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SHOPPING IN GRAN CANARIA

Gran Canaria has a long commercial tradition thanks to the activity of its strategic port, which was a free port until the accession of Spain to the EU. Through this port, the island has been supplied with the most diverse goods from the respective continents, including goods that have been difficult to find in other parts of the European continent. In addition, Gran Canaria´s status as a tourist destination has placed the island in a very privileged position from a commercial point of view. Commerce has reached a high level of development on the island, being based mainly on a potential market of almost 4.5 million people, including the resident population, tourists and visitors.

 

One of the biggest attractions of shopping on the island is undeniably the low duties that are applied to certain imported goods, which means that one can find a series of products at prices that are between 10 and 30 percent lower than in the rest of the European territory. Thus, one will find very competitive prices on the island for perfumes, cosmetics, tobacco, alcohol and, to a lesser extent, electronic apparatus and motor vehicles.

There are competitive shopping areas in all the towns and cities on the island, although one finds the biggest number in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, one of the most notable being the traditional and bustling shopping area of Triana, where one can admire all the historic buildings that house an enormous variety of shops on their ground floors. Gran Canaria has also undergone important developments as far as shopping centres are concerned. Of the twenty-odd shopping centres on the island, the following stand out on account of their modern designs: the Las Arenas, La Ballena, 7 Palmas and El Muelle shopping centres in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria; the Atlántico and La Ciel shopping centres in Santa Lucía; and the Faro 2 and Meloneras shopping centres in San Bartolomé de Tirajana.

 

The current legislation imposes limitations on business hours on the island. In general terms, businesses may open for a maximum of 72 hours per week, while they are required to close on Sundays and public holidays, except for 9 such days per year, which are determined each year for the respective islands. However, the legislation in question makes provision for the progressive relaxation of these limitations. Furthermore, tourist enclaves are exempted from the restrictions in question, with traders having absolute freedom to determine their opening days and times. Most businesses are open between 10:00 and 20:00, although some close between 13:30 and 16:30.


  STREET MARKETS

One will find street markets in virtually every town on the island of Gran Canaria. These markets are characterised by the large variety of products that are on sale, ranging from products that are handmade by craftsmen to the most diverse imported objects, the prices always being very good. Furthermore, in Gran Canaria one will find an open street market virtually every day of the week, although most of these markets only trade on weekends, these being the days when one finds the greatest influx of local inhabitants, who know that they are assured of a picturesque and entertaining walk among the stalls, while they also have the possibility of buying fresh local produce and other interesting products, even including items of basic necessity, such as footwear and clothing.

 

All this takes place in the calm manner that is characteristic of the people of Gran Canaria, turning every market day into a festive occasion, during which it is obligatory to take a break and enjoy some "enyesque" (an aperitif).

There are two types of street markets on the island: firstly, there are the markets in the southern towns, which are clearly aimed at the tourism market with the sale of gifts and souvenirs, and, secondly, the markets of the interior, which are genuine centres for the provisioning of the local inhabitants. Many of the latter markets have a tradition of farmers, stockbreeders, cheese makers and confectioners who go to the markets every week to sell their products.


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