Shop for Food and Souvenirs on the Cheap at European Markets

in Trip Planning

Whether you’re looking for supplies for a picnic lunch or unique (and affordable) souvenirs to bring home, you’re sure to find them at one an outdoor European market.

The market scene (food markets, flea markets, craft markets, etc.) is as diverse as the cities in which they are located. Here are overviews of some of the most famous markets in Europe and what you can expect to find there.

Aix-en-Provence, France

The southern (Provençal) French city of Aix-en-Provence Provençal  is home to some of the most famous markets in France. The grands marchés (big markets) in Aix take place three times a week (on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays) in the city’s two main squares, Place des Prêcheurs and Place de la Madeleine, and in the quartiers (neighborhoods) of Encagnane and of the Jas de Bouffan.

Here you can find loads of food (bread, pastries, meats, cheese, fruits and vegetables) traditional Provençal goods like olives, soaps, jewelry, clothing, art, and Provençal textiles at much more affordable prices than you would in shops aimed at tourists.  In addition to the grands marchés, Aix has several specialty markets.  At Place de l’Hôtel de Ville (opposite the town hall,) every Tuesday Thursday and Saturday there is a large flower market. There is a vintage clothing and accessories market on the Cours Mirabeau (Aix’s main street) on Tuesday and Thursday. More clothing and antiques can be found at the Place de Verdun in front of the Palais de Justice on Saturdays. Aix’s antique and second-hand book fair is held on the 1st Sunday of each month from 9 am to 6 pm at Place de l’Hôtel de Ville (Town Hall square).

Flohmarkt am Mauerpark, Berlin

The markets of Aix-en-Provence are a great place to shop for food and authentic souvenirs.

Berlin is known for its lively flea market scene. One of the most popular is flohmarkt (“flea market”) am Mauerpark, which is open on Sundays from 8am – 6pm. Flohmarkt am Mauerpark is located in Prenzlauer Berg, about a block down from and across the street from the famous Mauerpark (known for its Berlin Wall memorial). The market is near to the Friedrich-Ludwig-Jahn-Stadion M10 tram stop (formerly Oderberger Straße).  Flohmarkt am Mauerpark is a great place to purchase bikes, hats, vintage sunglasses, old photo albums (with the photos still inside), and mid-century home accessories and vintage jewelry. It’s also a great place to go for lunch. There are several food stalls and an outdoor seating area with a small stage where local performers entertain shoppers. I strongly recommend going directly to the Turkish food stand and ordering the Turkish sampler plate (loaded with fresh veggies, herbed potatoes, lamb and onions) and grabbing a cup of German gluhwein (spiced wine with rum) from the beverage booth.

Seville, Spain

Seville has some of the most vibrant markets in Europe. Three of the most popular are Mercadillo del Duque la Magdalena, Mercadillo Filatélico and Mercadillo de los Jueves.

Mercadillo del Duque la Magdalena, Plaza del Duque / Plaza de la Magdalena, Thursday to Sunday – 10am to 9pm. Mercadillo del Duque la Magdalena is a great place to find reasonably-priced souvenirs. Head here to stock up on fashion and handmade jewelry, hats, scarves, bags, sunglasses, leather goods, soaps and perfumes.

Mercadillo Filatélico, Plaza del Cabildo, Sundays 8pm to 3pm,
This lively open-air market in Seville’s city center is a great place to spend a lazy Sunday browsing antiques, old coins, stamps, postcards and other collectibles.

Mercadillo de los Jueves, Feria, Alameda de Hércules, Thursdays – 7am to 3pm
One of Seville’s oldest open-air markets, Mercadillo de los Jueves, located in the Calle Feria, is a great place to find collectibles and antiques, as well as art and used books.

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