When you travel, do you particularly enjoy getting to know the local people and their customs? Did you know that there are places where you can experience the essence of the Algarve’s people? Portuguese people are known for enjoying sitting at the table for long hours, conversing while eating. Therefore, the best place to truly get to know the people of the Algarve is the local markets. Come and discover the ingredients that make up the region’s tables and delight yourself with the freshest products of the Algarve.
There is an essential rule for visiting the local markets, and that is: wake up early! It is in the morning that the best products appear on the stalls of the local markets in the Algarve, and it is also in the morning that the locals like to browse through all the stalls in search of the best products.
Do you already know which is the first place to visit to buy fresh fish or the juiciest fruits? If you don’t, we’ll provide information about some markets in Lagos and other neighboring cities.
Municipal Market of Avenida
Your visit to this market is a must. It is located in a building with a historic façade, on one of the busiest avenues in Lagos. Right in front, boats pass by from the Lagos Marina heading towards the sea, and it is also where tourists like to stroll to admire the colors of this city.
This market is the oldest in Lagos and is divided into three floors. When you enter, the first floor you come across is dedicated to the sea. Here, you can find the famous fish from the Algarve, with the freshness that is immediately noticeable and can be felt on the palate. In addition to fish, there is also seafood. Ask for recipe suggestions at the stalls themselves and venture into the kitchen.
On the second floor of this market, you will find fruits and vegetables to accompany your meal. Most of the products are local, making it even more important to prefer buying at this market.
The third and final floor has a charming restaurant with a view of the sea and the marina. On the staircase that connects these three floors, take note of the works of local artists and the poem written on the wall by Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen, a Portuguese poet who loved the city of Lagos.
Opening hours: Open from Monday to Saturday, from 07:00 AM to 02:00 PM. Location: Avenida dos Descobrimentos, Lagos.
If waking up early is not for you, in Lagos, there is a market that opens in the afternoon. Despite the hours, the products are fresh, organic, and produced in the city’s gardens or neighboring cities. In addition to vegetables and fruits, you can find crafts or other products that prioritize sustainability. The organization of this market awards a seal to stalls with 100% organic products, aiming to identify brands that follow this environmentally friendly concept.
During the pandemic, this market no longer had children’s entertainment, live music, or food stalls, but we hope that their return is imminent.
Opening hours: Open every Wednesday, from 04:00 PM to 08:00 PM. Location: Rua Vasco da Gama – In front of the Town Hall building.
Mercado do Levante
It was in the year of the Carnation Revolution in Portugal that this market was born. It was in 1974 that a market was created in Lagos to help traders sell their products. Don’t get confused if you hear someone referring to this market as Reforma Agrária. In the city, this market is known by both names, and both are frequently used.
At Mercado do Levante, or Reforma Agrária if you prefer, you can find organic vegetables, fruits, and colorful flowers. Until the end of June, this market takes place outdoors. This measure was taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and also to renovate the building that has housed the market since its inception.
Opening hours: Open every Saturday, from 06:00 AM to 02:00 PM. Location: Parking lot of the Lagos Sports Complex.
Municipal Market of Santo Amaro
If gastronomy is something that drives you and you cannot resist a good dish of fresh fish, this is the place to visit. Now, during the summer, you can find typical Algarve sardines, great for grilling and accompanied by a fresh salad of tomatoes, lettuce, and peppers. In this market, large fish also inhabit the stalls. You can find sea bream, gilt-head bream, or other species caught during the early hours.
In the same building, you may be lucky enough to attend exhibitions by the city’s creative community.
Opening hours: Open from Monday to Saturday, from 07:00 AM to 03:00 PM. Location: Rua da Filarmónica Primeiro de Maio, Lagos.
If during your stay, you decide to visit other cities in search of the freshest products, check out our following suggestions.
Municipal Market of Portimão
On Saturday mornings, it’s bustling with vendors, customers, and those who visit the market just to have breakfast. In this market, right in the center of Portimão, you can find a little bit of everything, from fresh flowers and typical fruits of the Algarve to fruits from around the world, vegetables, fish, and seafood. In the vegetable and fruit area, you’ll find stalls of local producers with small-scale production, and right after that, larger stalls with fruits and vegetables. There is also a space dedicated to meat and Algarve sausages. The most coveted space in the morning is the fish section. Take a walk through the various stalls and see which one is best for your lunch.
On the ground floor of this market, there is a small restaurant that opens early in the morning and closes after lunchtime. Their specialty is bifanas, which we highly recommend trying.
Opening hours: Open from Monday to Friday, from 07:00 AM to 02:00 PM and from 05:00 PM to 08:00 PM. On Saturdays, open from 07:00 AM to 02:00 PM. Location: Avenida São João de Deus, Portimão.
Municipal Market of Loulé
This market is a bit far from Lagos, but we guarantee it’s worth a visit. The architecture of this market is inspired by Arab culture, and the reddish tones of the domes stand out from the surrounding buildings. Fresh products are found on the stalls in the morning, but during the evening or even at lunchtime, you can also snack at the market’s food stalls. This market is impressive for its architecture and the life it brings to the city.
Opening hours: Open from Monday to Saturday, from 07:00 AM to 10:30 PM, and Sundays from 09:30 AM to 10:30 PM. Location: Rua José Fernandes Guerreiro, Loulé.
If you are a friend of good food, explore one of the best gastronomic itineraries in the Algarve by visiting each market in the region. If you wish to visit other local markets, ask us how to get there.
Written by: www.belmarresort.com