It’s a fact – I absolutely adore markets! Wherever I travel, I make it a point to visit the market in the area (unless there aren’t any) and source out some local goodies. Markets are also a good way of learning the social culture, and you get to meet all sorts of people.
Markets to some may mean cheap knock-offs but if you look carefully you will notice the retired man manning his booth selling all sorts of antiques from gas masks to samurai swords.
Silk scarves, custom-made jewellery and tights in a million colours are one of the many things I have found in markets. Beautiful trinkets, hobby lovers, laughter and bargain in the air…how can one not love markets?!
The markets I have been to are mostly European, except for the odd Asian market. There is a difference between the two. The latter is more like a battlefield. Due to so many stalls and most of them carrying the same thing (mostly knock-offs of each other), haggling is a definite, definite must.
It’s tough in the beginning but when frustration seeps in you learn to be more assertive (ALWAYS haggle the original price by half and slowly move up until you reach a win-win situation).
Here are some of the markets I have visited over the years (in no particular order):
#1 Camden Market, London
One of the very first markets I visited while abroad in UK, this market created a lasting impression on me. There are 2 Camden Markets and the original market (above) is the one which was burned down before so check out if the one you are visiting is the original market.
It is a fairly large market, and one can spend half to a full day here. There are so many interesting things to look out for but conclusively, it is very British and I loved it! Don’t forget to look out for individual up-and-coming designers and their creations.
Biker leather jacket, wayfarers, local designed dresses and British tea are the few things that I have purchased whilst there
#2 Borough Market, London
Like any typical Farmers’ Market, this market sells the freshest produce, family recipes and lots more! It gets very packed with people coming on the weekends to get their groceries so do come early.
I had so much fun looking, talking to owners and eating! Brownies and cookies stacked on a high? Yes please!
My favourite? The oysters! If there’s one thing in this world that I love, it’s fresh oysters. Just looking at this picture is making me hungry…
I can binge on oysters until someone stops me, most that I’ve eaten in one sitting was 50-60 oysters. I can’t beat my Australian cousin though, she beat everyone at 77.
He is located nearer to the dock (where the ship is) if you are wondering where you can find him
#3 German Market, Manchester
Europe has one of the finest Christmas Markets nearing Christmas time, and where to start off but in Manchester where I studied?
Christmas Markets are open 3/4 weeks before Christmas Day and it is the time when the weather starts getting really chilly and cold. What better way then to take a stroll down to Albert Square and have a Hot Chocolate with Baileys? Mmmm.
I definitely miss the Christmas Markets, they really put the jovial in the festive season!
#4 Christmas Market, Edinburgh, Scotland
Edinburgh supposedly has the best Christmas Market in the UK, and I would have to agree on that.
Besides the food and trinkets, it also has many lovely rides and games against the backdrop of the Edinburgh Castle, it really is a beautiful sight at night!
#5 Farmers’ Market, Edinburgh, Scotland
Farmers’ Market in Edinburgh is only open on weekends, and boasts some of the best poultry/vegetable producers. My goal? More oysters! Sadly, the Mr. Bf had food poisoning from the oysters (apparently he’s allergic) and now he won’t eat oysters with me
See the prawn (or a type of prawn) above? It was alive when I took this picture, and a person behind me bought it and ate it raw! I’ve never eaten a prawn raw…have you?
Enjoying a fresh local meat burger in the Spring time, yumm.
I am wearing:
- Necklace-made-into-bracelet – thrifted from a Weekend Market, Amsterdam,
- Wayfarer sunglasses with Jamaican flag colours – Camden Market, London
- Black top with cut-out motifs – H&M
- Coat – Zara
- Satchel bag – Blanco, Barcelona
#6 Bali, Indonesia
I enjoyed myself in Bali, but rarely shopped as I felt the quality weren’t too great in the many markets I visited there.
Our driver kept telling us the markets sell their goods for very cheap due to the bad quality and advised that we head to Ubud (dubbed the creative capital) to purchase local handicrafts (which we did!).
Besides, my money was spent more on sightseeing and diving (a shipwreck).
#7 Christmas Market, Prague, Czech Republic
Prague is a very beautiful city, with so much history. They are best known for their beer (it’s cheaper than water!), absinthe and for charging every single thing used! Like…fork and spoons, the salt, the sauce, etc!
The only turn-off? As we did not speak the local language and English is not a common-used language, the locals were not too friendly It also had freak weather when I got there. I was dressed for Autumn, but snow fell and the temperature dropped so low I was one cranky tourist
There was only a small Christmas Market, but lovely to browse through. Prague is a beautiful city, and one should definitely make a stop here…but only when it’s warmer!
#8 Weekend Market, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
One of my favourite cities, and markets! There were so many things to look at, antiques, collectibles, etc.!
#9 Weekend Market, Xativa, Spain
Spain is one of my favourite countries to visit (I learnt Spanish in my 2nd year at university), and one of the friendliest people around!
The Spaniards are extremely happy when you do try to speak their language, and well, I get by with saying, “Ai, guapo…muchas gracias!” (Oh handsome…thank you!). Gets me everywhere :p
This particular weekend market is in Xativa,Valencia where one of my good friend hails from and is quite similar to a lot of weekend markets.
I’ve also visited the biggest market in Madrid and scored myself a silk/pashmina scarf for only €3!
I did not visit markets in Barcelona (Easter weekend, everything was closed) nor Ibiza so it’s a shame. I had food poisoning in Ibiza, and was really gutted I could not visit the Hippie Market which opens only on Wednesdays (or alternate days). Hopefully I will be able to make my way back there…someday.
#10 Rialto trinkets, Venice, Italy
Ahhh Venice! I love, love, LOVE Venice! I love the little alley ways, the gondolas, the blue skies, the random kitsch shop around the corner, the handsome Italian men…
Everything is like a market, it’s… so beautiful! *cries*
I was living in Rialto during my whole stay and was only able to visit the area around as Venice is very big! It also boasts the world’s only covered bridge/market: Rialto Bridge.
Things in Venice are a tad pricier than in Rome, but you have got to get a Venetian mask and murano glass beads!
I have a custom-handmade designed Venetian mask and it’s so beautiful! Aaah! Definitely a must-go-back!
#11 Trinkets, Paris, France
Paris. “Really?” Well this really wasn’t a proper market, but it was an alleyway selling beautiful trinkets! I just had to walk through it all
I feel that markets have a sense of life and the world would be a very sad world without one! I will be heading to Thailand tomorrow for a week, and I can’t wait to visit the floating market and one of the biggest markets in the world; Chatchuchak Market in Bangkok!