Tenerife is known for its beautiful handwork and especially its embroidery. There are two kinds that are very popular. The first is known as calados which translates to drawn work embroidery; the second is known as rosetas or rosette embroidery. The beautiful hand crafted pieces showcase a precision and brilliance that is native to the island. Beware of salesmen roaming the street offering cheap “handmade Canary Island tablecloths” because many of these pieces of fabric are manufactured in Asian countries and shipped globally – not true craftsmanship from the Canary artisanal community.
In the Canary Islands there is a rich history of hand thrown clay that stems from the Guanches, who are the ancient settlers of the land. These people did not use a potter’s wheel so the art is truly handmade pottery. The pottery was used as vessels, to cook food, and as jewelry.
Tenerife artists and craftsmen also have a reputation for producing beautiful wooden pieces. With such a long history of woodworking, the artisans have had lots of time to perfect their craft. The attention to detail is astonishing and known throughout Europe. They have made small guitars, wooden boats, cigar humidors, and furniture.
Tenerife is the best place to buy gifts and handmade goods because the entire port is tax free. Any goods purchased can be had for their listed price and nothing more! This means it is great for buying souvenirs for family and friends and they are sure to appreciate the beauty of the artwork. The meticulous work by the artists is sure to be appreciated anywhere around the world.
If you are looking for places to shop, there are many good options on the island of Tenerife. If you are visiting the southern part of the islands, check out Playa de las Americas. The shopping center that is most popular here is called CC Safari and has a wide variety of fashionable clothing including top Spanish name brands and designers. There are many street salesmen located in this shopping center offering faux watches or sunglasses. Be wary, but they should leave if you are persistent. Los Cristianos is also close to this area and offers lots of arts and handcrafted goods. They also have lots of jewelry for sale. Sunday mornings are a special time for shoppers to browse this area because there is a large selection of crafts, handmade goods, and clothes. This market is presented by local craftsmen and embroiders.
If you are staying by Adeje Coast, there are three distinct shopping communities located nearby. El Mirador is a great place to eat and shop for unique gifts at all the boutique shops. In Gran Sur there are lots of places to relax and eat. The fanciest location may be Plaza del Duque where many luxury clothing lines are found home to luxury brands
On the other side of the island to the north is Puerto de la Cruz. The shops here have a variety of goods for sale, some high end things and some tourist attractions. A great thing to check out would be the leather shops that sell custom handmade leather goods made right in front of you. The clothes here are bright and vibrant and very exciting to the eye. Casa de Regalo is a wonderful place to go to get an authentic taste of the vibrant Spanish culture that surrounds Tenerife. The complex is catered to pedestrians and as a result there are few if any cars that are allowed through.
Finally, Santa Cruz is the capital and located in the north of the island. It is extremely beautiful with a huge auditorium in the middle of it. In fact, Santa Cruz is well renowned as a shopping haven with the number of commercial stores located in it. There are many beautiful jewelry stores to get an authentic taste of Tenerife life. There are also lots of ice cream stores to stop and relax and enjoy the beautiful weather. Alameda del Duque has a bunch of hidden shops that have artisanal and boutique kind of gifts which cannot be found anywhere else in the world. The beautiful scenery of the streets in the area make it a perfect place for pedestrians to shop.
Tenerife and the Canary Islands in general are a free port and so duty free prices apply.
We will list some general prices to give you an idea:
- 1 package of Marlboro cigarettes 2.50€
- 1 small beer 2.00€
- 1 litre of petrol 1.10€
- 1 meal in a good restaurants 20.00€
The cheap prices in the Canary Islands are another attraction to European visitors.
With VAT at just 7% in the Canary Islands, often electrical goods, designer clothes, perfume, mobile phones etc are often cheaper than the rest of Europe.
Also car rentals are cheap in Tenerife - during low season, you will often pay no more than 150€ for 7 days car hire.
Duty Free Allowance from Canary Islands to UK:
- 200 cigarettes or 250 grams of tobacco
- 1 litre of spirits
- 2 litres of wine
- 390GBP of other goods