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Thursday, 07 January 2016 09:17

Gran Canaria Duty Free: Is It Worth It?

Gran Canaria airport Gran Canaria airport www.photosgrancanaria.com

Airport duty-free shops go all out to entice you to buy booze, cigarettes, perfume, and chocolate. But on a low-tax island like Gran Canaria, is it worth waiting until the departure lounge to buy? 

With sparkly floors and bright lights, duty-free shops project opulence but advertise low prices. They want you to believe that you are getting luxury goods at great prices.

But in Gran Canaria and the Canary Islands, duty-free isn't always cheap, In fact, you are better off buying most things in local shops than at the airport. 

This is because the Canary Islands have a 7% VAT rate rather than the 21% charged in Spain. It's called IGIC and it's low because the Canaries aren't part of the EU Customs Union. Along with low cigarette and alcohol taxes and no luxury goods tax, IGIC makes Gran Canaria a cheap place to shop.

A pack of 200 Marlboro lights costs less than 30 euros in local supermarkets and you can buy litre bottles of brand spirits for between 10m and 15 euros. Perfume is also cheap on the island.

The only reason to buy cigarettes and alcohol in Gran Canaria airport is if you want a brand that isn't available on the island. Or if something happens to be on offer as you walk past.

Who can resist a  big bar of Toblerone though?

Gran Canaria duty free allowances.

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