• Pat

Feira da Ladra - a flea market in Lisbon

Are you a flea market lover? Always search for unique, vintage stuff? Or perhaps you're just addicted to haggling and love bargains. If you've said yes to any of these, you might like to visit Feira da Ladra - a "thieves' market". It's the biggest and the oldest flea market in Lisbon (they say it's been here since the 12th century).

As usually in the middle ages, flea markets were a place where thieves would sell what they acquired during their "activities". Also, locals would show up to get rid of what was piling in their houses and earn some money. And of course, what a better place to socialize and catch up with the latest gossips than a flea market.

Feira da Ladra is still like that. One thing has changed though. Now, it is mostly a place with permanent stalls were professionals sell their products (including fakes).

What can you find in Feira da Ladra? The shortest answer would be - everything. Second hand clothes, new clothes, jewellery, shoes, old and new books, furniture, cutlery, crockery, stamps, vinyls, posters, paintings etc.

You need to be careful though, as along with the increase of tourists at the market there has also come an increase in prices. My tip for getting the best bargains would be to check the stalls either at the very beginning of the market or the end, especially where there are less people. Also, I have found that sellers not speaking English have usually lower prices. They are not focused on tourists, who usually have more money to spend, but rather want to get rid of what they have. I have managed to get a lovely dress or a leather bag for 1 euro. So it is definitely worth giving a bit of more effort and not staying only in the centre of the market.

And the most important thing when you go to Feira: always HAGGLE. It is a market so no one will look at you weirdly. At first, it is normal that you may be shy but once you manage to get something for a lower price than you were offered, you will get hooked on it.

The market takes place every Tuesday and Saturday, from dawn till dusk. It's very easy to get there. It's behind the Sao Vicente de Fora Monastery but you will see people selling their stuff already next to the Monastery. The famous 28 tram stops by.

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