The hustle and bustle of people hollering out their special deals, customers haggling over prices, people gossiping in huddles, cacophony of sounds, all mixed like a perfect blended cocktail for the senses. The smell of baked bread, meat roasting on skewers mingling with the scent of freshly powered spices fill the air and draw you in. This is a reflection of the local culture and economy, this is the farmers market called Mercado Dos Lavradores.
Approach to the market is a constant vision of colour and shape of the variety of products from flowers to fruits and vegetables, from eggs to fish, wines and embroidered table linen. The traditional bread called bolo do caco is circular in shape, resembling a cake, cooked on a Caco, a flat basalt stone slab, and is served with garlic butter and steak. These open markets are frequented by locals and tourists alike.
Women dressed in traditional Madeiran attire sell baskets of all sizes along with flowers which cuts through the soft scent of the morning air. Flowers such as strelitza, also known as birds of paradise, protea, orchids, montbretia, anthurium sit alongside a cluster of bananas, basket of plum, cherries, oranges, lemons, custard apples, chayote, which is a prickly green squash. The vendors encourage you to taste the fruits before buying them but you can always refuse and walk on.
Stalls also sell fragrant herbal tea ranging from Melissa, peppermint, fennel, mallow, pennyroyal, to a heady mix of balm of Gilead, lemon verbena, and lemon grass. These herbs provide cures for various ailments.There are several shops selling Madeira wine and one shop has a dramatic display of wine bottles across the ceiling.
The fish market is stunning. Fish of every size and kind, from tiny shiny golden fish, to dark creatures from the deep are displayed on marble slabs. Black scabbard fish, which they pull out of the bottom of the ocean with a very long fishing line is a local favourite. Huge slabs of tuna, oysters and other colourful fish are showcased as their morning catch. Men armed with huge knives slice and gut the fish with extreme ease and dexterity.
The Macaronesia Garden Terrace is a wonderful restaurant, nestled in green by plants and shrubs. Colourful umbrellas keep out the heat and you recline in pretty wicker furniture as attentive waiters take care of you.
Mercado Dos Lavradores Travel Tips
- Early Morning is the best time to visit.
- Check the prices before tasting the fruit, whether they are local or imported because the vendors either hike the price or add fruit juice for added sweetness. Don’t feel pressurised, simply refuse.
- Look for the blue and silver Hologram quality seal before buying embroidered table linen because some of them are imported from China.
- Although the vendors display local crafts for sale, these items are not authentic and may be imported.
How to Reach Mercado Dos Lavradores
- All public transport is available.
- A Bica
- Loja Da Macaronesia
- Man Chan Sushi
- Snack Bar Escadinha
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67.22% of people who visit Funchal include Mercado Dos Lavradores in their plan
3 PM - 4 PM
39.39% of people start their Mercado Dos Lavradores visit around 3 PM - 4 PM
People usually take around 2 Hrs to see Mercado Dos Lavradores
93.68% of people prefer to travel by car while visiting Mercado Dos Lavradores