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The Canary Islands are known for exquisite embroidery (bordados) and fine threadwork (calados), created by patient and skillful local women - but beware of street sellers and market traders offering inferior, low-priced, imported factory-made work, claiming that it's local craftwork. Vilaflor is known for its handmade lace. Leather is another great buy in Tenerife and you can rest assured that there is no shortage of shops. Also look out for wicker goods, woodcrafts and pottery as there are some great bargains to be had.
The Canaries are a duty-free area, so perfumes, cameras, binoculars, CD players and electronic goods can be bought at lower prices than at home. In major towns and resorts the best electrical, photographic shops and other boutiques are generally located in attractive modern malls and purpose built complexes, such as Plaza del Duque (Costa Adeje) CC Gala and department store Maya (Playa del Camisón). The scruffy 'tax-free' and 'discount' bazaars close to the beachfronts are best avoided as the goods are quite often faulty or counterfeit.
For something authentic, a range of locally made items can be found at craft stores across the island, but it may be worth shopping around as the stock varies from place to place. Shop hours are generally Mon-Sat from 9am-1pm & 4pm-8pm. Alternatively, tourist street markets take place in many of the resorts on certain days. Try the Torviscas beach area near Puerto Cólon on Thursdays and Saturdays and Los Abrigos on Tuesday evenings from 6pm-10pm.
Read more on this destination in the AA Essential Guide to Tenerife.
Top Shops in Tenerife
Casa de los Balcones, Calle San Francisco, 3, La Orotava - This beautifully restored 17th-century mansion contains a craft shop where local people can often be seen at work. As well as inexpensive souvenirs, a wide range of quality Canarian lace, linen and traditional embroidery are on sale.
Artenerife, Numerous stores in La Orotava and Puerto de la Cruz - An official chain of shops selling the finest genuine local handicrafts, including pottery, woodcarvings, embroidery and lace. The Artenerife symbol is a guarantee of quality and authenticity.
Parque Nacional de Garajonay Visitor Centre, Juego de Bolas, near Agulo - A good place for authentic, high quality handicrafts and a popular choice for souvenirs - wooden carvings, banana-leaf baskets and musical instruments are among the products on sale here.
Casa del Vino la Baranda, 1km from Autopista del Norte at Km 21 (Exit 31, El Sauzal) - This lovely old farmhouse near El Sauzal offers wine tastings, an interesting film about wine production in Tenerife and, of course, the opportunity to buy some fantastic locally produced wine. However, it's not simply a shop, it sets out to inform tourists about the range and quality of Canarian wine.
Casa Iriarte, Calle San Juan 1, Puerto de la Cruz - This quaint, yet disorganized 18th-century mansion exhibits the traditional elements of Canarian culture. As well as a museum, it features a great little shop with a fantastic selection of imported table linens.
Mercado Nuestra Señora de África, Just off Calle de San Sebastián at the south end of Puente Servador, Santa Cruz - Tenerife's main produce market, the Market of Our Lady of Africa, is a dazzle of colour and energy, a picture of the island's abundance. Flowers fill the eye, alongside heaps of fresh fruit and vegetables, fish and meat, cheese, honey and other locally produced goods.
Rastro, Calle José Manuel Guimerá, Santa Cruz - A good way to get to know a place is by seeing what the locals get rid of. This lively flea market spills out onto the streets of Santa Cruz every week, featuring housewares, clothing and heaps of unnecessary items to arouse your curiosity.
Centro Comercial, 5km south of Santa Cruz by the Santa Maria del Mar exit of the Autopista del Sur - This huge hypermarket has over 100 shops on site for you to choose from. They range from clothing and accessories to electronic goods and homeware. The mall features a huge water plaza at its centre with an artificial geyser.
Los Telares, Carretera General 10, Hermigua, La Gomera - La Gomera is a grat stopping place for visitors who want to see local handicrafts being made. This craft shop in Hermigua offers a good range of woven goods, including some lovely handmade rugs which make for the perfect gift.
El Cercado - On La Gomera island, this village is famous for making traditional pottery (without the use of a potter's wheel) from the island's striking dark red clay, and many of the simple cottages here are pottery workshops. Grab a piece of traditional craftsmanship if you visit this untouched isle.