Whether you want to bag a bargain or feast on food, Europe has myriad markets to suit every taste and mood.
Europe sparkles at Christmas with a host of seasonal markets, but its year-round markets are must-visits too with colourful cuisine, artisan work and bargains galore waiting to be discovered. From floating flower stalls to famous flea markets and food fests, here are some of the best markets to visit in Europe.
Mercat de San Josep de la Boqueria, Barcelona
Barcelona’s largest food market, the Mercat de San Josep de la Boqueria has been trading in the city since 1836. Just off Barcelona’s famous Las Ramblas shopping street, La Boqueria is a feast for the senses with colourful tumbles of fruits and vegetables sold alongside traditional jamon, cheeses, seafood and snack stalls serving freshly made pintxos (small tapas-like snacks). This brilliant Barcelona food market is open everyday except Sunday.
Berlin Village Market, Berlin
Germany may be best known for its traditional Christmas markets, but the country has plenty of exciting year-round markets on offer too. One of the newest and trendiest is in Berlin, a capital city known for its radical edge and diverse food-scene. Housed in a former depot backing on to the railyards in the hip Friedrichshain district, Berlin Village Market shows off the best in street food every Sunday. Aside from food trucks, the market also has stalls selling crafts, live DJ performances and theatre productions. Read more about some of the other best things to do in Berlin in our blog.
Borough Market, London
Borough Market in one of London’s oldest and largest food markets, dating back to 1756. No other London market can quite compare to Borough, its warren of stalls and vendors selling fresh produce, artisanal treats and international street food of every sort. From farm-fresh fruit and vegetables to pork pies, Caribbean cuisine and French fare, there is something to tantalise all tastes buds. There are also plenty of cafes and shops dotted around the market, making this Southwark spot one of the liveliest and trendiest in London. Borough Market is open every day except Sunday.
Great Market Hall, Budapest
Built in 1897, Budapest’s Great Market Hall is the oldest and largest in the city. Covering three floors, the market is popular with both local people and visitors, offering a plethora of produce including meats, pastries, spices like Hungarian paprika and plenty of local delicacies. Don’t miss trying some traditional lángos, deep-fried dough topped with sour cream, Hungary’s favourite street food. The Great Market Hall is open everyday except Sunday.
Antiques, collectibles and souvenirs
Marché aux Puces de Saint Ouen, Paris
A sprawling network of stands, warehouses and alleyways by Porte de Clignancourt in Paris, the Marché aux Puces is the world’s largest second-hand and antiques market in the world. One of the best places in Paris to bag a bargain, this vast market has 14 distinct areas and 1,700 stalls selling everything from furniture, paintings, bric a brac and vintage treasures. Marché aux Puces, the best flea market in Paris, is open weekly from Saturday to Monday. Read more about shopping and sightseeing in Paris in our best things to do in Paris blog.
Portobello Road Market, London
A giant outdoor antiques market running almost the entire length of Notting Hill in West London, Portobello Market is a colourful cornucopia of stalls selling antiques, collectibles, fruit and vegetables, bric a brac and vintage clothes. Boasting more than 1,000 stalls, Portobello Road Market is actually several markets in one, with Saturday, when antiques are sold, being the most popular day to visit. The market stretches over 3km and is open every day except Sunday.
Feira da Ladra, Lisbon
A twice weekly flea market in Lisbon’s historic Alfama district, Feira da Ladra, or ‘Thieves Market,’ has been in operation since the 13th century. Mainly selling second-hand items and bric a brac, Feira da Ladra is the place to go for overlooked treasures. Wander around the makeshift stalls, then explore the Alfama neighbourhood where many of Lisbon’s iconic sights are, including Lisbon Cathedral, the National Pantheon and the Castelo São Jorge. Feira da Ladra is open weekly on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Read more about the best things to do in Lisbon in our blog.
Floating flower market, Amsterdam
Brighten up any visit to Amsterdam by spending time at its floating flower market, known locally as Bloemenmarkt. Located at the heart of the city’s UNESCO-listed Canal Ring, Amsterdam's flower market dates back to 1862 when flower growers would travel into the city centre via the Amstel River on barges. Today, growers still sell their beautiful bouquets from fixed barges on this stretch of the Singel canal, as well as herbs, plants, bulbs and seeds of all sorts. Read more about some of the other best things to do in Amsterdam in our blog.
You might also enjoy reading our blog on the best European Christmas markets.
Image credits top to bottom: La Boqueria in Barcelona Flickr Commons (cropped) ©Samu, Borough Market Flickr Commons (cropped) ©Magnus D, Great Market Hall Flickr Commons (cropped) ©Nan Palermo, Portobello Road sign iStock ©Alex Rodavlas, Amsterdam floating flower market Flickr Commons (cropped and enhanced) ©Kent Wang
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