From the ramparts of the Castelo de Palmela, we had an excellent view over nearby Setubal, which would be the next destination of our four-day road trip from Lisbon. Although we knew it was Portugal’s third-largest city, we were surprised by the extent to which Setubal sprawls along the coast, and suddenly uncertain we’d given ourselves enough time to see everything the town had to offer.
Lisbon is such a monumental city that it can be overwhelming. What’s around this corner? Another ancient church with another fascinating history that I’ll want to spend hours learning all about? Ain’t nobody got time for it all! So, it was almost a relief to be exploring the neighborhood of Alvalade, where the biggest “sight” is an everyday produce market.
Lisbon’s most attractive residential neighborhood might be Campo de Ourique, found to the west of Estrela. Centered around a lively market hall, the block-shaped streets hide a wealth of restaurants and shops, and make the area feel like an independent village hidden within the capital city.
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.
Held on Tuesdays and Saturdays on the sloping hill behind the Monastery of São Vicente da Fora, the Thieves’ Market, or Feira da Ladra, has a history stretching back to the 13th century. Today, we assume that the sellers have cleaned up their act, but the market is still a great place for those looking to make a steal.