There are lots of reasons when travelling to visit the local markets. They are a window into the culture of the city, a look at the day-to-day life of its citizens, an opportunity to broaden the palate, and a great place to bag a bargain!
So, whether it’s a lunch on the run, a souvenir for the people at home, or a £50 tailor-made suit that’s on the cards, take a look at some of the markets listed and start planning your next shopping spree!
Nestled between Puget Sound and Downtown, Pike Place Market in Seattle has been in operation for 100 years. The top floor is where all the action is with a wide variety of fresh fruit, vegetables, preserves, confectionery, flowers, and a lively fish market that’s a spectacle all of its own!
Grab a plate of Puget Sound oysters and wash it down with a coffee from the original Starbucks store.
Rise early and head to the biggest fish market in the world, the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo. Watch the tuna auctions before wandering around some of the most exotic (and freshest) seafood around.
Pick up the freshest sushi available from the morning catch for a lunch on the go!
In the heart of Delhi’s Old City, Chandni Chowk is the city’s oldest and busiest market. Covering an enormous area with different streets selling different wares, the spices are a true eye-opener providing sensory overload! From the colours to the smells, this area is the pulsing heart of the city.
Make sure to get here early to beat the crowds and the heat!
Long has the Caribbean been known for its spices and one of the best is Castries Market in St Lucia. Trading for over 120 years, there is a full range of food available but the star anise, mace, and cinnamon that the islands are famous for is a must!
Open Monday to Saturday, it is best to visit at the end of the week.
With over 10,000 stalls covering 35 acres, you will be hard pressed not to find something you like at Chatuchak Market in Bangkok. From handbags to suits and everything in between, make sure to haggle for the best deals in the city!
This is a weekend market that is only open Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday.
Famous for its designer knock-offs, Silk Street (also known as Silk Market) in Beijing is 7 floors of unbridled consumerism where clothes are the main currency. Need a new pair of shoes, a clutch to match that dress, or a tailored suit for a fraction of the price? This is the place for you!
Weekends can get extremely busy with well over 50,000 people coming through the doors. Head in on a weekday for a more leisurely browse!
No list of jewellery markets would be complete without the fantastic Gold Souk of Dubai. If it glitters or shines, you will find it here!
You can be assured that any gold, platinum, or diamonds purchased here are genuine as the government has strict controls on teh industry.
Like the rest of Buenos Aires, the atmosphere at Feria de San Pedro Telmo is exciting. Unlike a lot of other jewellery markets though, this one deals in traditional pieces with leather and colourful beading being a recurring theme.
Make an afternoon of it and enjoy the tango dancing and classical guitarists that perform in the street!
Tuesday to Saturday sees St Lawrence Markets in Toronto as one of the best food markets in the world, but on Sundays the vendors swap out creating a bargain hunters paradise. Antiques on Sundays are stacked to the brim in each stall giving visitors the chance at a real bargain.
The markets are covered making it the perfect place to walk around on a rainy afternoon!
Rio de Janeiro has several antique markets, but for flair and sheer craziness the Feira da Praca XV is at the top of the list. Most go for the vintage and antique furniture and lighting, but the range of posters and memorabilia may be easier to get home.
Most vendors pack up by early afternoon, so get there in the morning to bag a bargain!
Known as the heart of the city, the Queen Victoria Markets in Melbourne have been continuously operating since 1878. Divided into sections according to their wares, there are plenty of Australian souvenirs to be found. A pair of original Ugg Boots anyone?
Join a tour to explore the markets, meet the vendors, and try some of the delicacies!
The last night street market in this rapidly modernising city, the Temple Street Night Market in Hong Kong sells wares of all sorts. For souvenirs though, pick up some jade to ward off evil, or a Chinese tea set to take home.
Perhaps even try your hand at beating the local masters in a game of chess?
This list is by no means exhaustive, but it is definitely some of the better markets I have visited in my travels outside of Europe. No matter where you visit, make sure to spend an afternoon getting lost in the narrow and often crowded lanes as you just may come out with an experience to last a lifetime…