Getting to Know the Shops on Tenerife

Fri, May 9th, 2014 - By Jack Montgomery

Stick to the main southern resort areas like Playa de las Américas and Costa Adeje on Tenerife and trying to figure out what shops are selling won’t be much of a problem as signs are usually in English.

Once you stray from streets designed for the pleasure of tourists, it is a different world. Stroll the back streets of Los Cristianos, Puerto de la Cruz or any of the traditional towns outside of the resorts and the act of shopping changes. Instead of ‘electrical’ shops offering cameras, mobiles and tablets at  knock-down prices, you’re faced with bricolajes, ferreterias and mercerias.

This is our guide to negotiating your way around the world of Spanish, or in this case Canario, shops.

Where you go on a bank holiday, bricolajes are Spain’s DIY centres. On Tenerife the equivalent of B&Q is Leroy Merlin.

The butchers. As most decent supermarkets have good carnicerias in-store, this isn’t a shop you really need to seek out to pick up a nice piece of beef… or goat.


These are old fashioned hardware shops and wonderful places to pick up bits and bobs and all sorts of things you never knew you needed.

There are millions of these on Tenerife, the jewellers is a good place to get that essential accessory to add sparkle to that little black/pink/powder blue number.

The place to go when all the holiday clothes have reached the point where they are unwearable and there’s no washing machine in your apartment.


Not the place where a woman in horn-rimmed spectacles says ‘shh’ if you make too much noise, this is in fact the bookshop. Libraries are bibliotecas.

A real throwback to the type of shop that used to be found in every British town, the haberdasher. With reels of ribbons, needles, cloths of many colours and buttons galore, the merceria is a popular shop on Tenerife, especially during carnival time.

Fancy some fresh bread? This is the place. Many baker’s shops are also good for pastries and snacks.


A useful one to know, parafarmacias are a bit like Boots without the chemist part. They look like a pharmacy but for medicinal drugs from aspirin upwards you need to go to a farmacia – which are wonderful for all round health advice as well.

Heaven for cake junkies, pastelerias thrive on Tenerife with even places like Santa Ursula having cake shops with elaborate creations on display. El Aderno is my favourite.

Even in the depths of a crisis peluquerias were still springing up. One of the shops that will never go out of fashion on Tenerife. Some are so stylish I mistook them for bars when we first moved here. They are hairdressers.


The fishmongers. Again, supermarkets generally have excellent fish counters; pescaderias are for people who really want to go local.

A simple one – the supermarket. Hipermercados are bigger versions.

The local dry cleaner is handy when you discover that special holiday outfit has a stain. Not to be confused with tanatorio, which is the crematorium.

Shoe shops of which there are plenty. In some towns you’ll still find zapateros – cobblers.

Posted : Friday, May 9th, 2014 at 11:57 am
Category : shopping
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