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 began in 2018 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 is now closed for renovation and remain closed for two years.We’re all looking forward to the new building which will bring better conditions for the stall holders.
The newly renovated Bolhão opened for business in September 2022, we were delighted to have had an opportunity to look around. Some of the stalls are still to be filled on the first floor and we will be updating the post soon.
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Mercado Do Bolhão
Rua Formosa 214, 4000 Porto
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.