Shopping in markets is a unique experience that every traveler should attempt while traveling abroad. Besides finding very local pieces for sale, you can really see a culture behind its touristic facade, and interact with locals either in order to bargain for souvenirs or asking locals for the best food stall.
We have listed some of our favorite markets in the world, where we had the opportunity to eat great food, see some quirky objects and people and truly experience the local lifestyle in different parts of the world.
1. El Rastro, Madrid
El Rastro is a large flea market located in the locally famous Lavapies district, where many stalls are lined with an eclectic selection of vintage clothes, books, objects and military memorabilia.
In order to find interesting things you need to have a good dose of patience and will to dig around the piles, but they are usually in pretty decent prices.
2. Covent Garden, London
This is more of a posh experience, as the market is filled with boutiques and trendy cafes. You can either sit and get your caffeine fix while listening to the many street musicians busking in the area, or you can splurge in some one of a kind objects and souvenirs. A great way to start a sightseeing day in London.
3. Saint Hubertus Royal Gallery, Brussels
This high-end gallery is the perfect place to window shop. You can see very unique pieces, from designer hats to very alternative bookshops. The market celebrates the advent of bourgeois capitalism, modernity and progress with its many intellectual clubs, newspaper publishers and different associations. They are The Association Liberale (Liberal Association) and the Cercle Artistique et Litteraire ( Artistic and Literary Club) which took up quarters in the arcade, making this market not only a shopping experience, but also a place of history and a joint of intellectuals.
4. Camden Lock, London
This market has a long history in the underground, housing some of the best alternative shops in the city. You can walk around in your Doctor Martens and find those vinyls you spent your whole life looking for. The place has lost a bit of its alternative roots along the way, but still a great place to find unique souvenirs and music. If it is getting dark, stick around and party in one of the greatest nearby nightclubs.
5. Mercado Ve-o-Peso; Belem, Brazil
One of the prime symbols of the city, Ve-o-Peso is bathed by the Guajara, at the mouth of the Amazon River. There, you can find an extensive selection of fish, seafood, meat, and various prepared food while enjoying its 17th century architecture. The market celebrates the rich culture of the city, with many mouth watering local dishes such as Acai sorbet, regional rice and beans as well as crab in different sauces.
6. Marché de Enfants Rouges, Paris
The market of the red children (reference to the uniforms that used to be worn by children of an nearby orphanage) is a great hidden gem in the city of Paris. Many people seem to miss the entrance of the small market, but if you keep looking you won’t regret the quest. Colorful fruits welcome you inside the market, which is filled with local wine, cheese, olive oil and food stands. Vendors offer a large variety of ethnic food, from Japanese to Chinese to Lebanese cuisines. If you feel like Moroccan food then you should try the Moroccan stand, called Traiteur Marocain, which sells traditional dishes like lamb tagine, couscous, and baklava.
7. Bloemenmarkt, Amsterdam
If you are looking for the famous Dutch tulips or basically any type of flowers, you can make a visit to the bloemenmarkt in Amsterdam. The market is right in the heart of the city and one of the few floating markets in the world. Take a chance to buy some seeds, as well as just experiencing the nearby bars and cheese shops. It is a very unique experience for an afternoon stroll.