Markets and shopping, Lisbon
Before the trend of big malls, Garrett street was the most remarkable shopping area in Lisbon. Business faded but sophistication remains, with some historic shops surviving the new challenges.
Totally recovered from the big fire, it is a "must see" not only for shoppers.
Avenida da Liberdade starts in Marquês de Pombal and it ends in Restauradores. This is the most expensive street in the country and it’s where you’ll find the most expensive brands: Prada, Calvin Klein, Timberland, Massimo Dutti, Armani, Burberrys e Adolfo Dominguez.
It’s also full of offices, hotels, theaters and more recently esplanades. Even if you don’t want to shop this is a beautiful street, full of life and interesting to walk around and appreciate a less touristy Lisbon. Normally manifestations and some celebrations take place here.
Chiado is one of the places to go if you want to live Lisbon. Recently rehabilitated (due to a huge fire), it’s full of life, stores and culture. Counts with Lisbon’s most famous café: A Brasileira. Where you’ll find, immortalized, one of our best writers: Fernando Pessoa. Rua Garrett has oldest bookshop of the World (1732) which is worth a look.
If you want to shop this is also the perfect place because it’s where the locals do it and it’s quite pleasant to walk around and appreciate the architecture of the city.
Lisbon's flea market is called locally the Feira da Ladra or "Thieves’ Market" (in the original Portuguese, it is a woman thief!). A market of this type is thought to have been in place in Lisbon since the 12th Century and the name Feira da Ladra was first mentioned in the 17th Century. Located just to the north of the Panteão de Santa Engrácia (National Pantheon) and the Igreja de São Vicente de Fora in Alfama, the market takes place twice a week on Tuesdays and Saturdays. The stalls sell mostly bric-a-brac ranging from the usual touristy stuff, to clothes, toys and antiques. There are a couple of interesting stalls with prints of old maps, old postcards and photos. It’s worth having a rummage around and remember to haggle!
Feira da Ladra, Portuguese for Thieves' Market is a Lisbon phenomenon. It's a huge flea market spread out over a neighborhood campground above the Moorish district of Alfama and held all day Tuesdays and Saturdays. Saturday is the best day to do it where you'd find the entire camp - the Campo de Santa Clara - bursting at the seams with an unimaginable and unaccountable display of wares from real and valuable antiques, fake antiques, army surplus clothing, beddings, electrical and plumbing tools, new and used CDs and DVDs, the veritable tee-shirts, beautiful ceramics from the Alentejo, woodcarvings from Portugal's former colonies in Africa, lamps, books, azulejos, a gamut of knick-knacks, junks, as well as incredible finds and much more.
If you like markets and enjoy spending hours on end looking and searching for that unexpected treasure, this is the place to be at in Lisbon on a Saturday morning or afternoon.
If you're patient and possesses a keen eye for antiques or old precious items wrongfully discounted and carelessly mis-assessed or simply discarded, there are lost treasures to be had here at an unbelievable price. Recently, I found and bought a 20-carat fully-functioning 1923 Tissot wristwatch for an amazing 60 Euros! And here too is where I come to look for those now rare azulejos from the early period up to 18th century for my tile collection at bargain basement prices.
While at the flea market, pay a visit to the two other attractions nearby, two of Lisbon's imposing and towering churches: the Sao Vicente de Fora and the Igreja de Santa Engracia. The latter, which took over two centuries to build - started in 1682 and didn't get finished until 1966 - is now the country's principal pantheon for its important dead and heroes.
A note of caution: because the Feira da Ladra attracts huge crowd, be on alert for pickpockets. Thus, it's important to keep a close eye on one's valuables and purchases. Same caution should be observed closely while riding the old tram.
There are many, many shopping malls in the Lisbon metropolitan area and more will open soon. The newest addiction that will probably open in May of 2009, is the Dolce Vita Tejo. With more than 122.000 sqm for stores it will be the biggest shopping center in the Iberian Peninsula overcoming its neighbour Colombo (www.dolcevita.pt).
Colombo is right now the biggest in Portugal. It is easily accessible using the subway (blue line, Colégio Militar/Luz station) has 420 stores including a huge supermarket, an amusement park, health club, big stores of Fnac, Zara, Aki, Toys R Us, Disney, etc... (http://www.colombo.pt/). It is open everyday from 9AM to 00:00.
Many people talk about Freeport Outlet (http://www.freeport.pt/). Well don't go there if you don't have a lot of time because it is really far away and out of everything. Yes it is the biggest outlet mall in Europe (75.000 sqm and 140 stores) but it is jinxed since the beggining. It was partly built in a natural reservation and there are processes in the courts for corruption. When it open most of the stores were closed and so people were actually disapointed and they lost a significant amount of customers. Last year the shop owners asked the bankrupcy of the mall. Today it is earning a new life but it is still not a must in my opinion. To get there you have to go to Gare do Oriente (Oriente station, red line of the subway) and get a TST bus 431, 432 or 437 (http://www.tsuldotejo.pt/) and it is about 30 minutes away. Using a taxi it can get around 30€.
El Corte Inglés is the biggest department store in town and is in the blue line (subway station São Sebastião). It is the biggest department store in the Iberian Peninsula it has 10 floors and everything in the same place although prices are a bit more expensive than in other malls and variety bigger. In 2009 they are set to open the second El Corte Inglès store in Parque das Nações area.
Amoreiras is the oldest mall in Lisbon. One supermarket, 250 stores, 50 restaurants, 10 cinemas, a health club,post office, bingo,church and 1000 parking spots it's a good choice near many hotels. It is known for the architecture of its exteriors done by the polemic Taveira. A spanish architect complaint that the plans of this complex were stollen by Taveira and the architect got known for a sex tape scandal, back in the 80's.
The area of Alfragide has also many malls. The huge Ikea store, the big Mediamarkt, the Moviflor (furniture shop), the Alegro Mall (http://www.alegro.pt/) with the only Starbucks in Portugal, 122 stores and a Jumbo supermarket; the Continente hypermarket, the Aki store, Decathlon, Staples Office Centre, etc, etc...
In Almada city it is open the 2nd biggest mall of the metropolitan area, called Almada Forum (http://www.almadaforum.com/). In the city centre you have the small armazéns do chiado with its Fnac store and architecture of the famous Siza Vieira (Baixa Chiado subway station).
Besides that there are many malls in Saldanha area and the Vasco da Gama Mall in oriente subway station, a big and bright mall. The Loures Shopping, Odivelas Shopping, Oeiras Shopping, Fórum Montijo, Cascaisshopping all of them are quite big with more than 100 stores.
Have some nice shopping!
The history of Feira da Ladra (flea market) goes back to the 13th century. This market was hold for the first time in 1272 at Chão da Freira near the castle. After some rambles the market is hold at the Campo de Santa Clara from 1872.
The market is only hold on Tuesday and Saturday. All kinds of goods can be bought. Just walking around can be entertaining too.
Beware of pickpockets!
Rua Garett is one of those timeless streets that is the heart of a nation's literary scene by virtue of that wonderful beverage, coffee. The most famous café, A Brasileira (Rua Garett, 120) has long drawn many intellectuals and authors, but there is no shortage of less famous coffee houses along Rua Garett. Of course, other, more modern shops have moved into some of the storefronts on Rua Garett, but that doesn't diminish the mystique of a street on which they sometimes roll out a red carpet for visitors.
One of the best things that you should do is to visit the Pasteis de Belem Pastry shop and try the famous Pasteis de Nata with your coffee.
Every morning, the 'tarts master' works in the kitchen using a recipe unique throughout the whole world. Apart from putting together the right portions of the right ingredients, the art of producing these Portuguese tarts lives on in making them in the old fashioned way - no machines are involved here, just careful and talented hands!Nowadays, the factory produces around 14 thousand tarts a day and you must be wondering if they can sell them all? If you still have doubts the best way is to try one... if only one will satisfy your curiosity... As the factory produced more tarts, the need for more workers became a serious concern. The possibility of having the secret recipe leak out was something that couldn't happen, so the new pastrymen could only be chosen from inside the company - in this case they must have been working for the factory for at least 25 years, someone who the company could trust. Even then, they had to make a oath and sign an agreement where it said they couldn't reveal the secret of the tarts. If they broke this contract their properties would be expropriated and they could even go to jail. Fortunately, no one ever broke it and the secret still remains inside the factory walls today.
You can eat custard tarts in many cafes, but none would taste like the original tarts, specially when they are still hot and you sprinkle them with cinnamon and powder sugar. But, even if they're cold, they are still quite delicious. Just make sure you take some more with you. They are very well packed in special boxes with the little packets of sugar and cinnamon and before you leave the factory, take a look around - you'll be amazed at the tiled panels in some of the five rooms opened to public.
In Chiado you can find bookshops, museums, hotels, theatres, fashion houses, restaurants and a lot of cafes with most famous representative the café "A Brasileira".
On the 25th of August 1988, Chiado was devastated by a fire that started in a store in Carmo Street and that spread to Garrett Street. Even though there are still some scars of that disaster, a massive renovation programme has brought todays Chiado back to life and it is better than ever!
I have to go to at least one food market when I travel. It's a chance to see the colorful local produce and products. Helps you determine what might be good in resturants too. You can also buy some fruit to keep in your hotel or carry around in case of hunger pangs.
The Feira da Ladra is a great spot to stroll around and have a look at real Lisbon life. This flea market sells car radios, clothes, books, little statues, ... the usual things you can find on a flea market. Feira da Ladra literaly means 'thieves' fair' allthough I hope most people are selling their own belongings :-)
It is held every Tuesday and Saturday morning on Campo Santa Clara.
This street is between the Praça do Commercio and the Square Don Pedro IV. It is a shopping pedestrian street ended by a wonderful arche :-) This street is in the middle of the Baixa district (lower town) : When the city centre was almost completely destroyed by the great earthquake of 1755, this district was rebuilt by the Marquês de Pombal who made of it a commercial area that still retains much of its original character. It is characterized by straight streets with a pavement covered by little tiles, mostly white/yellow and black, typical of Lisbon.
In a centuries-old setting in the Alfama, Fiera da Ladra is one of the most enchanting markets of Europe. It sprawls across Campo de Santa Clara, the street bordering the top of the market, overlooking the River Tagus, and is framed here and there by all manner of baroque and neo-classical buildings. You'll enter there if you walk down Rua da Veronica from the No. 28 tram. Feira da Ladra literally means 'Thieves' Fair'; however, these days most people are selling their own belongings and household goods!
The Alfama Market has been luring bargain hunters for over a hundred years. An 1894 photo shows vendors in the same spots as today's vendors
These days you'll find unique antiques, including Portuguese and Continental furniture, rugs, trunks, china, glassware, tiles, silver, brass, jewelry, toys, books, and art, in indoor shops or outdoor displays. Outdoor stalls also offer vintage and new clothes, pots and pans, crockery, linens, toys, and unexpected treasures such as antique tiles, old riding spurs, or sailing gear. You'll also find popular African art, sculptures, fabrics, clothes, and other collectibles from Portugal's former colonies
Tourists snap up the traditional brilliant hand-painted pottery made by village family producers. A stall at the top of the Alfama sells pottery from Redondo, 100 miles east of Lisbon, and it's always packed. The pottery costs about the same at the market as in the small towns where it's made. Older pieces show up in the stalls of the antiques dealers. Locals and tourists alike also buy white lace in sturdy traditional Portuguese patterns.
Prices are relatively low throughout the market. Bargaining is expected, but the Portuguese are very polite about it. They are an extremely courteous, friendly people, and many went out of their way to help us when we tried our pitifully few words of Portuguese.
The chances are that you will not leave empty-handed if you visit this dynamic and entertaining open-air market. I’d caution you to plan to spend a couple of hours here at least.
The old Mercado da Ribeira, which for decades furnished the city of Lisboa with fish, meat, vegetables and flowers, has changed vocation since the end of last year. Since the upper area was emptied out by the transfer of retail market activity to the new Mercado Abastecedor, the space was transformed into a center for handicrafts, culture and popular art, through the initiative of Turismo de Lisboa and the Câmara Municipal.
The new setup is aimed at promoting the genuine expression of popular voices from Lisboa and the Vale do Tejo, as a way to increase regional tourism, though it is also for the local population, in accordance with the idea that "what is good for the tourist must be, first and foremost, good for the residents."
The Centro de Artesanato e Cultura Popular occupies an area of four thousand square meters, with areas dedicated to the exposition and sale of handicrafts, the demonstration of artisan work, and restaurants that focus on the regional gastronomy.
An area was also created for temporary exhibitions, as well as a multifunction space for shows like popular music and dance, conferences or events.