For custom’s purposes, the Canary Islands are not classed as, ‘within’ the EU, so, in theory, anything that you purchase that exceeds the personal allowance, will be subject to import duties, excise and VAT.
Follow the rules for ‘Bringing goods into the UK – Arrivals from outside the EU’.
For items to be classed as your duty free allowance you must:
Use them yourself or be giving them away, and transport them yourself (and be over 17 years old).
If you don’t declare item(s) that are over your allowance, all of the item(s) may be seized. You may have to pay Duty and VAT on declared item(s).
Alcohol & Tobacco
Due to the comparatively low IGIC (the Canarian version of VAT), alcohol in the Canary Islands is often significantly cheaper than the UK and even mainland Spain.
The dedicated Alcohol and Tobacco shops found in tourist areas may not always be the cheapest, with supermarkets such as Mercadona and Hiperdino/Superdinos also offering great deals on wine, beers and spirits. If you are buying a number of items, you may be able to haggle the price in the Alcohol and Tobacco shops, something you won’t be able to do in the supermarkets. Where the specialist Alcohol and Tobacco shops excel is for good prices on more expensive aged Whiskeys as well as non-European liquors, which are usually grey-market imports. Do count your change and check the price of any items where the price is is not clearly displayed, as some of these shops have a somewhat shady reputation.
It is worth noting, that many of the bottled spirits are sold in 1 litre bottles, rather than in 750ml, as is usual in the UK – even more “bang for your buck”. Alongside the branded spirits, local equivalents are sold at a lower price, offering even more of a bargain.
Spanish wine (from the mainland) is much cheaper than in the UK or Ireland, and quality Riojas and Ribeira del Dueros are available for about 60% less than you would pay at home. Wine from the Canary Islands (particularly Lanzarote) is also available, though it is not particularly cheap, since it is not produced in huge volumes.
Keep an eye out for ‘Ron Miel’ – Honey Rum. Restaurants often serve this as a free shot/digestive at the end of a meal, when you are presented with the bill. This is easy to find and cheap to buy and many visitors take a bottle home with them as a memento of their holiday.
Due to lower taxes, Tobacco prices in the Canary Islands are amongst the lowest in Europe. As with alcohol, the dedicated Alcohol and Tobacco shops may not always be the cheapest, with supermarket offers competing for your custom, so it pays to shop around. Cigarettes are usually a lot cheaper in the resort than on the plane, so don’t be tempted by the sales pitch on the flight over!
A packet of 20 cigarettes can cost as little as €1.25 up to around €3.50 for 20 Marlboro Lights.
Packs of 200 can be purchased for as little as €10 when on offer.
Some cafe/bars sell cigarettes behind the bar and most local cafe/bars and supermarkets have a cigarette vending machine on site. The machine is controlled via remote, so you will have to let the staff know you want to use the machine (this is to stop minors using the machines).
You will find a good collection of cigars on offer with Cuban cigars considerably cheaper than elsewhere in Europe. There are also many Canarian cigars available and the islands have a long-standing cigar-making tradition (many immigrants to Cuba were from the Canary Islands, with some returning after the revolution). Many Canarian cigars are hand-rolled, but are constructed using imported leaves as very little quality tobacco is now grown on the islands.
You can get anything from a 20 to 50% discount on perfumes. There are various “duty free” shops in most tourist areas, but again, it is worthwhile shopping around as prices can vary significantly. If purchasing a few items, it is possible to haggle and obtain a discount. Most perfumes can be purchased for a better price in Fuerteventura than at the airports, so what appears to be a great deal at ‘duty free’ or on the plane, isn’t always so.
Although the ‘street markets‘ sell branded perfumes, please be aware that they are more-than-likely counterfeit.
Sadly, the electronics shops in the tourist areas have a terrible reputation – stories of charging customer’s cards twice, substituting cheaper items during “gift-wrapping”, extreme hard-sales pressure, rip-off prices and other scams are common. Since it is no longer the case that electronics prices are lower in the Canary Islands, it is probably best to avoid buying any electronics items when in Fuerteventura, as it would be very difficult to return or exchange a defective item. That said, I have purchased many items from the large Electron store in Puerto del Rosario (note: away from the Tourist areas), and they have been great to deal with (including the no-quibble exchange of a defective item).
The largest shopping centre on the island is the Las Rotondas centre in Puerto del Rosario. Many of the Inditex brands are present here (Zara, Pull & Bear, Massimo Dutti, Bershka, Stradivarius etc.) along with H&M, Jack&Jones, C&A, Springfield and Benetton (amongst others). In Caleta de Fuste, some of the Spanish chains are present at the Centro Comercial Atlantico (Springfield, Women’s Secret, Calzados Navarro), though it is a relatively small selection. In Corralejo, there are a few chain-stores scattered about such as Mango on the main Avenue, Zara and Esprit at Centro Comercial Las Palmeras and Springfield at Centro Comercial El Campanario. Finally, in Morro Jable/Jandia, there are a few chain stores on the main strip (e.g 2 Mangos and an Esprit).
As you might expect, there are plenty of shops selling luxury brands (both real and fake) in all of the large tourist resorts.
Clothes prices are about the same as elsewhere in Europe, and perhaps a little higher than in the UK.
The best prices, as you would expect, are to be found at the big supermarkets; Mercadona, LIDL and the larger Padilla Spar and Hiperdinos – the smaller Hiperdino Express supermarkets are much more expensive. Prices for most items are comparable to the UK, apart from fresh fruit and veg (which is more expensive) and Tobacco and Alcohol (which are much cheaper).