Whether you’re a souvenir hound or just need to eat, shopping is an integral part of any trip--and sometimes the market is the destination. These 15 are among the world’s best, renowned for culture, cuisine, and curios, and recommended by IgoUgo shoppers.
Photo by Anne-Marie
“OK, it's touristy,” but the Grand Bazaar is also “one of the oldest shopping centers in the world” and is “so immense you will never see it all.” One fan concedes that it’s “noisy, busy, easy to get lost in, and hard to get out of”--but also says the experience is “always fun and enjoyable.”
Photo by ext212
Even if you “come from Northern California and hit a ton of green markets every weekend,” don’t miss Granville Island, the “granddaddy of all farmers’ markets.” The same goes for those who aren’t usually fans of markets; the “freshest local food” and “million-dollar views” here will change your mind.
Photo by Tiuku
“A fitting introduction to the souks of Damascus,” al-Hamidiyyah houses everything from “Syria’s most famous ice cream” to “sleeping gowns,” and leads to the “exquisite” Umayyad Mosque.
Photo by kristin5683
“Paris' most famous flea market” is “full of amazing pieces to discover and characters to meet.” Standing in the “circus-sideshow atmosphere,” it's easy to “imagine the quirky writer David Sedaris going from stall to stall in search of the most preposterous purchase.”
Photo by sdgates24
“Whether you are a nature lover or not, spending a morning in the Hong Kong Flower Market is one of the most amazing sights you will ever see.” “A real treat” for photographers, the “variety of flowers available is mind-boggling.”
Photo by artsnletters
“Arles has perhaps the most comprehensive farmers’ market” in the South of France; “in addition to the usual grocery and Provençal craft items, there’s a crazed hodgepodge of everything and anything someone might need.” The best game plan? “Eat your way through the market and buy enough items for a picnic for the following day.”
Photo by Eve Carr
Visitors have “nothing but love for this market” full of, among other goodies, delicacies like “spicy paprika, pale Hungarian honey, and sweet Tokaji wines.” The hall itself is a sight in its own right, “built in the 1890s, lovingly restored in 1994, and still a focal point for city life.”
Photo by Two For the Road
“A colorful, exciting taste of the culture and people of Tahiti,” Papeete’s market is “over 155 years old” but still delights with an “ambiance that’s one of the highlights of a trip.” It’s also the place for local souvenirs like leis and vanilla beans.
Photo by britgirl7
Many people “spend an entire day” here as they browse “everything under the sun.” “Bargaining is an expected and enjoyable part of the experience” at Chatuchak, one of the world’s largest weekend markets; great prices and the “unbelievable scale” of everything make it “heaven for shoppers,” so “save all of your shopping for this place.”
Photo by Kathy
“One of the sweetest street markets I have ever been to,” says one traveler. “A must-visit market,” says another. And all Portobello shoppers agree that the wares on sale are so diverse, it’s “really like four or five markets in one.” Beware the weekend crowds, though: “those in the know come here on Friday.”
Photo by fallschirmhosen
There are good reasons why “everybody that visits Seattle must visit Pike Place Market.” Chief among them: “it’s the soul of Seattle;” it has a storied history, from “wonderful populist roots” to “the first Starbucks;” and it’s still regarded as “one of best markets in the world.”
Photo by viv viv
If you can stomach sushi in the morning, “you HAVE to get up before 9am” and head to Tsukiji for “the freshest fish in the world made into sushi and sashimi at low prices.” Even if you’re not eating, the spectacle--and its “giant tuna, eels, squids, and gorgeous purple octopi”--are “a photography enthusiast's dream.” Bonus: “if you arrive by 5:30am you can see the giant tuna being auctioned.”
Photo by airynfaerie
Prepare for your senses to be “overwhelmed (in a good way)” and to be “filled with excitement;” La Boqueria is “a visual feast, a riot of colors," and “certainly ranks as one of the most impressive” markets in all of Europe.
Photo by Elisabeth28
“Kashgar, China, has been a trading city for thousands of years, and it is thus no surprise that there are some great bargains to be found” at its markets. “The feeling of the place” is its “main asset,” but highlights include a “fascinating animal market” and “awesome” rice, nuts, and fruit.
Photo by lo7la
If you’re a shopper, “Melbourne's premier mercado” is “a must-see and do whether you are in town for a day or a week.” “A bizarre bazaar in a historic building, you will find a little of everything” at “the Queen Vicky.”