The Feira do Relogio
Held every Sunday in the district of Marvila, somewhat near the airport, the Feira do Relogio is Lisbon’s biggest market. With mostly clothes and food on offer, this is shopping for locals, and not the kind of flea market where you’re going to find charming old antiques. But if you want to see a different, boisterous side of Lisboan life, it’s great fun.
For us, the Feira do Relogio served as a counterpoint to the upscale shopping wonderland of Chiado which we had explored in-depth the day before. It’s just completely the other end of the spectrum. The most beautiful section of Lisbon vs. an ugly suburb way outside the city. Jewelry being sold from historic shops vs. knock-off Casios hawked from atop cardboard boxes. Booksellers delicately recommending their favorite poet vs. one-toothed women screaming “Moletom! Cinco dólares!” into your face. Smartly-dressed waiters serving your espresso in a sunlit plaza vs. a sweaty guy slapping your sloppy bifana down on the counter.
But you can bet that bifana is delicious. We had a blast at the Feira do Relogio, especially since we were freed from the temptation of actually wanting to buy anything. The market stretches out for over a kilometer, along a path packed with stalls and shoppers. Around the midway point, the focus shifts from clothes to food, and the prices of both are ridiculous. We saw mangoes being sold for half of what you get them for in the supermarket, and weren’t able resist picking up a selection of cheeses.
The Feira do Relógio is a very local experience. In fact, we didn’t see another foreigner at the market (although, they might have been trying to blend in as much as we were). Still, it’s hard to recommend that tourists come here; the market is quite far from the city center, and there’s not really anything “special” about it. But if you’re interested in big local markets, or if you’re in need of some super-cheap slippers, you might want to check it out.