Markthal, Rotterdam (Dreamstime)
List Words : James Callery | 04 April

5 of Europe's unmissable markets, from foodie feasts to flea markets

Europe is awash with markets selling fine food, vintage goods and curiosities. Here are five of the continent's best markets for picking up bargains to bring home or to devour on the spot

1: Markthal, Rotterdam


The Markthal's interior (Dreamstime)

No visit to Rotterdam would be complete without a trip to the Markthal, a vast horse-shaped structure that houses the city’s liveliest market. 

The interior's panelled walls are illuminated with fruit and vegetable-themed artwork, visible from the building’s open front. The arched roof contains a block of apartments with plush terraced penthouses overlooking the stalls. 

At the Markthal, you'll find the largest weekly open air fresh food and hardware market in the city. There's plenty of local organic produce on offer, as well as lively bars and restaurants. 

     

2: The Feira da Ladra, Lisbon


The Feira da Ladra (Dreamstime)

The Feira da Ladra, open Tuesdays and Saturdays, is one of Lisbon’s oldest markets, spanning several streets of the Alfama district. The market dates back hundreds of years and was held in various locations across the city before settling permanently here. 

Market traders dress in traditional black clothes, pedalling antiques and second-hand items, from ceramics to ancient trinkets. You’ll find hand-painted pottery and glassware amongst the goods laid out on blankets across the street. 

Feira da Ladra loosely translates as ‘thieves market’, but these days its more of a place for haggling than for dodging pickpockets. 

 

3: Torvehallerne, Copenhagen


The brightly coloured houses of Copenhagen (Dreamstime)

Copenhagen attracts foodies from all over the world and is currently undergoing a hipster renaissance. The city's best food market is reminiscent of London’s Borough Market or La Boqueria in Barcelona, with a range of organic, sustainable and locally sourced food available.

Spread across two symmetrical glass and steel buildings, the market houses over 60 stands, selling everything from gourmet chocolate to exotic spices. Many of the city’s top culinary shops have also set up stalls here, including the world-renowned Coffee Collective and Laura’s Bakery, which is notable for its cinnamon rolls.

 
4: Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen, Paris


Paris flea market (Dreamstime)

The Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen, located in the north of the French capital, has been trading since the 19th century. With over 2,000 stalls spread across 15 markets, you can find everything from kitsch junk to collectible antiques. 

The flea market attracts over five million visitors each year, boasting the highest concentration of antique and second-hand goods dealers in the world. The shipping service is a hit with interior designers, who scour the stalls for decorative items buried deep beneath the heaps of bric–a–brac. 

Each section of the market has its own opening hours, but before lunch is generally the best time to visit.

 

5: Naschmarkt, Vienna


Fruit stall at Naschmarkt (Dreamstime)

Vienna's most famous food market, established in the 16th Century, is a minute’s walk from the Secession Building. 

Stalls are shaded under a sea of umbrellas, with colourful displays of fresh fruit and local cheeses laid out on stalls. The gastronomic stretch, running between Linke and Rechte Wienzeile streets, is also lined with high-end restaurants. Flavours of the Middle East and Viennese coffee are among the treats on offer for visiting foodies. 

On Saturdays, the Naschmarkt car park also hosts a bustling flea market.

Main image: Markthal, Rotterdam