10 Best Flea Markets In The World

5 May 2015

Not everyone enjoys being dragged around the shops on holiday. But flea markets - with their quirky stalls, colourful wares, and potential for hidden treasures – can prove entertaining attractions in their own right.

From Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market in New York, where a slight trek out of the Big Apple's centre will take you to precious jewels and designer vintage bargains, to the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market in Thailand, where vendors sell from canoes to shoppers who wander along the banks, we’ve rounded up ten of the world’s best.

Marche aux Puces

Paris

 The Market of Fleas

The mother of all flea markets, this market’s name actually translates as “Market of the Fleas”. It’s located in the north of the French capital and houses about 12 separate markets with wares ranging from collectible antiques to quirky, kitsch-style junk.

It also runs a shipping service, making it popular with interior designers who want to buy and ship big items of furniture.

Flohmarkt im Mauerpark

Berlin

 The East Berlin treasure trove

This East Berlin treasure trove is the perfect place to pick up unusual holiday souvenirs. Open every Sunday, it’s popular with trendy Berliners, who come in search of bargains. Traders are often students or artists and sell handmade products as well as vintage goodies.

It can be hard to distinguish old tat (rusty door knobs and old kettles) from genuine steals, but if you take your time you might be in luck. There are also food and drink stalls and live bands to entertain non-shoppers.

El Rastro

Madrid

 Hidden treasures in Madrid

This popular Spanish flea market is held every Sunday and public holiday throughout the year.

The main street is dedicated to market stalls selling predominantly new clothes while the side streets are reserved for hidden treasures such as cut price antiques and collectibles.

After a morning of browsing, head to the nearby La Latina, one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Madrid, to enjoy some tapas … and a beer or three.

Portobello Road

London

 The ever popular Portobello Road

A market since the 1800s, Portobello Road became famous for its antiques in the 1950s.

Now, it’s hugely popular with locals and tourists, with numerous stalls selling everything from fruit and veg to posters, clothes, knick-knacks, and records. It’s open all week, but Friday and Saturday are its busiest days.

Arrive early to nab the best deals.

Mercantic

Barcelona

 From up-cycled furniture to dusty old vases

This Spanish bric-a-brac market sells everything from up-cycled furniture to dusty old vases.

The best time to go is the first Sunday of every month, which is delivery day and when new bargains hit the stalls.

Also worth a browse is the permanent market, which is held on weekdays and has over 80 stall holders.

Bushwick Flea

New York

 Bushwick's cosy and comfortable

Pop-up flea markets aren’t difficult to come by in New York but this new one in Bushwick is permanent.

It sells what you’d expect: antiques, bric-a-brac, and delicious food. Plus, it’s small - with only around 50 stalls - meaning it’s cosy and affordable.


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Ferikoy Flea Market

Istanbul

 The glittering market in Istanbul

During the week this Turkish flea market is a bog standard car park.

On Sundays, however, it transforms into a glittering market, selling everything from traditional Turkish baths to curious Ottoman era knick-knacks.

If you hate owning the same stuff as your mates, this is the place for you.

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

Thailand

 Canoe-based wonders

Though not technically a flea market per se, this is certainly a market with a difference.

Sturdy canoes laden with fruit and vegetables float on canals and vendors sell to shoppers who wander along the banks.

The bustling market is best in the early morning before the throng arrives and the heat gets too much.

Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market

New York

 Great value at Hell's Kitchen

Slightly off the beaten track, this market’s low prices make the trek worthwhile.

It’s tucked away between Lincoln Tunnel and Port Authority and every weekend the street closes to traffic and sellers set up camp.

You can buy anything here, from precious jewels to designer vintage. And all at bargain prices!

Monastiraki Flea Market

Athens

 Try Monastiraki on Sundays

During the week the Monastiraki Flea Market in Athens is similar to the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul: popular with tourists but usually heaving.

On Sundays, however, the larger shops close and merchants bring out tables and carpets, selling all kinds of vintage goodies on the street.

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This article was written by Chloe Hamilton from The Independent and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Chloe Hamilton

Chloe Hamilton is a writer, reporter and editorial assistant across The Independent titles.