Street markets have been the epicenter of commerce for centuries. In virtually every major city, you can find outdoor markets selling food, crafts and other great products. Personally, street markets are always among my favorite places when I travel; they allow me to engage in a new culture and see what the locals are eating and buying. Spending time in outdoor markets is a great way to experience cultural immersion. While these outdoor markets are not quite as common in North America, in other countries they are vital to daily life. It is common for Europeans to make several weekly trips to the market for fresh ingredients including bread, cheese, meat, fruits and vegetables. Not only are these ingredients usually of superb quality, they are almost always less expensive than a meal you would order from a restaurant. Here is a list of five great street markets to visit if you get the chance.
Borough Market, London
Borough Market, London’s most renowned food market, is where local Brits go to buy produce grown in both the UK and around the world. Chefs, restaurateurs, and foodies from all over town assemble here to pick up ingredients for their meals. Although in the past the market has primarily been known for its produce, it has recently attracted attention for the famous food traders that now locally participate in London. Located near London Bridge, just south of Southwark Cathedral, Borough Market is right in the heart of downtown London.
La Boqueria, Barcelona
La Boqueria, one of the most famous destinations in Barcelona, boasts a massive array of food products from all over the world. Although its sheer magnitude and diversity has made it a site for tourists, La Boqueria is also a favorite of local Spaniards. The market dates back to 1217 when it was just a small number of vendors selling meat. Since then, it has expanded further into the center of Barcelona and now provides a variety of foods that will suffice the hunger of any fast-paced traveler.
Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne
Nicknamed “Queen Vic” by locals, the Queen Victoria Market has been the source of culinary magic in Melbourne for over a century. It has earned its title as a historic landmark, spanning over two city blocks. Here you’ll experience the vibrancy of Melbourne while you shop for both local and imported products. Of course, you can pick up gourmet food including fruits and vegetables and seafood. But you can also purchase Australian souvenirs, clothing, and cosmetics.
Cours Saleya, Nice
Located on Nice’s main shopping street and just a short walk from the sea, Cours Saleya is a haven for all of France’s most cherished food items. Here you can buy cheese, croissants, spicy sausages, fresh seafood, and mushrooms, and the best part is all of the food comes directly from local French farms. Along with experiencing French delicatessens you can find the area’s famous lavender soaps.
Viktualienmarkt, situated in the center of Munich, has evolved from a traditional farmers’ market to a hub for gourmets. Spread across over 140 stalls, here you can purchase flowers, exotic fruit, game, poultry, spices, cheese, fish, juices and more. The market also hosts a number of folkloric events to celebrate the German culture.