Shopping in Gran Canaria
To the untrained eye shopping in Gran Canaria can seem quite monotonous – large shopping centres full of all the same shops and all the same merchandise. However, like most things on this cheeky little island, with a little bit of effort shopping here can be as good as London, Paris or Milan. Well, almost.
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In fairness, for hassle-free everything you need under one roof shopping, the shopping centres are the place to go. Almost all of them have Zara and Mango for the ladies and Springfield and Jack Jones for the gentlemen, along with a variety of other Spanish/Canarian favourites like Burbujitas for surfwear, Natura for ethnic clothes and jewellery, Pull and Bear, Stradivarius and Promod for urban chic, Bijou Brigitte for accessories and Carolina Boix for cheap shoes.
Try El Muelle in Santa Catalina for all of the above plus Quiksilver and Animal, Atlantico in Vecindario for Foscos (a great shop for elegant leather shoes – see below), Siete Palmas for Friday’s Project (a Diesel stockist and some bargain own label clothes) and Las Arenas for all the favourites plus beach views.
For those of you who prefer the great outdoors, Mesa y Lopez prides itself on being the main shopping street in Las Palmas, mainly because it boasts the largest Corte Inglés department store in Spain. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, try Corte Inglés. However, for an all round, enjoyable al fresco shopping experience Triana is definitely the place to go. On Calle Triana you can, not surprisingly, find all of the above shops, but head off into the side streets and there are a plethora of independent boutiques and nik-nak shops to challenge even the most extreme shoppers amongst us. Admittedly, some are pricey but there are some real jewels to be found. Triana is also home to the only H&M and Desigual on the island, fairly new additions to the GC shopping experience and ones we are all still slightly chuffed about.
It is true. The Spanish love their shoes. It will come as no surprise then that there are zillions of shoe shops selling fashionable shoes at bargain prices. It is not worth listing the possible shoe shops you could browse as you can’t turn a corner without finding yourself in one. But be warned. Most of the shoes are synthetic fabrics which is why they are cheap.
Leather shoes at affordable prices are harder to come by. Yes, there are plenty of shops that sell leather shoes but the prices rocket skywards. Corte Inglés stock quality leather shoes, as do Lopez (Mesa y Lopez and Calle Triana) and Foscos (see above) but it may be worth waiting for the sales before moving in for the kill.
Sales and the best places to find a bargain
Christmas sales normally start around 7th January and summer sales around 8th July. Reductions are generally between 20% and 70% so you can grab some real bargains. The first day of the sales is normally hellish after which you can browse the rails at your own pace. For year round bargains try the outlet stores: Benetton in Alcampo, and Springfield in La Ballena in Escaleritas. Rumour has it that more outlet stores will be located in the as yet unopened Terrazas shopping centre in Jinamar. You might also pick up a bargain in the Fisaldo shopping fare which takes place in Infecar in Escaleritas every May/June. Local shops empty the previous season’s clothes, furniture and nik-naks into this four day bonanza. Please bear in mind that generally there is an awful lot of rubbish to trawl through, but for the very shrewd and very patient you can find some real treats. It’s a bit like TK Maxx on steroids.
In Las Palmas you can’t go very far without passing a Spar but for your bigger weekly shop most of the shopping centres house whopping great supermarkets in their depths. Carrefour can be found in Las Arenas and Atlantico shopping centres and Hiper Cor in Corte Inglés. There’s also Hiper Dino (a Canarian favourite on account of it being Canarian), Alcampo (a small shopping centre with a huge supermarket off the GC1 in Telde) and Mercadona. Most British favourites like baked beans and Helmann’s mayonnaise can be found, but don’t expect to find Branston pickle unless you’re in the delicatessen section of Corte Inglés. If you want Marmite or Pot Noodles, head to the minimarkets in Playa del Inglés.
You will see a variety of shops selling furniture (muebles) throughout Gran Canaria, though in truth most of them are full of shiny yellow-wooded chairs, tables and side boards loved by Spaniards the world over. And it’s not even cheap.
Have no fear, Ikea is here. We all know what we’re getting with Ikea furniture (apart from an apartment filled with the same furniture as every other apartment rented by someone British). The stuff’s cheap, looks nice and we just love building it ourselves.
Corte Inglés is also worth a visit for classic modern pieces although the prices are considerably higher. Then again, Corte Inglés wouldn’t dream of selling a flat pack sofa. There are also furniture shops selling similar style furniture in and around Las Arenas and in Siete Palmas.
For imported rustic furniture and imported Indonesian and Indian furniture try El Rincon (just up the road from Ikea, Perez Ortega (junction 7b off the GC1 opposite Alcampo) and Perojo (Calle Perojo in Triana).
For all your DIY needs the easiest thing to do is to head to Leroy Merlin. There are many privately owned hardware stores (ferreterias) which will undoubtedly stock what you’re looking for but unless you know the word for adjustable spanner in Spanish you’ll have trouble buying it. As Leroy Merlin has some English speakers and everything is on show buying tools is just a little bit easier there.
Tiles / hardware…guide on its way
Sports shops … guide on its way
Fabric shops … guide on its way
We know there are many
undiscovered shops on the island and we would love to know about them
so please add them as a comment below.