Street markets: you love them or hate them. Some people take great pleasure strolling up and down street market aisles, flicking through clothes, picking over jeweler and sampling food. Depending where in the world they are, they may even enjoy haggling over prices, crowing over a bargain and ruling capitulating at a too high price.
Some people loathe the crowds, the noise, and the smells, and they would rather die a thousand horrible deaths than entering into a heated debate about what price is right. These people would do well to stay away from some holiday destinations, like India, Dubai and Egypt, which are known for their noisy street markets.
But there are some markets that they might consider.4 Street markets for marketphobesGreenmarket Square, Cape Townscape Town has plenty of street markets and flea markets to entertain shoppers, but discerning shoppers after art, ethnic jeweler, and clothes should make a beeline for Greenmarket Square.
You’ll find it between Long Market Street and Short Market Street – which is ever so apt. It’s about as central as it’s possible to get, with the unique Bo-Kitsap district a 15-minute walk away. While it specializes in art, curios and clothes, it’s surrounded by restaurants and coffee shops of all kinds, so refreshment is never far away.
Even if shopping isn’t your thing, the eclectic characters that haunt the market are endlessly entertaining in their own right. Albert Cuyp Street Market, Amsterdam Albert Cuyp Street Market has something for everyone, from foodies to fashion funds. It’s the largest street market in the city (it boasts in the region of 260 stalls) and is also one of the biggest tourist attractions. You’ll find it in the city’s Quartier Latin – the 19th century De Pip quarter, which also happens to be a hub for some of the best restaurants and museums in Amsterdam.
Whether you like hearty meat pastries or organic vegan fare, or whether you want to redo your garden or buy vintage jeweler and haute couture, you’ll find what you’re looking for at Albert Cuyp Street Market. Many street markets claim to be the largest in Europe, but it’s possible that El Rostro has the most legitimate claim.
It’s said to contain 3500 stalls that wind up and down the streets around Plaza Mayor, La Latina, and Puerto de Toledo. Locals agree that the best bargains are to be found on the side streets, so be sure to wander down a few. There is a system of sorts, so stick to the alleys on the right if you’re only interested in antiques, or go straight to the bottom of the hill from Plaza Mayor for computing equipment.
There are also small ‘bars’ where you can get a drink and a bite to eat. Be warned, however, that the market is very, very crowded and you are expected to haggle (Madrid Guide Spain).Pike Place Market, Seattle Pike Place Market is particularly famous for its fresh fish, meat and fruit and veg, but it offers a full range of products, including antiques, art, clothes and handmade toys. It stretches from Pike Street to Virginia Street and consists of many levels, each of which is typically dedicated to a particular type of product. The website is very helpful as it provides a directory of the stalls available, as well as directions so you don’t spend the day wandering around like a lost soul.
It’s open seven days a week and even offers special market tours. No matter which market you visit, you’ll never be free of the crowds, but at least, you’ll be able to find a spot to sit and have some coffee (or a beer) so you can rest your weary feet and watch other people haggle to get their idea of a bargain. Featured images: SandyCosset lives in Cape Town and loves strolling around Greenmarket Square and other street markets in the Mother City, many of which you’ll find on exclusive Cape Town tours.