Probably one of the best ways to spend your Saturday morning and experiencing the true Portuguese and local Algarvian culture is by visiting the local town markets. They are most popular on Saturday mornings and visited by the local Portuguese and tourists.
So here are 3 markets you can visit that are all in short driving distance of Dunas Douradas:
So Loule is one of the main cities that is only 7 miles from Dunas Douradas. Dunas Douradas actually belongs to Loule council. Loule is a great traditional Portuguese town that has it’s own university, hospital, library, local swimming pool and many other features. The fish market is certainly one of it’s main attractions and there is a distinctive buzz on a Saturday morning as locals and tourists flood Loule to go to the farmers market.
All the local farmers and producers setup their vending stools in one of the most fantastic Arabic-style-architecture buildings. You will find a great variety of local produce from fruits and vegetables, fish and meat, wines and liqueurs, and handy-craft ornamental items. A great place to find some unique and original souvenirs and items to decorate your home in a true Algarvian style.
Getting up to Loule is fairly easy as it is well sign posted, and will take you roughly 20min to drive up. I suggest you leave nice and early so you find a place to park (Saturday mornings are a busy time as there are lots of people out doing grocery shopping). Try and park in the main avenida (avenue/boulevard in Portuguese) or any where central. There are plenty of shops and cafes that you can pop into on your way to the market.
Fonte Santa Market
Fonte Santa is on the border of Vale do Lobo, which is the neighbooring resort to Dunas Douradas, so it will take you about 10min (driving) to get there. It isn’t really somewhere where you would go to buy food. They mainly sell clothes, acessories and other bits and bobs. It is known amongst the Portuguese as the “gypsy market”, because the majority of the vendors are gypsies. It is a fantastic atmosphere and you are sure to pick up a bargain.
This market used to be held in Quarteira, but has now moved to an open space area in Fonte Santa just next to restaurant Marufo, aka “Chicken Shack”. For those who haven’t heard of this restaurant I would highly recommend it.
To find the market, you will have to drive out of Dunas Douradas, and get on the road that takes you from Almancil to Quarteira. It is about 3km from Almancil, once you pass a Repsol petrol station on your left hand side, you will be 200m away. You will see a set of traffic lights ahead, which is just before a newly build LIDL’s. Once you have the traffic lights in sight, start to look for somewhere to park – perhaps even use the LIDL’s car park.
Olhao Fish Market
Olhao is well known for being a traditional Algarvian fishing town. The fish market which is also held on Saturday’s is a phenomenally great experience and place to buy some fresh fish and seafood to grill later in the day and to enjoy a nice seafood lunch out (which will be very affordable). There are other stools selling local fruit and vegetables, but the main focus is certainly the fish. You can also get a ferry over to one of the islands which is called Ilha da Armona if you are feeling adventurous. It is popular amongst the Portuguese and also has some great seafood restaurants and bars.
It will take you roughly 30 to 40min driving to get to Olhao, either on the EN125 or the A22.
I hope you get round to visiting at least one of these great markets!