The first Sunday of each month is a huge open air market in Azeitão, Portugal.
Hundreds of local and regional vendors set up early and sell everything from fruit and nuts to cheese and honey to clothes and fabric to plants and trees to live animals.
The market is set up with similar products grouped together. So, the food vendors are in one area while the clothes are in another. The one off-putting thing to me is that cages filled with rabbits, birds, and other animals are the first thing you see when you enter the market.
People travel from all over the area to visit the Azeitão market each month. But, don’t mistake this for a tourist market. When I’ve visited the market I’ve heard very few people speaking anything but Portuguese.
One of my favorite vendors is Jorge’s Bolo do Caco. They’ve always got a line waiting for their hot bread slathered with garlic butter. And there’s a good reason for the line. They make the bread fresh at the market, rolling out the dough and cooking right in front of you. Worth the wait!
I also like getting some nuts and herbs when I’m at the Azeitão market. There’s lots of vendors selling nuts in bulk. Same goes for the herbs. I’ve also bought potted herbs like sage and basil here.
If you’re looking for clothes, there’s tons of vendors selling dresses, blouses, shirts, and pants. My favorite vendor is the guy selling shoes. He just dumps all the shoes in a giant pile. It’s up to you to sift through the shoe mountain and find one you like in your size. Then, comes the real challenge, finding it’s matching pair. That’s right, the shoes aren’t tied together so good luck finding the other one!
If you’re more of a tailor, there’s also lots of vendors selling fabric by the yard, or in this case, by the meter.
Then, there’s random tables filled with kitchen gadgets or power tools or ceramics.
So, even if you don’t want to buy anything, you’re sure to be entertained by wandering about. And, when you’re done, there’s some tables and chairs set up under a larger tent where you can buy a beer.
Getting to the Azeitão Market
From my house in Setubal, it’s an easy 15 minutes drive to Azeitão. Or, you can get there by bus in about 25 minutes.
But if you’re visiting Portugal, you’re probably coming from Lisbon. From there, it’s a 30 minute drive. Or, you can take the bus from the Lisboa (Alcântara) Avª Ceuta Fte Banco Alimentarbus stop in Lisbon. If you’re lucky, you’ll get the bus that goes all the way to Azeitão. If not, change at Cova Piedade (Avª 23 Julho) R Brejo 22 in Almada. Either way, buses are infrequent and making the trip by public transport inconvenient.