Who doesn’t love the hustle and bustle of a market? Obviously, with the current Covid restrictions there are issues but you can easily check online or with the local councils before your journey. The markets around the Algarve are colourful, noisy, full of fabulous local produce as well as all the usual tourist souvenirs and clothes. From squid to sunshades, cork to cucumbers – the Algarve has the lot!
Olhão is the largest fishing port of the Algarve. The town is only 10 minutes from Faro by car or train. To be fair, Olhão isn’t the most stunning town of the Algarve but is the gateway to some of the most beautiful islands of Portugal. It is also a great starting point to discover the natural park of Ria Formosa. The town is famous for its fish market and everywhere you look you’ll find fabulous restaurants serving every kind of seafood available.
The fish market in Olhão is the biggest and most interesting fish market of the Algarve. There are so many different types of fish to choose from, including sardines, octopus, clams and eels. The best time to visit the fish market is on Saturday morning – try to arrive before 11 am when the market begins to wind down.
Gypsy Loule Market
If a great gypsy market is what you’re looking for (and you don’t mind hopping in a car or bus to visit it), Loulé is where you’ll find one of the best in the Algarve. Taking place every Saturday morning and is open until around 2 pm. The market runs alongside the town’s farmer’s and fish markets, which offer fresh local produce. Loulé is a charming historic spot that’s not always on tourists’ radars as its a few miles inland and away from the coast.
Handbags, linens, food, ceramics, shoes, and a plethora of cork products are only the tip of the iceberg when describing potential souvenirs to be found at the Quarteira market. Held every Wednesday in this seaside town, if you want to visit, there are tour groups that leave from surrounding cities, as well as buses from different locations. Though the gypsy market is actually located on the north-eastern outskirts of town in Fonte Santa, Quarteira itself is a great place to explore if you get overwhelmed by the haggling and bartering that are part of the market experience.
On the fourth Sunday of each month, Lagoa has its own gypsy and flea market called the Mercado mensal (or ‘monthly market’). It is located in front of the venue space where Fatacil – one of the Algarve’s largest music and cultural fairs – takes place in August. The Lagoa gypsy market is also a good reason to explore another of Lagoa’s attractive features – the fabulous local wines!
Why visit the Albufeira gypsy market in the Olhos de Água part of town, when there are so many others in the region? Well, one reason is that it’s located in Albufeira, one of the liveliest spots in the Algarve. The mercado mensal here actually takes place twice a month, (just to confuse you!) on the first and third Tuesdays. There are also regular flea markets taking place across the different areas of Albufeira on the first Sunday, Olhos de Agua, second and third Saturdays, Calicos, and fourth Saturday, Sao Joao, of the month.
The first Monday and third Sunday of the month (pay attention to this one!) sees a gypsy and flea market take place in Portimão’s Exhibition Park, home to the Portimão Arena. Portimao is one of the largest cities on the west side of the Algarve and is a popular area where there’s always something to do and see. Its gypsy market is near several bus stations which make travelling to/from simple as parking can be an issue, particularly in the tourist season.