Let’s talk about shopping in Lanzarote!
Not for the seaside gifts but the everyday things you’ll want if you’re staying in a villa or apartment. Don’t worry, it’s easy-peasy to get almost anything you’re used to in the UK as well as some things you’ll find are even better than at home. Here’s a little guide to the oddities and instructions for doing the ‘big shop’ in Lanza.
Where to Go
First of all, note that every tourist resort has supermarkets, usually several and almost always more expensive than the places we locals go to. That’s not a terrible thing. Rents are high and they open on days when the city markets are closed, so you’re paying a little bit more for the convenience. You will still find that most things cost less than in Sainsbury’s. Look for Spar (yes we have those!) and HiperDino express.
If you’ve hired a car, things are much easier. The biggest and newest supermarket is directly opposite the airport, although you’ll need to follow the road to a roundabout as it’s on the other side. This HiperDino (look for the cute mascot) has everything you`d imagine and more. Check out the freshly cut Spanish ham and the huge cheese counter. They also stock the high-end goods and a huge range for pets. Parking is easy and trolleys take multiple coin options.
Other large stores are EuroSpar, Mercadona and Lidl. The latter being just like back home with some of the cheapest goods. Stock up on your water in bulk at any of these places. Avoid our busy times which are usually weekends or when people are finishing shift work at 5pm to 6pm. That said, they are never as busy as the cities back home and people really do give you space. Bags cost money (a few cents) and most people take their own. Remember “una bolsa por favor” to ask for one if needed.
We have shopping malls too. In Playa Honda we have Deiland popular with the locals. It’s bright, clean and has all the clothes shops and toy stores. Visit Lefties for our Primark equivalent! More international brands are found in Biosfera Plaza, Puerto Del Carmen where you’ll also find the shopkeepers all speak English. Do try the city too, Arrecife has some great little places and it’s a safe, small capital, even if not the most pretty at first glance. The ‘bad areas’ are actually outside of the centre and even then very tame.
When you’re out shopping you’ll notice that we love our alternative foods. We have every kind of milk including Almond, Soy and Rice. We often find lactose free butter and there is always gluten free pasta and bread. Even the phrase “sin alcohol” without alcohol is common on mouthwash and specialist beers. Right now we´re also keen that you buy Canary Island produce to support the islands including fruit, veg and even skincare produced from our plants. Much of the harvest has been lost in La Palma and this helps the industry support itself.
For electrical goods you can hire for short stays (do a quick Google) but if you’re staying for longer check out Electron or Milar, the large warehouse stores. Yup, we sell everything from the most modern TV’s to computers and mobile phones. Prices are similar to the UK with no great savings to be made but they are here if you need them. We don’t have an Apple store but official chargers are cheap in Milar. We usually suggest avoiding the resort mini-gadget-shops if you can. You know for sure the logos are a little bit off! 🙂
Some goods might be packed together in a plastic box. Take it to the till and they will know you only want one.
When you go shopping for the first time, remember you need to buy water. The stuff in the tap isn’t usually taken by most. And you need sun cream, which is also cheaper in big supermarkets than the resort equivalents. Next try the little things that make the islands so wonderful to live on. Fresh bananas, melons, local wine, white tuna, fish of all kinds. The bread aisle is large and our Spanish version of a famous name doughnut is ´Dots´, buy many, you’ll love them. Coffee here is good too but cafes are so cheap there’s no need to buy dried.
I guess the last odd thing in the world of everyday shopping is milk. There’s a rumour of a cow in the north but we’ve never seen it. Almost all milk is long life which means it’s on the shelf not the fridge. And yes we have Cornflakes and Cocopops with or without the British name. If you insist on the brands you want from home, we have an English supermarket called Overseas but it’s a little more expensive due to the import logistics! If you’re not here for long, go Spanish, save money.
For unusual requests, we are certain that there’s nothing lacking in Lanza’s range. Just look for the logo of your choice from the road as even the big supermarkets are starting to comply with our “paint everything white” rules and we banned ugly billboards many years ago. See, Lanzarote is a calm little place where even shopping is simple. Enjoy your first go at doing a proper, Spanish, weekly shop. it’s all part of the fun.
You’ll soon feel right at home.