Illustrated Map Canary Islands (2022) by Gabrielle Cooper-Weisz
The Canary Islands are famed for sun, sea and striking scenery. But they're also home to remarkable entrepreneurs and artisans. In this tour, we'll travel from La Graciosa in the east to El Hierro in the west, and discover some of the archipelago's best-loved local enterprises.
We begin on the smallest Canary Island, La Graciosa. This is home to Gracioserito, a souvenir brand with a difference. Featuring a series of comic characters – an anthropomorphic hat, a grouper, and a seagull – Gracioserito's products tell a distinctive story of island life.
Bodegas El Grifo
Next we move to Lanzarote, and one of the oldest wineries in Spain. Bodegas El Grifo, which dates back to 1775, produces wine on the island's dry volcanic plains. These ashen soils, as unpromising as they might appear, are the key ingredient in El Grifo's fine vintages.
The soothing properties of the aloe vera plant have been celebrated for centuries. On Fuertaventura, one local business, Vidaloe, has taken advantage of the island's climate and unpolluted air to grow some of the finest aloe vera in the world.
Now to Gran Canaria, whose capital Las Palmas is one of the centers of the archipelago. Here we find Farmacia Arencibia, a pharmacy whose modernist interiors reveal a rich history. While preserving its original look, the chemist is still very much a living part of the city.
Bodega de Guía
The Bodega de Guía is a historic store in Santa María de Guía, long at the heart of the town's cultural life. Today, the Bodega serves as a tourist office and a shop where local artisans sell their produce, like the famous Flor de Guía cheese, wines, sweets and handicrafts.
Next we move to Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands. This is home to Musicanarias, a music school and instrument store founded in 1961. Today, it supplies the traditional Canarias instrument, the five-stringed timple, alongside electric guitars, DJ equipment, and more.
La Confitería y Café Taoro, or simply Casa Egon, has specialized in homemade sweets since 1916. Founded by a German confectioner who was stranded in Tenerife during WWI, Casa Egon combines old German methods with ingredients from Tenerife.
Cerámica María del Mar
María del Mar is one of the last traditional potters on the island of La Gomera. Her two ceramics workshops can be found in the village of El Cercado, where she sculpts each distinctive, rustic pot with her own hands – a tradition that stretches back centuries.
Las Hilanderas El Paso
Las Hilanderas El Paso, on the northwestern island of La Palma, are the last silk weavers in Europe to employ traditional methods. As well as preserving an age-old tradition, the workshop incorporates new designs in the process – making sure that quality silk stays relevant.
Quesadillas Adrián Gutiérrez e Hijas
Our final stop is El Hierro, in the archipelago's west. This is home to Quesadillas Adrián Gutiérrez e Hijas, a family business with over a century of tradition behind it. Following an original recipe since 1900, their Canarian quesadillas are famous on the island and beyond.
Ready to learn more about about these local enterprises and traditions? Dive into more of our exhibits on the Canary Islands.
Illustrations by Gabrielle Cooper-Weisz