Of all the towns and villages that we’ve visited markets at in the Algarve, the Arabian style market hall of the Loulé municipal market is our favourite. Here the array of stalls filled with fresh local produce appear even more vivid in colour and aroma, and the sense of community almost tangible as locals gather from the surrounding villages every morning to buy their fresh fruit and vegetables – it’s a good idea to get here early as many of the stalls will pack up as soon as their produce is sold.
Hand-made arts and crafts, including cork products, pottery, leather slippers and shopping baskets, can be purchased at very reasonable prices. You’ll also find stalls with honey in beautiful hand-painted jars, cakes and pastries, sauces and jams, fresh cut flowers, herbs and spices, and fish stalls heavy with the previous evening and early morning’s fresh haul.
Praça da República. Open every morning except Sunday.
On Saturday mornings the stalls spread out from the market into the street and you’ll also find a gypsy market at the end of Rua da Nossa Senhora da Piedade.
Porches Pottery opened in 1968, with the aim to ensure that the old crafts and artistic traditions of the ancient Algarve still have merit in the modern age – and the founding artisans seem to have succeeded!
To this day, many local artisans who learnt their craft here continue a tradition that’s thousands of years in the making, and if you pop in you can see them creating lovely hand-made and hand-painted pottery in this beautiful building – a traditional Algarvian farmhouse – and you can also request personalised pieces, a wonderful idea for unique gifts.
Breakfast, light lunches, refreshments and home-made cakes (the carrot cake is particularly good!) are served in the pottery’s Bar Bacchus; which is beautifully decorated with murals telling the story of the Roman god Bacchus, and has a sun terrace and nice shaded outdoor deck area.
Open throughout the year, Monday to Friday from 9am – 6pm and Saturdays from 10am – 2pm.
The Algarve shopping centre in Guia, well signposted from the main roads, has a supermarket and a large selection of stores. Alongside the familiar chain stores such as Zara, Pull & Bear, Mango and C&A, you’ll also come across some of the most popular Portuguese outlets – Salsa (jeans that do incredible things) and A Loja do Gato Preto (textiles and home décor) are amongst other interesting finds.
Several cafés and restaurants can be found on the top floor, and with plenty of open air areas, relaxing seating galleries, and a cinema showing English movies, it provides a very pleasant environment to take all the breaks you need from the tiring task of shopping!
With extensive free parking, ATM machines, WiFi, and modern toilet facilities, it’s a comfortable place to spend the day should it happen to rain in the Algarve. Or on a hot day, when you’ll find it’s calm and cool atmosphere very welcoming indeed.
Free wheelchairs and pushchairs are available for loan. There’s also a nursery with changing and feeding area, and crèche available for 2+yr olds (for a small hourly fee).
At the neighbouring Retail Park Albufeira you can find several popular outlet stores, including Iceland and the Nike outlet.
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