Lanzarote • aiming to please everyone ….
The most Eastern of the Canary Islands, Lanzarote attracts almost 5m holiday makers annually to enjoy its year-round sun, extensive beaches, volcanic attractions and duty-free status. In whichever resort you find yourself, the streets are lined not just with bars, restaurants and car-hire companies, but ‘cut-price’ liquor, tobacco and perfume shops, plus countless souvenir markets mixed with a healthy splattering of designer stores.So is there likely to be anything of interest to buy at the one and only airport • Arrecife ?Well, perhaps surprisingly, the retail offer here is actually not bad. The current international terminal at Arrecife opened in 1999 (the old one is used for inter-island flights) and was clearly designed to give departing passengers a good selection of both shopping and eating choices, with ample seating inbetween (the only Pizza Hut on the island is found here).
The main Canariensis duty free shop offers a wide selection of liquor, tobacco, confectionery and gift items with all the leading names that you’d expect, plus a good range of local brands. We found cigarettes to be a tad cheaper than in the main resort of Puerto del Carmen, though that’s not to say they might not be cheaper still in Arrecife • where according to one local ‘everything is a better price’. Being a duty free island, spirits are reasonably priced everywhere, but if you’re looking for a better malt or Cognac or super-premium vodka, then you’ll find more options at the airport, including selections that are exclusive to travel retail. If you’re into wine, there’s a great variety of local brands on offer including El Grifo, La Geria, and Stratvs from €9.75 upwards, and if you got a taste for local spirits and didn’t stock up at the Spar, then Ronmiel rum and Sgotroff vodka are both reasonably priced. You can also buy local cheeses, cakes, biscuits, confectionery, oils and condiments here or at the Sibarum Delicatessen • even in instant paella, complete with cooking dish for €12.
The selection of fragrances and cosmetics is extensive although we found prices in some cases quite significantly cheaper in the resort perfume discount stores (such as Charlie’s) where the prices marked are not the prices charged. Certainly the selection of branded cosmetics is better in the airport as here you’ll find travel retail exclusive selections from companies such as Estee Lauder and Lancome that you just won’t find on the high street. Similarly in the confectionery area there are great gift ideas and children quieteners from well known names like Kinder, Smarties, Toblerone, Nestle and Milka that are produced just for travellers.Designer followers will have to be content with one-stop shop offering Lacoste, Timberland, Burberry, Calvin Klein Jeans, Tommy Hilfiger and Hugo Boss. A concise selection, but with reasonable choice and • at times • extra discounts on certain lines.The remaining retail offer at the airport is very much gift orientated with shops including Arté, Lava, Cactus House, The Ocean Company, Guacimeta, and Divers offering just about everything you can think of from lava jewellery to matchbox cars to Hello Kitty stationery to music boxes to ‘I love Lanzarote’ tshirts. A real mix of local and international products and brands • there’s bound to be something here to take back to thank the neighbour for feeding the cat!
Overall we thought that there was a better than average range of toys and gifts for children here • plenty of pocket money and ‘keep them quiet’ items if you find your flight delayed (plenty are), although the Relay newsagents was disappointing in its children’s non-Spanish book and magazine offer.
Be warned, that if you’re taking a late flight, not all the shops and restaurants may be open • although the main duty free shop seems to keep going until the last passenger has gone to the gate!
Arrecife factfile …
- Annual passenger capacity 6m passengers
- 2010 passengers: 4.9m
- Terminals: 2 (1 = international)
- Airlines: many including .. Aer Lingus, Easyjet, Iberia, Jet2, Monarch, Ryanair, Thomas Cook, Thomson, and TUIfly