There’s nothing like European markets. Whether it’s a German Christmas market in the winter, a music festival and market in the summer, or a great vintage street market almost any time of year (we’re looking at you, London), Europe has got markets down to a science. Here’s our guide to some of the best food markets, flea markets, and souvenir markets in Europe.
Food Markets: Taste the Best of Berlin, Barcelona, & Budapest
Barcelona Boqueria (Mercat de San Josep de la Boqueria)
This market is famous for a lot of reasons: it’s one of the oldest European markets of its kind (there has been a public market in its location since the 15th century); it’s one of the most beautiful European markets, with its rows and rows of colorful, packed stalls; and it’s located right off of Las Ramblas, one of the most popular shopping streets in all of Europe.
This market has got every type of food you could want to try in Spain — fresh fruit, fish, pastries, coffee, tapas — and if you stay a while you’ll enjoy some quality people-watching and maybe even overhear a bit of local gossip.
Travel Tip: The market is open Monday-Saturday and is located off the Liceu stop of the Green Line subway. If you plan to take public transportation a bunch during your stay in Barcelona, the Barcelona Card might make your life a little easier.
Berlin Village Market
Usually the only German markets that get any attention are the Christmas markets (which we totally get — we do love those pretzels and mulled wine), but there are also several food markets of note located throughout the country. One of the newest is Berlin’s Village Market, open on Sundays — a new hip market with frozen yogurt stalls, fancy pulled pork burgers, live music, craft stalls, and sometimes even theater performances.
The market is housed in a former depot-like structure in an industrial area of the city — pretty much exactly where you’d expect a hip new food market in Berlin to take place.
Also — we like that the opening times are listed as “midday- midnight” rather than specific hours. So hip.
Budapest’s Great Market Hall
We are slightly biased towards this one because it looks like a giant train station. Can you blame us? This market has multiple floors and, like the Barcelona Boqueria, offers almost every type of food you can imagine, including the Hungarian specialty “langos” (deep fried dough with sour cream and cheese on top. Sign us up for about a dozen of those, please)
There used to be a canal running through this market to allow for deliveries, but that no longer exists. Still, guided tours are available to help you navigate the selection of meats, paprika, and pickled goods, and this market remains one of the city’s top attractions for visitors. You’ll find it on the Pest side of the Danube River, fairly centrally located within the city of Budapest.
Flea Markets: Haggle Your Way Through Paris, London, & Budapest
Les Puces in Paris
This is probably one of the most famous European markets (and potentially one of the world’s most famous as well). Translating literally to “Fleas,” this market embodies everything you’d want from a massive European flea market: deals to be had everywhere, locals and travelers mingling together in the crowd, and pretty much every sort of antique object under the sun.
Perfect for a relaxing stroll on a Sunday morning or a more intense shopping spree on a Saturday afternoon, this market is great for any type of traveler. It’s open Saturday-Monday (though hours are different on Mondays).
Travel Tip: Closest metro stations are Porte de Clignancourt or Porte de Saint-Ouen. If you plan on taking the metro around Paris during your visit, a Paris Visite Card might be a good option for you.
Portobello Road Market in London
This famous shopping destination is the largest antique market in the UK. Most of the little shops and stalls along this two mile stretch are open during the week as well as on the weekends, so it would be easy to stroll the market in the morning and then explore more of the Notting Hill neighborhood in the afternoon.
Notting Hill is known for its quaint cottage-like homes and shops – a relaxing change from the bustling city center of London.
This market (and the equally famous Camden Market, also located in London) is especially great for lovers of vintage clothes and nostalgic accessories.
Travel Tip: There are a few options for Tube stops near this market: Notting Hill Gate off the Central Line, or the Ladbroke Grove stop off the Hammersmith and City Line. If you plan to take public transportation during most or all of your stay in London, you probably want to consider a transportation card like the Visitor Oyster Card.
Budapest’s Esceri Flea Market
This is the market for hagglers — and also a good place to test out your Hungarian skills (or, alternatively, your charades skills), as you may not find many people speaking English at this market. Located a bit outside the city, this market is full of the usual flea market delights: antiques, oddities and collectibles, vintage jewelry and silk scarves — and yet it remains off the tourist path for now, unlike many of the other popular flea markets in Europe.
This is probably partially due to the fact that it’s located outside the city and figuring out the bus is a bit confusing — but ultimately worth it if you’re able to find your way.
Typical Hungarian souvenirs to keep an eye out for at this market: paprika, lace and vintage scarves, quirky hand-crafted decor (wooden or porcelain).
Souvenir Shopping: Find Just The Thing! In Amsterdam, Istanbul, & Milan
The Floating Flower Market in Amsterdam
Amsterdam is known for being bold: whether it’s the bold colors and style of one of its most famous artists, Vincent Van Gogh, or the bold sex shop window displays and cafe offerings in the Red Light District, we get the picture: Amsterdam is bold.
Along that same note, The Netherlands in general is known for having some of the most beautiful and vibrant flowers in the world. You can swing by the floating flower market — the only floating flower market in the world– on the canals of Amsterdam to have a look for yourself and maybe even pick up a souvenir or two for your garden — there are bulbs and other flowers ready for proper export (make sure you check with customs before you leave to see exactly how you should transport these types of things back home).
Beyond flowers, the market sells gardening supplies and decor along with more traditional souvenirs (the stuff you’d expect to see in gift shops). It’s a small, picturesque surprise along one of the canals and a quiet way to pass an afternoon in one of the loudest little cities on the continent.
Travel Tip: The market is open Monday to Friday 8:30am to 7:00pm, Saturday and Sunday 8:30am to 7:30pm. If you want to explore the canals further, check out these Canal Bus Day Passes.
Would you add any European markets to this list?
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