10 of The Best Flea Markets In The World
Flea markets are quite often great sources of culture with their quirky stalls and the potential for hidden treasure all adding something to the experience as you move away from the homogenized high-street shopping experience and get to interact with local traders and see what street food is on offer.
These can often be sources of great inspiration and fantastical finds so here we document some of the very best in the world.
1. Marché aux Puces - Paris, France
The name of this Parisian market literally translates as “Market of the Fleas” and is actually a conglomeration of 12 separate markets with each specializing in a different range of wares from collectible antiques to quirky, kitsch-style junk.
As such it is much prized by interior designers who make the most of its shipping service. Rather considered the mother of all flea markets it can be found in the North of the French capital.
2. Flohmarkt im Mauerpark - Berlin, Germany
Attracting the trendiest of Berliners, the stall holders at this market are predominantly students or artists selling handmade goods amongst the genuine steals and (as is the case with all markets) random tat.
For those not interested in shopping there are some great food and drink stalls to keep your energy levels up as well as live bands for entertainment.
3. El Rastro - Madrid, Spain
Held every Sunday and on public holidays, this market takes up a main street and then juts off in offshoots on the adjoining alleys and roads with the main stretch mostly dealing in new clothes and the real gems, hidden antiques and other ephemera can be found by those bold enough to wander off of the standard length.
Near to La Latina, one of the oldest neighborhoods, where you can pick up some great tapas and beer after picking up some collectibles along your way.
4. Portobello Road - London, England
With its many spots of Victorian and Edwardian charm, the capital of the United Kingdom is filled with stunning streets and winding, narrow alleyways to discover but the brightly colored houses along Portobello Road add to the lively atmosphere of the market antique traders and the thronging crowds that swarm to pick up a bargain.
Street food from across the world, as well as sound systems blaring out the best reggae and Caribbean rhythms of the day, go right down the street that is filled with sights, sounds, smells and tastes to fire up all of the senses.
5. Mercantic - Barcelona, Spain
A bric-a-brac market that sells everything from old furniture to upcycled items, it is best to fly down there on the first Sunday of every month when the new deliveries come in, and fresh bargains hit the stalls. However, the permanent market on weekdays is well worth a look too with over 80 regular stall holders.
An indoor antique market most of the time, auctions also take place on Saturday morning.
6. Bushwick Flea - New York City, USA
New York has many pop-up markets coming and going, but Bushwick Flea is a permanent shopping experience. Far smaller in size than many others on this list with just 50 stall holders, it has a cozy and easy going air to it.
Antiques, bric-a-brac and delicious food can all be found and at a relatively little cost too.
7. Ferikoy Flea Market - Istanbul, Turkey
In what is usually just a humble parking lot on weekdays, the weekend sees this tarmacked spot transformed into a market of amazing knick-knacks that range from the Ottoman Empire right through to modern day items.
Almost all of the items are truly unique, and it seems unlikely that you and your mates will end up owning the same stuff by the end of the day.
8. Damnoen Saduak Floating Market - Thailand
Not technically a flea market but too good to miss out; long, wooden canoes laden with fruit, vegetables, and flowers burst with color and noise as the canal becomes a shopping center where potential customers wander the banks and walkways to eye the wares.
It is best to head down in the mornings, though. Otherwise, the crowds and oppressive heat may become too much.
9. Hell's Kitchen Flea Market - New York City, USA
Another market from New York, proving just how good the city is for flea market's, this one is more away from the beaten track as it sits between Lincoln Tunnel and Port Authority on a road that is closed off every weekend for the stalls to move in.
Vintage designer clothes, high-end jewelry and knock-down bargains all are found here.
10. Monastiraki Flea Market - Athens, Greece
During the week, this area has a rather Grand Bazaar-like feel to it, with tourists swarming all over the area and in amongst the shops but, come Sunday, the larger ones close and the traders bring stalls outside to sell all manner of vintage goodies for those willing to pick through them.
Books, clothes, paintings, and trinkets can all be picked up from people standing at tables or sitting cross-legged on carpets.