Great markets travel bloggers love to visit

Published on: April 25, 2014 | Last Updated on October 17, 2019
One of the beautiful displays at the Boqueria Market in Barcelona
One of the beautiful displays at the Boqueria Market in Barcelona

One of the beautiful displays at the Boqueria Market in Barcelona (Photo credit: Jerome Levine)

Wherever you travel, you are likely to find a public market where you can meet local people, sample local foods and beverages, and admire or buy local handicrafts.

I asked eight fellow travel bloggers about their favorite markets and they graciously agreed to share these beautiful pictures along with some of their impressions.

We hope that this post will pique your interest in visiting a market next time you travel. (You might also want to visit some of the excellent travel blogs that are hyperlinked under their names.)

1-  Michele Peterson

A Taste for Travel

Guide on a walking tour sampling toasted grasshoppers

Guide on a walking tour sampling chapulines (toasted grasshoppers) (Photo credit: Michele Peterson)

It’s a smorgasbord of the senses at Benito Juárez Market in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, Mexico. Serving as the town’s cultural and economic heart, this sprawling market stretches an entire city block, spilling out onto the streets when indigenous Zapotec and Mixteco farmers from the Oaxacan highlands arrive with their wares. My favorite culinary finds include chapulines (grasshoppers toasted on a clay griddle and sprinkled with salt and lime juice), chiles and chocolate but you can also pick up authentic cooking gear such as a molcajete, the stone mortar and pestle used for making guacamole or salsa.

2-  Jan Ross

Pike Place Market in Seattle

Pike Place Market in Seattle (Photo credit: Jan Ross)

Surrounded by lush green rainforest and the green waters of both Puget Sound and Lake Washington, Seattle naturally comes by the moniker “The Emerald City”. But where Seattle really excels in being “green” is in its offerings of fresh, organic foods – particularly at the famous Pike Place Market. Local produce, meats, seafood, fresh baked goods, dewy fresh flowers, local oils and vinegars, and craft items are available. Don’t forget the spectacle of fishmongers tossing huge fish around! A local brewery on the lower level and interesting, international restaurants make this location a great place to visit on your next trip.

3-  Billie Frank

Fresh greens at Romero Farms, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Fresh greens at Romero Farms, Santa Fe, New Mexico (Photo credit: Billie Frank)

One of the many things that make living in Santa Fe, New Mexico special is the Santa Fe Farmers Market. Held on Saturdays year round and Tuesdays in season, it’s a great place to buy locally produced foods and meet the farmers who produce them. The market has its own space, including a LEED certified building, which opened in the Railyard District in 2008. In winter, vendors are in the building but once the weather warms up, most of the action is outside along the tracks. The market only allows locally produced products from a 15-county region. While there, visit the Farmers Market Shops, open when the market is, in the north end of the building.

4-  Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Travels with Carole

Children at Mahane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem

Children at Mahane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem (Photo credit: Carole Terwilliger Meyers)

One of my favorite markets is the large open-air Mahane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem, Israel.  It is filled with brilliantly colored aromatic spices and fruits–as well as yarmulkes and souvenir tchotchkes–and provides the opportunity to sample new flavors and to interact with Jewish, Muslim, and Christian vendors. Friday afternoon is super busy with shoppers stocking up for the Sabbath. One of my favorite stalls here is the tiny Basher—The King of Cheese, which stocks 1,200+ varieties of cheese from all over Europe–Manchego from Spain, Cheddar from England, sweet brown gudbrandsdalen from Norway.

5-  Michelle da Silva Richmond

The Restless Voyager

Céntro de Artesanías La Ciudadela -

Céntro de Artesanías La Ciudadela (Photo credit: Michelle da Silva Richmond)

Mexico is a Mecca for shoppers and whether you’re inclined to embark on a shopping spree or not, you may find yourself caught up in a frenzy of buying. Mexico City’s, La Ciudadela is a pleasant open-air market bursting with colorful bargains with some of the best prices in town (be sure to bargain). Located on Balderas – four blocks south of Parque Alameda and Ave. de la Reforma – it houses some 200 rustic shops tucked into a 19th century complex. You can find anything here from hand-painted Talavera ceramics, mirrors, silver, leather goods and typical clothing.  The restaurant on the premises dishes up excellent local cuisine.

6-  Suzanne Fluhr

Reading Terminal Market (Photo credit: Suzanne Fluhr)

Reading Terminal Market (Photo credit: Suzanne Fluhr)

Where can you satisfy your craving for a Philly cheese steak washed down by a beer from a gastro beer pub at the same time you pick up some fresh flounder for dinner or perhaps some organic beef and produce from a real life Amish farmer, some French pastry, and what about a tiny Liberty Bell for Aunt Martha?  You can find all that (and a lot more) by one stop shopping at the longest operating farmers’ market in the United States, the Reading Terminal Market in Center City Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Stop in at lunch time and you’ll rub shoulders with locals taking a mid-day break from their nearby office building cubicles, tourists from all over the world seeking sustenance to fuel their exploration of Philadelphia’s historic district, and conference attendees from the nearby Philadelphia Convention Center. This is one Philly landmark that won’t leave you hungry or thirsty.

7-  Donna Janke

Destinations Detours and Dreams

London's Portobello Market (Photo credit: Donna Janke)

London’s Portobello Market (Photo credit: Donna Janke)

Most famous for its antiques section, Portobello Market in London’s Notting Hill district is actually several markets in one, with sections for fruits and vegetables, fashion, new goods, used goods, flowers, and street food, as well as antiques and street entertainment. Once a country lane, Portobello Road became home to shops and stalls in the Victorian era and is now a lively market stretching for two miles. Although the rest of the market is open Monday through Saturday, the antiques and bric-a-brac section is only open on Saturdays. Come early. It gets busy.

8-  Elizabeth R. Rose

Travel Writer Rants and Raves

Folk Art (Photo credit: Elizabeth R. Rose)

Folk Art (Photo credit: Elizabeth R. Rose)

The Santa Fe New Mexico International Folk Art Market, a non-profit organization, has a history of helping artisans from around the world, especially those from third-world countries and those who have experienced tragedy and oppression. All in one festive place you’ll find 170 artists representing more than 50 countries. Santa Fe’s Museum Hill is transformed into a colorful world market like you have never seen before. The market takes place annually in July. Read more about the Santa Fe Art Trifecta scheduled for July 2014.

Have you visited a very special market during the course of your travels?  

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  • Reply
    Jan Ross
    April 25, 2014 at 9:01 am

    I love local markets and will have to check some of these out. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Marilyn Jones
    April 25, 2014 at 9:19 am

    Great article and great ideas for future trips!!

  • Reply
    April 25, 2014 at 11:05 am

    What a great round-up of markets around the world. I’d love to see a series of these posts with other markets. I may take up the cause.

  • Reply
    April 25, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    I Facebooked and tweeted this. I love markets and love the colorful photos.

  • Reply
    Michele Peterson
    April 26, 2014 at 7:58 am

    What a unique collection of markets! I had no idea Jerusalem had a market and will definitely put La Ciudadela market on my list next time I’m in Mexico City.

  • Reply
    Sand In My Suitcase
    April 26, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    Pike Place Market in Seattle – now that’s a great one. The Benito Juarez market also looks very interesting. Now we’d like to plug Vancouver’s Granville Island market – similar to Pike Place. All visitors to Vancouver will love the boutique stores, restaurants, fresh fish and produce stalls, theaters, boat building site and more…

  • Reply
    Debra Borchert
    April 29, 2014 at 10:54 am

    Gorgeous photos, so much so, I can smell all the wonderful food! I have found inspiration in markets and even used one in an historical fiction piece. Markets are still the heart of community.

    • Reply
      April 29, 2014 at 11:02 am

      I love the thought of markets as the “heart” of a place. How true!

  • Reply
    April 30, 2014 at 8:31 am

    I absolutely love these photos. I’ll be visiting Italy shortly, and will be taking full advantage of local markets. They’re always such a treat.

  • Reply
    May 18, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    Wow, that is a nice and interesting collection of markets. I believe Pike Place Market in Seattle is overrated, but maybe I did not have my best day when visiting it. But the oysters and salmons are great.

    I am also blogging on markets across the globe, and have compiled listings by country to find the nearest market:

  • Reply
    May 18, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    Hi Askan,

    Thanks for visiting and adding the link to your database~

    Best, Irene

  • Reply
    May 21, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    I love open markets and always research to see if one is available at my destination. This is a nice collection here! There is an amazing market in San Remo, Italy that has the most beautiful collection of pastas, meats and olive oils. I can smell it already!

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