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In recent years the Algarve has seen a number of shopping centres opening such as those near Albufeira (the Guia) and Faro (the Forum), allowing easy shopping as retail outlets cluster together under one roof, along with cafes and restaurants. Within the resorts and smaller towns you will find smaller unique shops, that stay open late but close for lunch. Item to look out for include leather goods, embroidery, copperware and cork products, that are often a great deal cheaper than you could buy them for in the UK.
Every month you will find a number of gipsy markets springing up throughout the region. Stalls offer a huge variety of handmade crafts and fresh produce. It is the perfect spot to find souvenirs and gifts or simple to wander the aisles joining the cultural atmosphere. Many villages have covered market places that are open every morning with local food.
Top souvenir ideas to think about taking home as gifts or keepsakes include Azulejos, mass produced tiles depicting designs of the 17th and 18th centuries, ubiquitous Barcelos cockerels and hand painted figurines, the distinctive Monchique folding stools that are easy to transport, or a bottle of the local liqueur from the Algarve, medronho, made from arbutus berries.
Read more on this destination in the AA Essential Guide to the Algarve
Top shops in the Algarve
A Mo, Cabo San Vincente Road, Sagres - Large selection of traditional Algarve pottery and souvenirs.
Bazar-Miriamis, Largo du Dique 11, Portimao - A great range of handicrafts and ceramics of all kind, from the Algarve and elsewhere in Portugal. Shipments of goods can be arranged.
Casa Algarve, On the north side of the main N125, Porches - One of the best of many local ceramic shops along this stretch of road, with an endless array of artefacts.
Casa dos Arcos, Rua Auguste Gulbenkian, Monchique - Monchique’s speciality is simple, folding wooden chairs. They are easily transportable and this is the place to buy some of the best.
Estudio Destra, Largo Jeronimo Osorio, Silves - Ceramic artist Roger Metcalfe produces as excellent range of azulejo murals in modern styles and also undertakes commissions.
Monchique Market, Monchique - Farmers from a wide area bring their produce here, as well as ceramics and handicrafts aimed principally at tourists from coastal resorts.
O Aquario, Rua Vasco da Gama 42-46 - A very stylish shop selling a selection of Atlantis crystal glass, Vista Alegre porcelain and other high quality products.
Porches Pottery, On the south side of the N125, Porches - The Algarve’s most famous ceramic centre, which features many avante-garde creations, as well as traditional Algarvian pottery.
Portas do Castelo, Praca da Republica 1-3, Tavira - Excellent range of modern cork products plus other artesanato.
Pousada Porto, Rua do Bocage 50, Faro - Reputed to be the best wine shop in Faro, including an excellent selection of Alentejo wines.