Portimão is an excellent shopping centre with several retail parks around the outskirts and a wide variety of shops in the town centre. It is a shopper's delight for leather goods, fashion wear and accessories, cosmetics and perfumes. It also has shops for all those household things that won't necessarily be of interest to holiday makers but will be to those who are setting up home in the Algarve - towels and linens, china and kitchen ware, furniture and furnishings and although hardly a household item - dealerships for most of the main brands of cars!
There are several large supermarkets in Portimão as well as smaller mini-mercados making it easy to find everything you need including gluten-free and diabetic foods and if you are travelling with a baby you can buy several of the same brands of baby milks (albeit with slightly different names) that baby is used to.
Vegans and vegetarians will also find plenty to choose from - the branch of Continente in the Continente Shopping Centre is particularly good and we have included some useful words for ingredients you may want to check up on. We have also included portuguese translations for many of the daily staples that you may find useful.
The various shopping parks all have plenty of car parking but if you are heading into Portimão town centre there is a very handy underground park right in the middle of town in Praça da República (follow the signs for "centro"). It is a paying car park but not expensive. There is also a large free car park at Portimão river front which is still very handy for the town centre shops. If you don't fancy negotiating your way through Portimão this is very easily reached by following the V6 to Praia da Rocha and on reaching the roundabout signposting the marina to the right, take the exit to the left and just follow the road to the next roundabout and turn right - the car park is on the left.
Approaching Portimão along the N125 from the west the first of the parks is just past the turning for Alvor:
Portimão Retail Park
A fire in September 2012 destroyed the Retail Park. Only time will tell if it will be rebuilt.
Portimão Retail Centre
Portimão Retail Centre is just off the roundabout where the Avenida V6 meets the EN125 (opposite MaxMat DIY store). The shops on the Retail Centre are open daily from 10.00 to 22.00 and Maxmat is open 08.00 to 21.00 Monday to Saturday; 09.00 to 20.00 Sundays and holidays.
There is a plenty of parking and again, easy access to all the shops for disabled shoppers. The shops include Casa (things for the home - china-ware, kitchen gadgets, decorative items, candles etc), C & A (clothing and accessories for all the family), Page One (fashion), Worten (Electrical), Sportzone (sports equipment/clothing), Brinka (toy shop), Opticália (opticians, sunglasses), Mini Preço supermarket, a phone shop and a self service café.
Aqua Portimão Shopping Centre
The newest shopping centre, Aqua Portimão, opened in April 2011. It is near to the Portimão Retail Centre just off the roundabout where the V6 meets the EN125 and easily spotted by it's landmark orange tower. It has a vast selection of shops including H&M and Primark which are new in the Algarve but very familiar to our UK visitors! It has 2 floors of shops, plenty of parking with both underground and ground level car parks, and a third floor with a wide choice of restaurants. From 7.30pm each evening the restaurant area has a variety of entertainment to accompany the diners and at weekends a programme of children's activities takes place during the day.
Aqua Portimão includes a large Jumbo supermarket which has it's own electrical / photographic outlet, Box, and it's Health and Well-being shop, Saúde e Bem-estar.
Aqua Portimão opening hours
Sunday to Thursday: 10.00 to 23.00
Friday, Saturday and the day before holidays: 10.00 to 24.00
July, August and December: 10.00 to 24.00
Aqua Portimão has too many shops to list here so for lots more information and photos take a look at our Aqua Portimão..Uncovered news blog!
Continente Shopping Centre
The Continente Shopping Centre is further along on the V6 heading towards Praia da Rocha and the shops are open every day from 10.00 to 23.00 apart from the Continente Supermarket which opens at 08.30 and closes at 23.00 Sunday to Thursday and holidays and midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.
This is a larger shopping centre with shops on ground and first floor level and cinemas on the second floor. There is plenty of parking in underground and ground level car parking and the centre has escalators and a lift. The centre also includes a 6 screen cinema and a food hall and you can check the cinema programme on-line to see what's showing.
The shops include Worten (electrical), Sportzone (sports equipment and clothing), a book shop (which stocks some english titles), a pharmacy, travel agents, perfume / cosmetics shop, shops for fashion, shoes, accessories, bags / suitcases, a toy shop, phone shops, opticians. There is also a branch of Millenium bank and a papelaria (papers, tobacconist, cards and Lotto!).
The food hall on the first floor has a surprising range of eateries - ideal for anything from a quick coffee and a cake to a full meal. The outlets include a Burger King, pizzeria, Vitaminas (healthy options!), toasties, Joshua's Sharma Grill (Israeli with a great vegetarian selection), Ice creams and coffee / cake shops.
The market on Avenida São João de Deus includes a wide range of fresh fish and seafood outlets, butchers, bakers, fruit & veg stalls as well as non-food outlets like florists and clothing.
Opening hours are Monday to Friday from 7.00 to 14.00 and from 17.00 to 20.00.
Saturdays from 7.00 to 14.00
- Pingo Doce - R. José António Marques. Opening hours daily - winter: 8.30 to 20.30; summer: 8.00
- Av. Dr. Francisco Sá Carneiro. Opening hours daily - winter: 9.00 to 20.30; summer: 8.30 to 21.00 and July and August: 8.30 to 21.30.
- Lugar dos Craveiros, Av. V 6, Lote 1 : Opening hours daily (including Sundays and holidays): 9.00 to 21.00; Summer: 8.300 to 22.00. (Opposite Portimão Retail Centre)
- Continente - Continente Shopping Centre. Sunday - Thursday and holidays: 08.30 to 23.00, Friday & Saturday to 24.00
- Continente - CM1265 in Cabeco do mocho near Intermarche (where E.LeClerc supermarket used to be) - opened June 2013
- Lidl - opposite Continente Shopping Centre. Open daily 09.00 to 21.00
- Jumbo - Aqua Portimão Shopping Centre. Sunday - Thursday:10.00 to 23.00, Friday, Saturday and day before holidays: 10.00 to 24.00. July, August and December: 10.00 to 24.00
- Intermarche - CM1265. Opening hours 09.00 to 21.00 (Also Bricomarche - DIY / gardening and Roady - motor accessories etc.)
- Mini Preço - Portimão Retail Centre. Opening hours 10.00 to 22.00 daily
- SPAR- Largo do Dique.
To help you find what you are looking for when you are shopping we have listed some portuguese translations for daily staples, different meats and cuts of meat and some of the many fish and seafoods that you are likely to come across.
Daily food shopping staples:
- Milk - "leite" comes in skimmed ("magro"), semi-skimmed ("meio gordo") and full fat ("gordo").
- Soya - "Soja"
- Cheese - "queijo"; goat's cheese "queijo da cabra"
- Butter - "manteiga"; margarine "margarina"
- Bread - "pão"
- Water - "agua"
- Tea - "chá"
- Coffee - "café"
- Meat - "carne"
- Fish - "peixe"
- Marmalade - "doce de laranja" ("Maramalada" is quince jelly - very good with a tasty cheese)
- Chicken - "frango"
- Turkey - "perú"
- Pork - "porco"
- Beef - "vaca"
- Lamb - "borrego"
- Veal - "vitela"
- Rabbit - "coelho"
- Duck - "pato"
Some of the other Portuguese food shopping words that may come in useful:
- Sirloin steak - "bife de vazia"
- Thin pork steaks - "bifanas"
- Steak - "bife de vaca"
- Minute steak - "bitoque"
- Lamb chops - "costeletas de borrego"
- Ham - "fiambre"
- Pork steak - "febras"
- Pork loin - "lombo de porco"
- Mince - "picar"
Sometimes a pack of meat will indicate what type of cooking it is suitable for:
- Grill - "grelhar"
- Roast - "assar"
- Boil - "cozer"
- Stew - "estufar"
If you are buying sliced meats you can either ask for it by weight or by the number of slices that you want, for instance: "Seis fatias" (pronounced "saysh fatee-ash") six slices.
Fish and seafood shopping:
There is a huge variety of fresh fish ("peixe") and seafood ("mariscos") to choose from, both in the supermarkets and at local fish markets. So that you know what you are looking at:
Fish - "Peixe"
Sardine - "sardinha"
Tuna - "atum"
Cod - "bacalhau"
Salmon - "salmão"
Sea bream - "besugo"
Small mackerel - "carapau"
Mackerel - "cavala"
Cuttlefish - "choco"
Bream - "dourada"
Swordfish - "espadarte"
Sole - "linguado"
Hake - "pescada"
Sea bass - "robalo"
Mullet - "salmonete"
Monkfish - "tamboril"
Squid - "lula"
Octopus - "polvo"
Seafood - "Mariscos"
Clam - "ameijoa"
Small clam - "conquilha"
Barnacle - "perceve"
Oyster - "ostra"
Cockle - "berbigão"
Prawn - "camarão"
Crab - "Carangueijo"
Crab (large) - "sapateira"
Lobster - "lagosta"
Razor clam -"lingueirão"
Mussel - "mexhilhão"
Whelk - "búzio"
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Gluten-free products like pasta and biscuits are available in Continente, Intermarché, E.LeClerc and Pingo Doce supermarkets and the Continente at the Continente Shopping Centre has a really good health food section. You will also find gluten-free food in health shops and some of the mini-mercados. Gluten free breads are not as common in the supermarkets but you should be able to find brands like Schar in health food shops.
All of the supermarkets as well as health shops and most of the mini-mercados stock sugar free ('sem açúcar') biscuits, crackers, chocolate and preserves.
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It's always difficult to know what to pack when you are travelling with babies, so here are the brand equivalents for some popular baby milks:
- Cow and Gate baby milks are marketed under the 'Nutrilon' brand in the Algarve.
- Nutrilon 1,2 and 3 are equivalent to Cow and Gate 1,2 and 3
- Nutrilon Confort 1 and 2 are equivalent to Comfort 1 and 2.
- Nutrilon AR 1 and 2 are for babies with reflux.
- Nutrilon HA 1 and 2 are hypo-allergenic but are not Soy based.
- Aptamil milks are still marketed as Aptamil in the Algarve - Aptamil 1, 2 and 3; Aptamil Pepti; Aptamil HA (1,2 & 3) for infants with allergies and Aptamil Confort (Comfort) 1 & 2.
- SMA baby milks are sold as S-26 Gold 1, 2 and 3 (from Wyeth Nutrição) which are equivalent to SMA 1,2 and 3. There doesn't appear to be an equivalent of SMA Extra Hungry.
- SMA special milks (with their portuguese equivalents) - Wysoy (Visoy), Staydown (S-26 AR) and SMA-LF( S-26 sem lactose).
The supermarkets commonly stock Aptamil and Nutrilon baby milk powders including the HA (hypo-allergenic) range, but other brands and the special milks like those for reflux are stocked in the 'farmácias'.
All of the main supermarkets and many of the smaller 'mini-mercados' also stock a good range of jars of baby food and packets of baby cereals. Blédina (a Milupa brand ) do both jars and various baby rice and cereals. Baby Fennel drink is also available from Blédina, the portuguese translation for fennel being "funcho".
Cerelac baby jars and cereals (made by Nestlé) are also commonly available.
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Vegan and Vegetarian food shopping in Portimão
Vegetarian and vegan products are now very easy to find and most supermarkets have a good range. "Continente" and "Pingo Doce" supermarkets particularly stock a good range of tofu and soya products like sausages, burgers and grills, dried soya pieces and tofu blocks, soya spreads, soya milk plain and flavoured, soya desserts and soya ice-cream. Pingo Doce is particularly good for reasonably priced Tofu and Seitan blocks and also stock vegetarian pate and vegan mayonnaise. Their own brand soya milk also works well in hot drinks as it doesn't curdle as many do.
The Portuguese use a lot of beans ("feijões") in their cooking and these are plentiful in all supermarkets either canned or dried. Pulses are also readily available.
There are normally some vegetarian meals in the freezer section, but do check the price....we have come across a pack of 4 vegetable grills for just under 10€ in one shop and less than 5€ in another!
Not all food is clearly labelled as suitable for vegans or vegetarians, so some of the words to watch for in the ingredients are:
- 'ovos' (eggs), 'leite' (milk), 'queijo' (cheese), 'manteiga' (butter)
- 'carne' (meat), 'peixe' (fish), 'frango' or 'galinha' (chicken)
- 'gelatina' (gelatine), 'gordura animal' (animal fat), 'banha' (lard)
- 'derivados do leite / laticínios' (milk / dairy derivatives)
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