If you’re already following my pages, I guess you have noticed how fond I am of the local interior, flea or open-air markets of the Mediterranean countries. Yeah you’re right, I am talking about the local food markets, known as mercados, offering traditional goodies, trendy items and prepared foodstuffs. But with so many options in the city, knowing where to go—especially if you want to experience the city like a local—can be tough. One of the best things about these markets is getting the chance to try a little bit of everything.
And that’s what I usually do; socialising with some locals when visiting a new city will eventually lead you to a great food market where you’ll most likely try local delicacies that cannot easily be found anywhere else. To get to the point that’s the case with the mercado that I am about to present.
The Mercado do Bolhão is one of the most popular places in Porto. Located in the heart of the city, getting to it is quite simple and walking among its stalls is an experience not to be missed.
Noisy, colorful, boisterous and somehow messy ... are some of the many adjectives that we can be used to describe this emblematic market that I invite you to visit once in Porto.
The origin of the Bolhão Market takes us to the beginning of the 19th century, when by order of the municipal government a square was supposed to be built at the current location of this mercado. The goal was to create a public space, a market that would supply with food the whole city in a process of expansion. Soon an avant-garde project for the time was built, where concrete, metal, wood and granite were mainly used for the first time.
Nowadays, in this market we can find all kinds of stalls selling mostly fruits, vegetables, meat, sausages and fish.
I recommend you to take a walk between the stalls on the ground floor and the first floor, in order to feel like traveling back in time; honestly, there are still some stalls that seem to have stuck back in time, showing you how the mercado was like a lot years ago. (they do sell chickens and roosters…alive…).
A weekend is the best time to visit this market. Loud Portuguese sellers will be shouting and calling you to try their local delicacies. People will be drinking around you, inviting you too, to taste some of their finest Portuguese wines.
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