Best markets around the world

Posted Date: 29 July 2016
Best world markets

Whether you’re hungry for tasty local treats, bargains or culture and entertainment, the local markets are a great place to find what you’re after. Read on for a list of some of the very best, plus a few tips to stay safe.

 

Best markets around the world infographic created by: Southern Cross Travel Insurance

When it comes to travel, one of the very best ways to experience a new place is to visit the local markets. Get a taste of delicious specialty dishes, fresh produce and local culture. Busy areas can have their dangers too, so check our tips and head out for a market adventure!

Rialto Market, Venice, Italy

Main things found at this market:

  • Fruit and veg
  • Spices and seasonings
  • Fish

Highlights:

Beautiful location right on the banks of the grand canal, vibrant colours and plenty of atmosphere with typically loud Italians selling their wares.

If you love cooking, the stall holders are happy to recommend preparation techniques. Make sure you get accommodation where you can take your fresh treasures back and cook up a storm.

Watch out for:

Venice is notoriously easy to get lost in. If you head to the markets, make sure you have your accommodation details written down so you can ask for directions and find your way home.

Jemaa El Fnaa, Marrakech, Morocco

Main things found at this market:

  • Entertainment
  • Animal handlers and snake charmers
  • Spices and seasonings
  • Ready to eat food
  • Arts and crafts
  • Clothing

Highlights:

Entertainment central! Listen to storytellers speaking in their native language, watch snake charmers and magicians perform and be amazed at the atmosphere of such a legendary place.

Watch out for:

Morocco is very warm and these markets are typically very crowded, so make sure you consume plenty of bottled water and stay hydrated.

As with any street food, be careful what you eat. Use your common sense and if it looks like the food hasn’t been prepared using clean utensils or has been rinsed in tap water, better to avoid it.

Borough Market, London, England

Main things found at this market:

  • Fruit and veg
  • Spices and seasonings
  • Baked goods
  • Fish and meat
  • Ready to eat food

Highlights:

This market is a foodie’s paradise and many stall holders offer free samples. Enjoy an array of amazing treats from breads and cheeses to sweet treats including cupcakes and fudge. When you’re done, take your treats and head along the river to take in sights like the Tate Modern and the Globe theatre.

Watch out for:

London is pretty safe, but be aware that in crowded areas you’re at higher risk of pickpockets – and Borough Market is crowded! Always wear your bag on your front, not your back, keep your wallet tucked away safe and when you’re picnicking don’t leave your bag sitting on the grass behind you.

Tsukiji Fish Market, Tokyo, Japan

Main things found at this market:

  • Fish
  • Ready to eat food

Highlights:

The tuna auction, starting at 4.30am, is one of the highlights of this famous market and it will give you a true look at why fish is so important in the Japanese culture. The tuna are huge!!

Many stalls here offer fresh sashimi and sushi, which is the freshest and best you’ll ever get to eat and right in the centre of Tokyo.

Watch out for:

This is a large, commercial fish market and tourists have been known to get in the way. Keep your eyes peeled and, if someone is heading towards you with a laden cart, clear the path immediately.

It’s also forbidden to bring children to this market.

Chatuchak Weekend Market, Bangkok, Thailand

Main things found at this market:

  • Souvenirs
  • Clothing
  • Arts and crafts
  • Meat and fish
  • Fruit and veg
  • Ready to eat food
  • Antiques
  • Animals

Highlights:

This market is the largest weekend market in the World and truly has everything imaginable on offer – from handbags and sunglasses, to live animals.

Despite the influx of around 200,000 people in these markets each day, they’re not uncomfortably crowded. The vendors love to haggle, so get amongst the action and grab a bargain!

Watch out for:

These markets are fairly safe, however if you’re catching a taxi to get there always ask your hotel staff for a recommended fare as the taxi drivers are known to bump up the price for tourists.

La Boqueria, Barcelona, Spain

Main things found at this market:

  • Meat and fish
  • Fruit and Veg
  • Ready to eat food
  • Arts and crafts
  • Spices and seasonings

Highlights

There’s a culinary school onsite at La Boqueria, so foodies can not only appreciate the beautiful fresh ingredients on sale, but learn to cook them in true Catalan style, too.

The Spanish are very passionate about their ham (Jamón Ibérico), which comes from a breed of black pig that feeds on acorns. For carnivores, it’s well worth a look at the traditional vendors, who cut straight from the leg in paper-thin slices. Some types of Jamón Ibérico can cost as much as €200 per kg!

Watch out for:

Barcelona is notorious for theft and this market, right off Las Ramblas, is no exception. Be especially wary of any street performers or vendors trying to attract your attention – it’s a commonly used distraction technique so their buddies can alleviate you of your wallet.

Cours Saleya, Nice, France

Main things found at this market:

  • Fruit and veg
  • Spices and seasonings
  • Fish and meat
  • Baked goods
  • Ready to eat food
  • Flowers

Highlights:

This market is in a beautiful setting, across from the sea and lined with quaint striped awnings. What better way to embrace French cuisine than to stroll through the markets, before grabbing a coffee from a nearby café and enjoying your treats with a view over the bright turquoise waters of the Côte D’Azur?

Watch out for:

Nice is a beautiful place for an evening stroll, but some areas are safer than others and you may encounter some amorous strangers. Remember to keep your accommodation details secret and don’t let anyone follow you back to your room.

St. Lawrence Market, Toronto, Canada

Main things found at this market:

  • Meat and fish
  • Fruit and veg
  • Spices and seasonings
  • Ready to eat food
  • Arts and crafts
  • Baked goods
  • Antiques

Highlights:

National Geographic rated this market as the best market on the globe recently and it’s not hard to see why. With a history of over 200 years and many families who have been selling wares at this market for generations, this market is a real institution in Toronto. Pick up an antique treasure or peach pies and wander through the beautiful old building in which it is housed.

Watch out for:

Toronto gets very cold in winter, so if you’re heading to these markets in the cold make sure you rug up warm. After all, a large number of claims we receive are from people getting sick.

Market souvenirs you can’t take home

Live animals - While you might think that adorable little squirrel is your new lifelong friend, customs officials won’t agree.

Wood, seeds, nuts - These can harbour all kinds of bugs and you won’t be able to bring them past the border.

Fresh and unpackaged food - If you buy any fresh ingredients, you’ll have to use them up before you come home again… So get cooking!

Fake branded items - If you are found by customs bringing imitation products into the country they may be confiscated, so perhaps give the fake designer bag a miss.

And finally, if you buy a high value item get a receipt – even at a market. If anything unexpected happens and it goes missing, you’ll need one!

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