No getaway is complete without a spot of souvenir shopping and if you’re looking for an alternative from the usual t-shirts, magnets and mugs then it’s always fun to go on the hunt for something more unique. As a former vintage shop owner (and general lover of junk) I can’t help but spend some time exploring a city’s antiques shops and markets. I’ve compiled a list of some of the best flea markets I’ve discovered (so far) to indulge in a spot of secondhand shopping and pick up a bargain on your travels.
Vandoma Market — Porto (the best of the best flea markets)
A flea market in the truest sense, the Fontainhas area transforms into a one-stop shop for everything secondhand. What makes this market so special is that is runs parallel to the river so you can browse the stalls with great views of the spectacular Dom Luís I Bridge — it really is quite a spectacular setting for a flea market. The prices here are mixed: I picked up a jumper for a mere €0.50 from an old lady whilst some of the more specialist antique stalls were understandably charging more. This place is not to be missed if you’re visiting Porto!
Address: Alameda das Fontainhas, Porto, Portugal
When? Every Saturday from 08:00 – 13:00
Ij Hallen — Amsterdam
This monthly two-day market located in the north of the Dutch capital is the biggest flea market in Europe. Spread over two huge warehouses expect to find everything from antique furniture to bric a brac! To get there hop on the free ferry from Central Station (which will also provide you with some delightful views) and you’re practically at the door. Read more about it in my previous post here.
Address: Tt. Neveritaweg 15, 1033 WB Amsterdam
Entrance cost: €5 (children under 11 pay €2)
When? Check the official website here for upcoming dates and times
El Rastro Market — Madrid
The vibrant El Rastro market takes place every Sunday in the La Latina neighbourhood of Madrid. For those who enjoy rummaging for bargains be sure to head down the side streets to Plaza Gral Vara de Rey where you will find the bulk of stalls selling curious antiques and tables overflowing with clothing for as little as €1 (if you stick to the main street it’s mostly more pricey gifts and souvenirs). Expect to encounter quirky street musicians in the market itself and dotted around the surrounding streets which lead to the area. The bars and cafes of La Latina are bustling on a Sunday and a great place to indulge in a coffee or a spot of lunch whilst soaking up the atmosphere!
Address: Calle Ribera de Curtidores, s/n, 28005 Madrid
When? Every Sunday from 09:00 – 15:00
Brick Lane Markets — London
Every Sunday this East London street comes to life with people selling their wares. Although not technically a flea market, I had to include this particular market in my list as my former business partner and I traded here when we first started our vintage clothing company! The Old Truman Brewery hosts a large vintage market and you’ll find a wealth of shops selling antiques and retro clothing, as well as not-so-official vendors selling bits and bobs along the sides of the streets. The area is now a popular destination so prices aren’t as low as they used to be but a trip to Brick Lane still makes for a fun day out.
Address: Old Truman Brewer, 91 Brick Ln, London, E1 6QL
When? Every Sunday
Where do you think the best flea markets are? Let me know in the comments below!