We all love to pick up a gift for a loved one or a souvenir for ourselves while we are on holiday. It’s a lovely memory of our trip and even better that we can boast about where it came from when it’s admired by others.
But, instead of heading for the shops, you can always browse the markets where you’ll find something really unique – as well as a bargain.
Most markets in the southernmost region of Portugal take place in the morning, so you can spend a few hours perusing the stalls, before grabbing a bite to eat and then spending the afternoon soaking up the sun on one of the beautiful sandy beaches or playing a round of golf on one of the award-winning courses.
There are plenty of Algarve markets for you to choose from, so you’re sure to find one nearby.
1. Quarteira Market
This is the most famous and popular market in the Algarve. You’re sure to pick up a bargain here. The stallholders love to barter, so don’t be afraid to do so – it’s possible to haggle the price down to get the items even cheaper.
Where is it? Quarteira, which is on the road to Almancil, about a mile from the centre of town.
When is it? Wednesday – 8am to 3pm
What can you buy? All sorts of items including games, toys, clothing, plants, handbags, shoes and ceramics
How to get here: There’s a car park, if you decide to drive, where you can leave your vehicle for a small cost. If you don’t have a car, this market is situated on the bus route – you’ll find the stop next to Lidl. Due to its popularity, if you’re staying in one of the surrounding cities you’re likely to find a tour heading here that you can join.
2. Faro Municipal Market
This market is situated right in the heart of the Algarve’s capital in a pretty whitewashed building. There are plenty of attractions close by, so you might like to consider which ones you would like to visit when you finish shopping.
Where is it? Faro
When is it? Monday to Friday – 8.30am to 7pm and Saturday – 9am to 1pm
What can you buy? Food including meat and fish
How to get here: You can easily walk to this market if you’re staying in the capital but there’s also parking available for a small price, if you’re driving.
3. Moncarapacho Market
This large market is popular with locals and the perfect way for you to see what Portuguese life is like, away from the tourist hotspots. Once you have explored and purchased a couple of souvenirs on one side of the market, head to the other, where you’ll find food stalls. The perfect spot for some lunch after you’ve worked up an appetite browsing the stalls.
Where is it? Moncarapacho Town, just beyond Olhão, to the east of Faro airport
When is it? First Sunday of every month
What can you buy? Clothes, fish, fruit, vegetables and livestock
How to get here: You can easily walk to the market if you’re in the town or if you’re driving, you’ll find cars parked along the roads but be aware it does get incredibly busy. You may prefer to use public transport.
4. Lagos Food Market
You can pick up a wide range of fresh, local produce at this market. Even if you don’t plan to buy anything, this is one that is worth visiting to discover a typical Portuguese farmers market.
Where is it? Lagos
When is it? Every Saturday – 7am until 1pm
What can you buy? Eggs, chickens, olives, fruits and homemade jams – to name just a few.
How to get here: You can easily walk to the market if you’re staying nearby but it’s also next to the bus station if you require public transport.
5. Loulé Municipal Market
This lively indoor market is situated within a historic building that dates back more than 100 years. If you do wake up to a grey, drizzly morning, this is the perfect place to head until it clears up because it’s inside. This market town is popular for day trips so it’s worth exploring it once you have finished browsing.
Where is it? In the centre of Loulé
When is it? Monday to Saturday – 6.30am to 3pm
What can you buy? There is a wide range of tasty produce available here including fresh fish and organic food.
How to get here: It’s easy to walk to this market but there is also parking available if you’re arriving by car.
Need to know: If you’re here on a Saturday, there is also a gypsy market. This is the largest in the Algarve and popular with holidaymakers and locals alike. Browse the bargains across products including clothes and crafts before sampling the delicious street food.
The Bifana sandwich, which is thin marinated pork cutlets inside a Portuguese bread roll, is particularly popular. This market can be found on the west side of town, just a short walk from the castle – which you might like to visit too.
6. Tavira Indoor Market
This is another market that is perfect to visit if the weather isn’t on your side because it’s indoors. Inside the historic building, you’ll find stalls alongside shops.
Where is it? On the riverside in Tavira
When is it? Monday to Saturday, until 3pm. Opening times are between 6.30am and 7.30am depending on the season.
What can you buy? Various products and produce including fruit, meat, fish, clothes, furniture and toys.
How to get here: There is parking available if you’re driving.
Top tips for shopping at the markets:
- Arrive early to get the best products or produce
- Stay until the very end to find the real bargains
- Don’t be afraid to haggle the price down
- Make sure you have plenty of cash on you
- Explore the market before you start shopping to get a feel for what is on offer
- Take bags to carry your purchases in
- Allow at least a couple of hours, so you aren’t rushing around
- Don’t be afraid to speak to the stallholders and ask questions about the products
- Remember, food markets are the ideal place to pick up local produce if you’re on a Self Catering holiday.
- If possible, ask for a sample so you can try before you buy