Tavira, in Portugal’s East Algarve, has a wealth of places to shop, ranging from tiny specialist stores to the big names that populate the shiny and new Gran Plaza shopping centre.
But if you want to really experience Algarve shopping at its best, the essential place to visit is Tavira market.
Tavira Market: The Basics
Tavira market is located in a “hanger” style building just on the edge of town, near to the “big bridge” that carries traffic over the river. It’s open from Monday to Saturday, and it’s best to visit in the morning, as store holders often begin to “shut up shop” around lunchtime.
Tavira Market: Fruit and Vegetables
Once you’ve seen the produce selection at Tavira market, you won’t want to buy fruit and veg in the supermarket ever again! There are at least thirty stalls, some selling a wide range of products, and others specialising in just seven or eight items freshly harvested from a local smallholding.
Prices can vary, and a few words of Portuguese will buy you some goodwill with the stallholders. Seasonal products are the order of the day, so while you may not find everything all year round, what you do find will be fresh and delicious.
Meat and Fish at Tavira Market
Half of Tavira’s market hall is filled with fresh fish, ranging from sparkling sardines, to crabs and lobsters in tanks.
It’s worth taking a good look at the fish to choose the best specimens. Quality can vary, so look for fish with sparkly skin and clear eyes, and remember that the freshest fish smells like the sea, and not like fish!
When it comes to meat, one wall of the market is lined with butchers’ shops. You will find everything you could want here, including a few items that may turn the stomachs of the squeamish, including whole suckling pigs and hanging rabbits!
More to do at Tavira Market
No trip to Tavira market is complete without a coffee at one of the cafes on the outside wall. On Saturdays there’s often a flea market in this area too. Saturday is the best day to visit, and it’s easy to while away a whole morning, returning home with an inexpensive weekend’s worth of food.
To end on a useful tip: Monday is the worst day to visit. Fishermen don’t go out on Sundays, so any fish is likely to be the same that was on display on the previous Saturday. You’re best advised to save your visit for Tuesday or later!