana. The city, however, has a lot more to offer than just cheap liquor. Santa Cruz’s streets are littered with designer brands, boutique clothes, and tasteful jewelry stores. Just down the road in the university town of La Laguna, a refined collection of independent clothes, jewelry, and craftwork outlets can be found.

Many of Tenerife’s top shopping districts are located in the island’s commercial capital, Arrecife, near Puerto del Carmen and along the streets of Calle Leon y Castillo and Calle Jose Antonio. There’s also an abundance of shopping malls located on the island, the largest being Deiland Shopping Centre near Playa Honda, which has a considerable range of shops and facilities. Another established mall is El Corte Ingles, found in the center of any Spanish city and stocking brand name goods.

It’s worth checking out the numerous flea markets on the Canary Islands. Although they tend to sell the same mix of pirated movies and cds, cheap souvenirs, handmade jewelry, and other inexpensive handicrafts, they are great places to soak up the atmosphere. The food markets are also due a visit, particularly for their fresh seafood.

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