Bag a bargain!
The joy of rooting through market stalls in search of that elusive treasure or sun-touched trinket can bring a real sparkle to any holiday experience. Markets are a great place to grab a bargain, find those unusual items that wouldn’t turn up back home or just come away with a treasured keepsake of a memorable visit.
There are excellent markets all around the world, each offering local specialities and unique treats. Be it a market, souk, bazaar, emporium, street fair or trading post, enjoy the cultural experience and who knows, you may come away with that golden nugget!
The Flexicover Team have scoured the globe for some of the more interesting markets.
La Braderie; Lille, France
Dating back to medieval times, Lille is home to one of the biggest flea markets in Europe attracting up to 2 million visitors a year. It boasts around 200km of pavement stalls selling anything from knick-knacks to treasures, so be prepared for a long day. Being only a three hour drive and ferry crossing from Dover, it is well worth a visit, with street music entertainment and a variety of other artistic performances. Should you get hungry, try the local speciality of moules-frites (mussels with chips) and look out for the empty mussel shell mountains – there’s a traditional public contest between restaurants to see who can build the biggest one. Shopping may go well into the night so pace yourself, enjoy the ride and don’t forget to bargain!
Chatuchak Market; Bangkok, Thailand
As one of the most famous bazaars in the world, it is no surprise that the Chatuchak Market attracts close to 200,000 visitors every weekend to its 15,000 stalls, spread across 35 acres. This weekend market offers a diverse collection of just about everything, so you can literally shop ‘til you drop! Handicrafts, clothes, ceramics, books, art, antiques – there is little you won’t find here. Negotiate, bargain and haggle well and you can bring home some exciting finds. Our main tip here is to wear comfortable shoes, arrive early around 8am and enjoy the foray. For an added thrill, start your day by catching the sky train there!
Johari Bazar; Jaipur, India
An Indian market is just as colourful as you imagine it to be, full of hustle and bustle, the cacophony of street sounds, of everyone searching and vendors entertaining up to 5 clamouring customers all at once… miss out on this unique sub-continental experience at your peril! Jaipur, the ‘Pink City’, capital of Rajasthan, houses this famous market for jewellery; easy to see why, with all its precious metals, polished gemstones and intricate pieces of jewellery on display. As a former royal city, it has a noble tradition of supplying many of India’s clans with dazzling wares and is actually one of the few centres to cut and finish tanzanite, sometimes called ‘blue diamond’!
Marcado Libertad; Guadalajara, Mexico
The second largest city of Mexico hosts one of the country’s biggest traditional markets and is a spectacular draw for tourists. Three floors of merchants carry a vast array of goods to catch your eye - a case of something for everyone! From jewellery to cheap electronics, clothes and toys for the children, it’s extremely unlikely that anyone will leave empty-handed. Keep an eye out for the butchers in the Marcado – they sell every part of the animal and hang them out in the open for inspection – a great cultural experience if you can stomach it!
Flohmarkt am Mauerpark; Berlin, Germany
Established in 2004, the Mauerpark Flea Market throngs with buyers looking for that golden deal every Sunday from 8am. For that stylish talking piece or an ideal keepsake, this is a great place to indulge your bargain-hunting urges! From bikes and furniture to sunglasses and antiques, there’s a little bit of everything here and you may even be able to find some designer stuff, though double-check the authenticity. Enjoy breakfast or lunch in one of the many cosy eating areas or head to Oderbergerstrasse afterwards for a great coffee!
If you plan to visit one of these fabulous markets, you may need a helping hand from Flexicover Direct, the travel insurance specialist, committed to providing the highest level of service to ensure that you are safe and secure, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year when away.
If you are travelling soon, have a great trip!