Portimao is one of the few Algarvian towns where you can spend at least half a day browsing. The main shopping streets are Rua do Comercio and Rua Vasco da Gama where you will find lots of boutiques and bag and shoe shops, some lovely perfumery shops and a variety of cafés for the non-shoppers to rest at. You’ll find modern, Pan-European commercialism in this once-sleepy fishing village — most noticeably in busy shopping areas such as massive Modelo Shopping Centre which is open daily, and offers untold shopping and entertainment all under one roof. If that’s too crowded, a good alternative is Rua de Santa Isabel where goods include hand-knit sweaters, hand-painted porcelains, and tons of pottery from factories and individual artisans throughout Portugal
The fishers unload their boats by tossing up wicker baskets full of freshly caught fish Monday through Saturday between 9:30 and 10:30am. Fish, fruit, and vegetable markets are held every morning (except Sunday) until 2pm in the market building and open square. On the first Monday of every month, a gigantic daylong regional market sells local artifacts, pottery, wicker, and even snake oil. Boutiques offering the Algarve’s best selection of sweaters, porcelain, and pottery abound.