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Mercado do Bolhão – Porto’s Colourful Food Market

Mercado do Bolhão – Porto’s Colourful Food Market

Bolhão is Porto’s most famous market, it is located in the city centre in an open-air two storey building. Mercado do Bolhão is a great place to experience the ‘real Porto’. The charismatic stall holders are what make this place worth a visit.

It occupies a whole square with about 90 traders inside the market and a further 30 in shops on the exterior building. The name Bolhão means ‘big bubble’ in this case referring to a bubbling stream of water.


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Its origins date back to the 1837 when there was an increase in population in the city due to industrialisation and the authorities decided to set up a market to supply the city with everyday produce. However the construction of the current building dates back to in 1914. It remains a traditional market selling mainly fresh seasonal produce; fruit, veg, fish and meat. In 2006 it was classified as a building of public interest.

Project to Modernise Bolhão

One of the oldest open-air markets in Europe which has been neglected for several decades. The project to modernise Bolhão begins in 2017 and will take about two years to complete. The idea is to maintain the traditional identity of selling fresh produce on the ground floor and install restaurants and shops on the top floor. Bolhão will be open for the summer 2017 and will close in September for works. We’re all looking forward to the new building which will bring better conditions for the stall holders. In the meantime they will continue business as usual in a nearby shopping centre,  La Vie in Rua Fernandes Tomás so you’re welcome to pop in for a visit if you find yourself in Porto.


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I hope I have inspired you to experience the ‘real’ Porto at Bolhão, if you do visit please come back and share your thoughts in the comments below.

Mercado Do Bolhão

Rua Formosa 214,    4000 Porto

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