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Where to shop in Algarve – from handmade to high fashion

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Algarve is jam-packed with shopping centers and high street stores yet still retains some of its traditional products in the form of its gypsy markets and independent stores.  High fashion outlets with designer labels neighbor craft stores that value traditional produce, from pottery pieces to leathers and linens.  Whatever you’re searching for in Algarve, you’re sure to find something at one of its malls, stalls or markets.

Fiona Butler

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Faro is an area well suited to high-fashion shoppers, with stores lining its streets as well as a large open-aired shopping mall at its center.  The Forum Algarve mall is a two-storey contemporary building filled with glass fronted shops displaying their wares and a central square brimming with cafés and outdoor seating. Catering to fashion fanatics, the mall hosts stores that sell jewellery, cosmetics, perfumes and clothing as well as hairdressers, opticians, travel agents and toy stores.




Loulé is an area known for celebrating both local and international arts and crafts. In particular, Loulé houses the Artcatto Art Gallery, which is tucked away in a traditional Portuguese townhouse.  The gallery displays contemporary art pieces, including paintings, sculptures and photography, and often throws exhibitions.  In stark contrast to the art, the building that encases it retains its old features and décor.  The town’s market is also worth a visit, with traditional goods available for purchase.




Every Wednesday, Quarteira’s streets come alive with the calls of vendors and bustle of excitable crowds hungrily hunting for a bargain.  The weekly gypsy market, located at Fonte Santa, has become a must-visit in the area, with local buses and organized tours gathering there religiously.  The vendors sell an abundance of cheap and exciting goods, boasting everything from a needle to an anchor.   You’ll also find African traders selling their own traditional gifts.  With an electric atmosphere, any visit will leave you wanting more.




The Porches area touches on Algarve’s traditions, and is well known for its pottery produce.  Pottery was once a thriving local business in the area, and one that is still cherished today. Nowadays, Porches Pottery proudly maintains the tradition and lines its shelves with vast window displays of crockery and homeware accessories.  The cylindrical cups, plates and vases are classic pieces yet unique to the area, making them an ideal souvenir or gift.  Each item is hand crafted and hand painted, displaying intricate freehand patterns and designs of flowers, swirls in eye-pleasing colors.




Focusing on local, independent stores, Lagos is a hotpot of handcrafted goods.  Head there for handmade jewelry and accessories, where displays drip with everything from earrings to necklaces, bracelets to rings.  The area is also home to Loopy Mosaic, a small local company that produces intricate mosaic gifts as well as larger commissioned pieces. If you prefer a more hands-on method of shopping, a visit to Funny Tee’s is a necessity.  The store offers a vast selection of t-shirts in various colors and sizes, allowing you to pick out designs and combinations yourself, including glow in the dark options.




Highly popular with tourists and beach goers, Albufeira’s ‘strip’ is a trove of holiday-themed merchandise.  Lining the strip visitors will find a plethora of sunglasses of all shapes and sizes, along with beach and casual wear.  During the summer months, shopping in Albufeira hits an all-time high with vendors also taking to the streets.  These shops and stalls are often open into the night, seeing the bustling street transform into a neon-colored hub of activity.