Fresh olives, local artisans, sipping a drink as you browse. Does it get better than that?
We asked 15 travel bloggers to recommend the most INCREDIBLE food markets in Europe that they’ve ever been to. Keep reading to discover what they said!
Food Markets in Europe Quick Guide
- St. George’s Market
- Portobello Road Markets
- Cardiff Indoor Market
- Kirkgate Market
- Marché du Midi
- Nuremberg Christmas (Christkindlesmarkt) Market
- Regensburg Christmas Market
- Athens, Greece – Monastiraki Flea Market
- Budapest, Hungary – Great Market Hall
- Mercato Di Mezzo
- Mercato di Porta Palazzo
- Venice, Italy – Rialto Markets
- Riga Central Market
- Palo Alto Market
- Mercado Central de Abastos
- Discover More of Europe and the UK
- Pin Incredible Food Markets In Europe You NEED To Visit
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St. George’s Market
- Location: Belfast, Ireland
- Address: 12-20 East Bridge Street, Belfast BT1 3NQ
- Hours: Friday 6am-3pm; Saturday 9am-3pm; Sunday 10am-4pm
St. George’s Market in Belfast is the last surviving Victorian covered market in Northern Ireland is frequently known as one of the UK’s top 5 markets. St. George’s Market is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with each day concentrating on a different theme. On Fridays, it’s a Variety Market which means there are over 300 stalls selling everything from fish to antiques.
Saturday is the Food and Craft Market where you can try food ranging from French crepes to paella, and so much more. Head upstairs for a superb Ulster Fry breakfast or simply wander the stalls and pick up some cool t-shirts or hand-made arts and crafts.
On Sundays, St. George’s tends to specialize in antiques and crafts, although there is still a great selection of food on offer. There is always live music at this food market, so you can grab a great coffee and some snacks and relax while listening to local artists.
Text and photo submitted by Faith Coates of XYU and Beyond
Portobello Road Markets
- Location: London, England
- Address: 241 Portobello Road, London W11 3DJ
- Hours: Monday to Wednesday 9am-6pm; Thursday 9am-1pm; Friday 9am-7pm; Saturday 9am-7pm
Portobello Road Markets in the Nottinghill area of London are one of the largest markets in the world with over 1000 stallholders. Really seven markets I one, here you will find arcades full of antique dealers, fresh produce, street food, arts and crafts, and second-hand goods. Various sections of the market are open every day, however, Saturday is the best day to visit. All of the markets and arcades are open, with the full street market in operation from 9 am to 7 pm.
Glistening silverware dangles from gazebo frames lining the streets as crowds flock to sample the wares or grab a bargain. Large shop spaces are partitioned into smaller stalls where individual antique dealers offer an incredible selection of antiques and second-hand goods. Here you will find everything from jewelry and bric-a-brac, furniture and silverware to antique books, music, and clothing.
Fun Fact: Fans of the BBC program “Bargain Hunt” will be highly amused to learn that vendors really do say, “it really is a lovely thing.”
Stallholders are quite open to a spot of haggling. Acting half-interest in an item is bound to spark a little bargaining. We managed to score an antique money box to add to our collection back home. Portobello Road Markets are a short walk from either Ladbroke Grove or Nottinghill Gate stations. This is one food market in Europe and the UK that’s worth visiting!
Portobello Road Markets Text and Photo Contributed by Lesley Connor of Empty Nesters Travel Insight.
Read More: 9 Essential Tips for Visiting London
Cardiff Indoor Market
- Location: Cardiff, Wales
- Address: St. Mary Street, Cardiff, CF1 2AU
- Hours: Monday to Saturday at 8 am-5:30 pm
Cardiff Indoor Market is the place to visit, situated at the heart of the Welsh Capital. I used to live a short walk from the market and for three years it’s where I bought all of my fruit and veg but it provides so much than that. The stalls range from electrical goods, and Asian hot food, to ribbons and fabrics and herbs and spices. If you are missing a watch battery, Cardiff Indoor Market is where the locals go.
Fun Fact: Unlike some of Wales, there are plenty of English translations though you might overhear the odd conversation in Welsh.
While most stalls have fixed prices for items, fruit and veg stalls tend to be the exception. If you go mid-afternoon, stalls will often have amazing deals like 3 boxes of strawberries or raspberries for a pound, as the produce will spoil and must be sold. Some stalls will even let you say how much change you have and make a bundle of things they need to get rid of.
By far my favourite find in the market is a Welsh cake stand, located in the middle section of the market. There are about 20 different varieties, and I would recommend the chocolate chip ones, especially freshly made ones. There are options for various dietary restrictions and flavors of all sorts!
Cardiff Indoor Market Text and Photo Contributed by Amber of The Great Ambini.
- Location: Leeds, England
- Address: Vicar Lane, Leeds City Centre, Leeds, LS2 7HY
- Hours: Monday to Saturday 8am-5pm
Leeds Kirkgate Market is one of the largest indoor markets in Europe, which is impressive considering the city of Leeds isn’t even in the top 10 for population size. This food market began during the industrial revolution and has since seen many changes to reflect the changes in time.
Kirkgate is a fully functioning market that caters to local residents more than tourists, which makes it that much more amazing for anyone who likes exploring markets. You’ll find everything from fresh produce to household items and clothes. No tourist gimmicks or overpriced wares to be found here! It’s just an honest window into everyday life for the people of Leeds.
Fun Fact: The market gets tis real claim to fame for being home to Mark and Spencer’s first shop. M&S is a household name for British families and the brand has expanded overseas since its humble beginnings as a market stall.
Read More: 7 AMAZING Places to Visit in England by Train
Kirkgate Market Text and Photo Contributed by Winnie of Million Dollar Winnie
Marché du Midi
- Location: Brussels, Belgium
- Address: Place Bara – Avenue Fonsny, Baraplein, Fonsnylaan 1060 Brussels
- Hours: Sunday 8 am – 2 pm
Try to visit Brussels on a Sunday if you can. That’s when the market takes place, one of the biggest open-air markets of Europe with an average of 450 stalls. They have all sorts of goods on display at very cheap prices: fresh, seasonal fruits, plants, clothing and so much more.
Locals like to come here to stock up on food for the upcoming week, because it’s so cheap, and sometimes even free.
Fun Fact: The trick is to wait until the end of the market. You’ll get the misfits among the fruit and vegetables, but they’re still perfectly fine to eat. And who would say no to free food!?
Walking here will make you feel as if you’re on holiday, if you’re not already. This may be explained by the multiculturalism, but also by all the bright colors, the exotic fragrances and the products from all around the globe.
There is one stall in particular that you won’t want to miss out on. Consider it your morning challenge to find the (somewhat hidden) Moroccan stall with a large display of olives and spices. You’ll be rewarded with delicious Moroccan pancakes filled with feta, dried tomatoes, olives, and honey… and don’t forget the fresh mint tea! You will find no better breakfast (or brunch) for only 5 euros.
Read More: 22 Best Bookstores Around the World
Marché du Midi Text and Photo Contributed by Sophie Lenoir of Everything Brussels
Nuremberg Christmas (Christkindlesmarkt) Market
- Location: Nuremberg, Germany
- Address: Hauptmarkt Nuremberg
- Hours: Varies by year
The Nuremberg Christmas Market, also known as Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt is Germany’s most famous Christmas Market. Taking place each year in the main market square, known as Nurnberger Hauptmarkt, it is a beautiful sight to be seen. Full of bright lights and iconic candy cane striped rooftops of the market stalls that fill the entire square.
Here many holiday revelers shop for everything from Christmas presents to Christmas decorations and the tastiest of all traditional German holiday foods. From sausages and sauerkraut to chocolate-dipped fruit on a stick, schneeball, gingerbreads, roasted nuts, and of course delicious mulled wine to warm you up. The Nuremberg Christmas market is also famous for the largest feuerzangenbowle in the world which is a warmed red wine and rum punch. I definitely helped myself to more than one of these.
Fun Fact: The market is also known for prunemen and you will find multiple shops selling them with various outfits and decorations. Dating back to the 18th century they were originally made by a father wanting to give his children a Christmas present but all he had was some wire and a plum tree. There is now a saying that having one in your house will bring money and happiness.
Around the corner, there is also a children’s market with lots of treats and rides to enjoy. There is a classical two-tiered carousel, merry-go-round, and even a Ferris wheel. If you’re lucky they might even find Santa Claus and get their photo taken with him.
Nuremberg Christmas (Christkindlesmarkt) Market Text and Photo Contributed by Cailin O’Neil of Travel Yourself.
Regensburg Christmas Market
- Location: Bavaria, Germany
- Address: Neupfarrplatz
- Hours: Varies by year
While Germany is no stranger to amazing Christmas markets, there is one (town) that takes the winner for me each year; Regensburg, nestled in the heart of Bavaria. What makes this so unique is that while most Christmas markets in Europe are large, Regensburg has upwards of 6 markets throughout its picturesque, easy to walk, idyllic streets. Nothing is more romantic than grabbing a piping hot mug of Gluhwein as you then meander through the cobblestone streets to the next market. Many are handmade stalls, not the reproduced junk you often find at other markets.
Fun Fact: One of the markets is set up on the actual palace grounds and is literally called “The Romantic Market” and it most definitely lives up to its name.
If you’re hungry, grab some classic Bavarian favorites like “Schupfnudeln” (an amazingly delicious combo of good, German sauerkraut, finger dumplings, and bacon) or for a sweet treat get some Kaiserschmarrn (shredded ‘pancake’ with toppings like applesauce or even Nutella). And of course, wash it down with some Gluhweign, or even better, a Feuerzangenbowle (mulled wine with rum-soaked sugar cube lit on fire!)
Regensburg Market Text Contributed by LeAnna Brown of Well Traveled Nebraskan
Athens, Greece – Monastiraki Flea Market
- Location: Athens, Greece
- Address: Ifestou 2, Athina 105 55, Greece, Athens
- Hours: Open daily 8 am – 6 pm
Athens is full of antiquities and the treasures of the Greeks … and so is the Monstiraki Flea Market! One will find the entrance to the flea market centrally located off Monastiraki Square, just below the Acropolis Hill, beckoning tourists and locals alike to peruse the wares. Sure, you’ll find more than one stall selling cheap t-shirts, beach towels, and the iniquitous evil eye talismans … but if you look past that, you’re sure to find some hidden gems.
The market puts some of Greece’s best handiwork on display with such treasures as Byzantine-inspired jewelry, hand-painted ceramics, traditional musical instruments, and handmade leather goods such as sandals, jackets, and bags. You’ll also find stalls selling more traditional “flea market” wares: antiques, vintage records, housewares, artwork, and more.
The Monastiraki Flea Market is a mish-mash of old and new…much more like Greece itself. GO for a wander… you might find a truly unique souvenir to take home!
Fun Fact: If you’ve still got room left in your shopping bag after your flea market excursion, you could take a 10-minute walk to the nearby Central Market on Athinas street to shop for spices, dried fruit, nuts, and regional delicacies.
Monastiraki Flea Market Text and Photo Contributed by Erin DeBusk
Budapest, Hungary – Great Market Hall
- Location: Budapest, Hungary
- Address: Budapest Vamhaz korut, 1-3 1093
- Hours: Monday 6am-5pm; Tuesday-Friday 6am-6pm; Saturday 6am-3pm
Built in 1897, the Great Market Hall is the most beautiful of all the market halls in Budapest. It is more than a historical market and a tourist attraction. Located just a five minute walk from the center, it is great in so many respects.
If you love people watching, window shopping, and fresh products, this place is for you. The market spans on three floors, includes places to eat traditional Hungarian foods, and stalls to get souvenirs from.
If you want the best of the Hungarian salamis, pickles, wines, and paprika, you must buy them from here – and be sure to sample them! I always get the fresh batch of Hungarian paprika when I visit. I always bring it back home as a gift for friends and buy enough to make sure I always have some in the house.
If you want to avoid the local crowds, avoid the early hours, and show up after 10 am. Saturdays tend to be especially busy because not only do locals show up but tourists as well.
Great Market Hall Market and Photo Contributed by Cris from LooknWalk
Mercato Di Mezzo
- Location: Bologna, Italy
- Address: Via Clavature, 1, 40124
- Hours: Sunday 9am-11pm; Monday-Saturday 9am-11:45pm
Bologna is known as La Grassa, or “The Fat”, and that speaks to how seriously people take their food in this Italian city. And it all comes down to one ingredient so one of the best things to do in Bologna is to visit one of its many produce markets where you can rub elbows with locals.
What I love about markets in Bologna is that none of them are tourist traps like other cities around the world. The Mercato di Mezzo is a great outdoor market that follows the streets in downtown Bologna. While you cannot barter for a single item, vendors often list a discount if you buy more than one of something. If you’re confident with your Italian and are buying several things it doesn’t hurt to ask for a discount.
Mercato Di Mezzo Text and Photo Contributed by Ayngelina
Mercato di Porta Palazzo
- Location: Torino, Italy
- Address: Repubblica Square – 10122 Turin
- Hours: Monday 3pm-4pm; Tuesday 7am-12pm; Wednesday 7am-8am and 10am-1pm; Thursday 9am-1pm; Friday 8am-1pm; Saturday 8am-6pm; Sunday 10am-11am
Located in Torino, Italy, the Mercato di Porta Palazzo is the largest outdoor food market in all of Europe, and it is open every day all year long. We had fun picking out ingredients to make dinner at home to help us save money during our one month traveling through Italy. Using the fresh ingredients I purchased, I prepared wild boar ragout with orecchiette, cherry tomatoes, and yellow string beans.
Locals mostly frequent this market, which means that items are inexpensive since the food is being sold directly from the farmers. You can barter, but most prices are already fairly low. I purchased 10 euros worth of ingredients, which fed us for over three meals. The same ingredients purchased at a farmer’s market in Seattle, would be over $35. I feel that everywhere in the world should have affordable markets for locals to purchase good directly from the source so that we stimulate our own economies and support local farmers.
Mercato di Porta Palazzo Text and Photo Contributed by Lisa Romanov of Cultural Foodies
Venice, Italy – Rialto Markets
- Location: Venice, Italy
- Address: Located near Rialto Bridge
- Hours: Souvenir Markets open 9am-8pm daily; Produce 7am-8pm Monday-Saturday
Venetians have shopped at the Rialto Markets for nearly a thousand years, and these markets are just one of many incredible ways to spend the day in Venice!
The produce market, the Erbaria, is an open-air arcade filled with a remarkable variety of vibrant fruit and vegetables. Assuming you have somewhere to cook, buy something unique to the region. Depending on the season, that could be tiny purple Sant’Eramo artichokes, Bassano white asparagus, or radicchio from Treviso.
The market is at its best in the morning, so get up early and go see the local chefs doing their shopping. Prices are posted so don’t bother trying to barter – and don’t touch anything! Ask the vendor for what you want (or point if you don’t speak Italian).
Rialto Markets Text and Photo Contributed by Laura of the Culinary Travel Guide
Riga Central Market
- Location: Riga, Latvia
- Address: Negu Street 7 City Centre, Riga
- Hours: Monday and Sunday: 7am-5pm; Tuesday – Saturday 7am-6pm
Riga Central Market is the largest market in Europe and definitely worth a visit. It consists of several pavilions made from reusing old German Zeppelin hangars. Riga Central Market is 72,300 square meters wide and has over 3,000 stands. The market is considered part of the UNESCO World Heritage site called the Historic Center of Riga.
You can find a wide variety of cheeses, pastries, fresh produce, meat, and fish. There are a few small cafes if you would like to simply eat there. We also saw a few stands selling Latvian crafts. I felt the prices at Riga Central Market were reasonable so I didn’t feel the need to bargain, although I’ve heard that some stands will entertain your offers. My favorite purchase was a pastry with a cherry filling.
Riga Central Market Text and Photo Contributed by Anisa of Two Traveling Texans
Palo Alto Market
- Location: Barcelona, Spain
- Address: Carrer dels Pellaires, 30, 08019 Barcelona Selva de Mar (L4) or Fluviá (Tramvia)
- Hours: 11am-9pm, the first weekend of every month
Don’t come here expecting your average Spanish street market selling artisanal olive oil and cured meats, because Palo Alto is an event all on its own. The market is held within an abandoned factory which has been redesigned into a variety of studios, workshops, and creative spaces for different businesses when the market isn’t happening. Green vines cover sides of buildings and vegetation fills any square inch that isn’t covered in concrete. It is the artistic embodiment of the new slowly taking over the old, with a nod to Poble Nou’s industrial past. Twinkling garden lights are draped between palm trees, and around every corner you are bound to discover another hidden oasis where you can slowly sip your Aperol spritz while listening to a local musician crooning to an Amy Winehouse cover.
The market prides itself on mainly vintage and handmade goods and is the ideal place for up and coming artists and designers in Barcelona and surrounding areas to showcase their goods. You can find a number of unique wares ranging from sunglasses and t-shirts to cactuses and kitchen plates. Most of the prices aren’t cheap, but they are reasonable, and it’s the price you pay for something that is one of a kind. You can expect some of the same, loyal designers every month like Emian Bohe, La Chula clothes, Silbando Bajito ceramics, and Mis Tesoros Vintage, but many are newcomers or out-of-towners, only there for the weekend. From the foodies and fashionistas to those who just want to have a cana in a secret garden, Palo Alto has something for everyone.
Note: You’ll have to pay 4 euro to get in but 3 euro if you buy them online beforehand.
Palo Alto Market Text and Photo Contributed by Emily Woerfel of This is the Milk
Mercado Central de Abastos
- Location: Jerez de la Frontera, Spain
- Address: Calle Dona Blanca s/n, 11402 Jerez De La Frontera
- Hours: 6 days a week, morning until siesta time
Ah the Mercado Central de Abastos in Jerez de la Frontera, España. Honestly is there anything better than getting fresh goods from a Mercado as animated as one in Spain? In my year of teaching English in the siesta capitol of the world, I traveled all around the country and every city in Spain would have an elaborate Mercado to purchase amazing local and artisanal goods from, the larger cities sometimes having 3 or more (super score if I ended up at a market where only the locals go and where they only speak Spanish).
Jerez, means Sherry in Spanish, and for good reason – they produce a lot of it. You can smell it as you walk through the city center because it is the most common drink served and is quiet reasonable I might add. But enough about the Sherry lets move onto my favorite part, the shopping, and no – not for clothes…I’m talking about olives that are cured to perfection and artichokes that were just harvested.
In the center of the city, next to the churro stands, sits a large stone building with magnificent rounded windows. As you walk inside the large doors you are taken back by the timeless esthetic of it all. The small fruit and vegetable stands with a display that will make you want to be a vegetarian for the rest of your life.
If you happen to be in the province of Cádiz, Andalucía I highly recommend stopping in Jerez de la Frontera, its beauty, charm, food and drink will make you wanting more and more! Olé!
Mercado Central de Abastos Text and Photo Contributed by Kristina Kupka of Kristina’s Corner Blog
Discover More of Europe and the UK
Now that you know what amazing food markets in the Europe and the United Kingdom there are, discover more food around the world.
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Mercato Di Mezzo is an indoor food hall in the Quadrilatero district. The food stalls outside on Via Drapperie are not part of the market but are in the Quadrilatero. It’s a great area for foodies but not really a market. The markets in Catania are much more impressive and should get a mention 🙂
Hey Ralph! Thanks for the input. 🙂