There are some excellent local shops in Monchique comprising of a variety of bakers, butchers, gift shops, coffee shops, tea rooms and supermarkets where you can buy freshly baked bread, all types of meat and fresh fish, and locally grown vegetables. There is an excellent butchers specialising in the sale of black pork meat and chorizo smoked sausage, which is typical of the region. Black pork is a much richer pork meat as the pigs are fed on acorns and the local chorizo sausage is also produced from this meat.
The cafe in the square specialises in marzipan treats, a local sweet delicacy formed in the shape of the flavouring, fig flavour is shaped like a fig fruit and so on. By the way, the locally sourced produce is all "organic" at normal prices. The locals do not grow anything that is not "organic," they know no difference so you will not see everything labelled organic with inflated prices as you do elsewhere in the world. It's a no brainer then that the majority of local restaurants in Monchique
use organic produce as well and locally sourced too! Just another example of the authenticity of Monchique.
There are several shops selling the local firewater, medronho, which is produced from locally grown arbutus berries. There is also a sweeter version with added honey called Melosa. Many tourist shops sell scissor chairs made from the wood of chestnut trees. They are all handmade by local carpenters and peculiar to the Monchique area because chestnut trees only grow in the Serra da Monchique, no where else in the Algarve. Shopping in the small local shops supports them of course and will give you an opportunity to meet the locals also, they will greatly appreciate your support.
For those shoppers who prefer convenience and to buy everything in one store there is the Intermarche supermarket which you will find on your left as you enter Monchique from the south, with fresh fish and fresh meat counter, a wide selection of fresh fruit and vegetables and a comprehensive wine selection. Here you can buy everything from groceries to electronics and now many foreign foods are sold there to cater for visitors. There is ample parking and a cafe to revitalise you for more shopping! There is also a Coviran supermarket, formerly Spar, past the tourist Information office and several smaller independent supermarkets, hardware stores and a builders merchant. There are also numerous gift shops including cork shops selling everything from shoes, handbags, hats and the beauty of cork is that it is waterproof and very hard wearing. Prices at local gift shops are very competitive so by supporting local businesses you are also saving money. Parking everywhere in Monchique is free, including the supervised underground car park.
Portimao is just 20 minutes drive from Monchique and has three excellent shopping malls. The largest, Aqua Portimao
, is constructed on three floors and has 117 shops and restaurants plus Jumbo hypermarket and underground parking is plentiful. There is an excellent choice of stores including big names such as Primark, H & M, Zara, Foot Locker, Mango, Massimo Dutti, Deichmann and more plus an excellent food hall on the top floor serving food from around the world. It is open daily from 0900 to 2300. Next door there is a smaller shopping precinct, Portimao Retail Centre
, with C & A, Iceland/Waitrose, (trading under British Overseas Supermarket), Guimaraes shoes, Casa homeware, Worten and more.
There is another shopping mall as you drive on the main dual carriageway towards Praia de Rocha Continente Centro Comercial
with Continente as the anchor store and numerous clothing stores, a Cineplex and food hall which is also open until 2300. Incidentally the cinemas in Portugal show English speaking films in English with Portuguese subtitles so no problems there and they show the very latest films to come to the screen. There are also many other large supermarkets in Portimao including Lidl, Aldi, a huge Intermarche and another Continente.
Driving along the EN125 towards Albufeira you will come to Algarve Shopping
on the south side of the road, also a very large shopping mall and food hall.
The latest and most recently opened just off the A22 near Loule is the MAR shopping complex
which contains Ikea as the anchor store, the largest Primark in Portugal and numerous other big name stores plus a new Designer Retail Outlet next door.
All of the shopping malls in the Algarve have free parking too. So ladies, we can safely say that in the Algarve you can truly "Shop until you drop"!
When it comes to hardware stores there are some excellent examples of very large chains including Aki and Maxmat both situated in Portimao and Albufeira area and two huge Leroy Merlin stores, one opposite Algarve Shopping and one close to the new Ikea shopping complex.