Algarve is the southernmost region of Portugal. This area is well known among the surf community due to its beautiful beaches and amazing landscapes.
Well, you ended up here to know more about the best flea market in Algarve, but let’s first continue with our introduction :).
We all know how chill and relaxed is the surf community, this is one of the reasons why we all love them so much, right?! In Algarve you can also find another reality, even more relaxed: people call them hippie. It is a variegated group of people from all over the world who mostly live in their colorful camper vans traveling from one spot to another bringing fresh air and good energy. Well…one of the things they are very good at is organizing flea markets!
Believe it or not any given day of the week there are markets held in towns across the Algarve.
Having said that, if you really want to experience the most colorful, energetic, interesting market, than you are in the right place!
BARÃO DE SÃO JOÃO: THE BEST FLEA MARKET IN ALGARVE
The best flea market in Algarve take place at the sport area on the town of Barão de São João, about a twenty-minute drive from Lagos, every last Sunday of the month.
Here you can find amazing hand crafted jewelers, beautiful second hand clothes, paintings, records, old books, and random treats. Most of the things you’ll find there are truly hand made by the sellers.
While walking around, delicious smells and music pervade the area. Here you can find amazing vegetarian/vegan dishes served directly from flashy caravans, or people playing instruments right in the front of their wheeled homes.
But…we didn’t want just to visit the market, we really desired to be part of it.
Together with our friend Mandy we baked vegan cookies (chocolate + coconut and lots of nuts), crunchy focaccia bread, banana bread and we also made beautiful neckless and bracelets with nice polished stones. We packed everything in Mandy’s van and we drove towards Barão de São João to sell everything out the day after. If we didn’t succeed at least we would have a great huge lunch.
This little adventure allowed us to understand better the spirit of the market and meet beautiful people with amazing stories.
The market starts in the Sunday morning around 8:30, but if you want a great spot you should go there in advance. One night before (as we did) is not enough.
“For a spot in the center of the market, well… you should have come on Wednesday.”
Told us the Germans who were selling old books in front of us.
During the week people just enjoy their time dancing next to the fire or starting random jam session while drinking chai tea.
Even though we arrived there late we got our nice little corner, not in the very central area but still good. We were just next to the entrance, literally the third stand coming from the village, so every one would have walked in front of us.
As soon as we parked the van, people came to meet us, for the most they were curious about what we would have sold the day after. We actually had the same curiosity looking at their empty stands.
PRO TIP: if you will ever go to a market as a seller, it is mandatory to open up your stand in front or aside your vehicle the night before. If you don’t have a proper stand, a piece of cardboard works too!
You don’t want to wake up in the middle of someone else place.
Annette’s stand was on our left. She is a Dutch woman, who left her home country because sick of her life back in The Netherlands. When her daughter grew up told her: “go live your new life mom, i’ll stay here, for now”. So Annette packed her stuff in her red Nissan Micra and together with her little Chiwawa moved to Algarve.
She literally opened up her heart telling us her story, from the sad moments to her rebirth in Portugal. Here she met new beautiful people and she is happy being part of the traveller community.
Her stand was one of the most genuine of the market. Her old clothes where hanging all around, together with pieces of art and hand crafted jewels.
She was our first client for banana breads. Thanks Annette for having spread the voice that it was the best one in the market 😉
In front of us were Hans and Erich, from Germany. A funny/creepy father and son, who were selling old German books and stamps. Are you looking for the history of Macintosh company in German? They have it. Is your aunt a great cook and would love to receive a German recipes book from ‘70s? Next Christmas present is done!
Unfortunately we didn’t see their spot much busy during the day of the market. Maybe they should update their collection or add some English volumes… anyway their squabbles about how to showcase the books were epic, even if we didn’t get a word.
It was a cold night, even if it was March, but not for João.
What could be the best business in a market where 90% of the sellers are there with their customized vans? Hand made stoves!
His hands didn’t lie, everything was truly handcrafted. He makes stoves out of gas canister, but he is also working on smaller shapes for narrow spaces. What makes his creations so memorable is that even if made out of solid heavy iron, they’re super cute.
At the opposite side of the market we found another couple of Italians, they were proudly selling Sicilian food! Something never seen in this part of Portugal before. They struggle a bit at the beginning of the market, but as soon as people tried their delicatessen they sold everything out. Their home made cannoli brought us straight to Sicily for few moments!
Now you would like to know how much did we sell. Good news are: we sold some of our jewelry and all the food we made before the afternoon. Bed news are: we had to buy lunch 🙂
In the end the most important thing is that we will always remember that amazing place, all the beautiful people we met and their stories. We actually would have spent more time in the place we consider the best flea market in Algarve.