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Shopping in Portugal


Shopping in Portugal is not so expensive in comparison with other European countries. The assortment isn't as extensive as in the neighbouring countries either. Everywhere in Portugal you can buy directly from the producer. In the morning market which is held mostly in the centre of the town, one can buy the daily needs.

Street markets are an integral part of Portuguese life. Most Portuguese towns and cities also have covered markets which are open in the mornings from Monday to Saturday, selling all sorts from fish and vegetables to handicrafts and clothes. Almost every smaller town and village has a weekly market. The majority take place in the morning, although in tourist areas they often continue into the late afternoon. Portugal's most famous market happens every Thursday in Barcelos in the north. Here, visitors can pick up all kinds of souvenirs, including locally made pottery, lace, embroideries and rugs.

Portugal has a fine tradition of handicrafts, most notably wickerwork, ceramics, embroidery, rugs, copper, brass, wrought iron, woodwork and leather. It is also popular for its leather goods, which mostly come from sheep and lamb skins. Hundreds of shops all over the country sell leather jackets, coats, gloves, pocketbooks, wallets etc.

Filigree jewellery is another best buy, particularly from the Minho region in the north, where gold and silver threads are worked into fine, intricately designed brooches, earrings and pendants.

Shops generally open from 9am to 7pm and big supermarkets which usually open 7 days a week, from 9am to 11pm.


Shops operate all over the city, but Baixa, in downtown Lisbon, is the major area for browsing. Rua Aurea (Street of Gold, the location of the major jewelry shops), Rua da Prata (Street of Silver), and Rua Augusta are Lisbon's three principal shopping streets. The Baixa shopping district lies between the Rossio and the river Tagus.

Rua Garrett, in the Chiado, is where you'll find many of the more up-market shops. A major fire in 1988 destroyed many shops, but new ones have arisen.

Antiques lovers gravitate to Rua Dom Pedro V in the Bairro Alto. Other streets with antiques stores include Rua da Misericórdia, Rua de São Pedro de Alcântara, Rua da Escola Politécnica, and Rua do Alecrim.

Regardless of where it's made – from the Azores to the remote northeast province of Trás-os-Montes – merchandise from all over Portugal ends up in Lisbon stores. But if you're going to a particular province, try to shop locally, where prices are often about 20% less than those in Lisbon. A general exception is the fabled handmade embroideries from Madeira; prices there are about the same as in Lisbon.

Products made of cork, which range from place mats to cigarette boxes, are good buys. Collectors seek out decorative glazed tiles. You might also find good buys in Lisbon in porcelain and china, in fishermen's sweaters from the north, and in fado recordings.

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