Moncarapacho Market, Portugal

Unless you’re specifically seeking out rural tourism in Portugal, Moncarapacho may well escape your attention. However, it’s actually a very easy Algarve destination to reach, situated just to the East of Faro airport, a little beyond Olhão.

Even if rural life isn’t your thing, a visit to Moncarapacho market, which takes place on the first Sunday of every month, provides a wonderful glimpse into Portuguese country life. It’s a great change of pace from a beach holiday, and something you’re sure to remember.

The market is enormous, and attracts residents from all over the East Algarve. There’s very little you cannot get here, and that includes everything from live ducks and chickens to the tools and materials you’d need to build them somewhere to live!

Livestock’s clearly not likely to be your priority if you’re in Portugal on holiday, but there are plenty of sensible souvenirs on offer. You’ll also find lots of local honey and other food products. Fashion fans will find one end of the market is dedicated to fake handbags and polo shirts of varying quality. Haggling is the order of the day here, and don’t be surprised to see items vary hugely in price from one stall to another. It’s best to walk all the way around and get a sense of the prices before committing to a purchase!

Once you’ve worked your way around all the stalls, there’s still plenty to hold your attention here. One side of the market is dedicated to food stalls, including one cooking vast numbers of barbecued spatchcock chickens all at once.

Many families linger here for hours, painting piri piri sauce onto their chicken and consuming quantities of red wine that seem awfully inappropriate for a Sunday morning! It would perhaps be a little rude not to join them?!