I have a weird fascination with markets so when I visited Porto, I had to stop by the Mercado do Bolhão. I woke up ridiculously early to intrude on farmers and sellers setting up their stalls and exchange gossip. While they were getting ready to start the day, I got to observe and stuff my face with pastries.
If, like me, you imagine Bolhão to be a bit like Barcelona’s La Boqueria, dream no more – it’s not that fancy. But that’s a good thing because you can still buy a beautiful blue-and-white tea towel or a pastel de nata for a euro.
The market may seem a bit run down but it makes it more interesting and gives it a less touristy feel. You see locals coming to Bolhão to get their groceries, chat to the sellers, catch up with neighbours. It’s one of those small town things that give the place its character.
Apart from fruit and veg, you can buy very fresh fish, meat and my beloved pasteis de nata. You can also have lunch or try wine. Mercado do Bolhão is one of those ‘true Porto’ experiences you have to try.
Where: Rua Formosa 322
Opening times: Monday to Friday from 7am until 5pm, and until 1pm on Saturdays.