45 Best Markets Around the World (Slideshow)

The 45 best markets around the world selling fresh produce and a taste of place

45. Kauppatori: Helsinki

This market area was established in 1812, but it wasn’t until 1889 that the market hall was built. Located near the water, the market area allows vendors to trade directly from their boats. Merchants sell products like strawberries and peas as well as more unique Finnish dishes like reindeer meat. The market square is open all year round, but is most popular in the summer. Festivals are held in the area year-round, including the popular Baltic Herring Festival in October, and there are displays of old American cars on the first Friday of every month. 

44. ChiChi Market: Chichicastenango, Guatemala

Chichicastenango is a small mountain town, but on Thursdays and Sundays the town is transformed by the market selling traditional handicrafts. Items for sale include pottery, colorful textiles, carved wooden masks, and flowers. The market sprawls from the central plaza to side streets and church steps, all filled with vendors selling their products. Fresh produce, live animals, and medical herbs are for sale as well as prepared dishes, like fried chicken with rice, tortillas, and vegetables.

43. Marché Atwater: Montreal

Known for its tall clock tower along the Lachine Canal, Marché Atwater is home to more than nine butchers, three cheese shops, a fishmonger, and more than a dozen specialty shops, like Chocolats Geneviève Grandbois, which sells specialty chocolate products. The market was constructed in 1933 from the architectural plans of "Ludger et Lemieux." The outside of the market is home to many farmer vendors selling fresh fruits and vegetables. The market prides itself on offering seasonal products; in the spring, many of the stalls sell flowers, and in December, the market area is filled with Christmas trees.

42. English Market: Cork City, Ireland

Ireland’s most famous covered market, English Market, is home to food vendors selling local and imported foods at their own, individual stalls. Foods for sale include fresh produce, meats, cheeses, olives, fresh eggs, baked goods, and gourmet chocolate. For those wishing to dine at the market, the Farmgate Restaurant has an open balcony area so guests can enjoy the atmosphere of the market while enjoying a sit-down meal. The restaurant prides itself on its daily changing menu that reflects the foods available in the actual market. 

41. Castries Market: Castries, St. Lucia

Housed under a bright orange roof, Castries Market, where vendors have been bringing their products for more than a century, is home to vibrant fruits, vegetables, and island spices like cinnamon, star anise, and mace. Next to the produce market, which sells island fruits like breadfruit and bananas, is the craft market, which sells pottery, woodcarvings, and hand-woven straw articles. There are also a variety of prepared local dishes available at food booths, like sweet potato pudding and cowheel soup. A notable stand is Spicy Delights, previously known as Sugar and Spice, which is known for its fish soup.

40. Covered Market: Oxford, England

Covered Market thrives on the expertise of its vendors, and for 200 years has been supplying fresh produce and luxury goods to Oxford. The majority of the businesses represented are independently owned, and some date back to the original market opening. Located in the center of the city, the building dates back to the 1770s. Many of the vendors are food vendors, but there are also other shops like barbers and flower shops. Some vendors sell traditional products, like the butcher shop M Feller Son and Daughter, which sells traditional British sausages made fresh daily. 

39. Viktualienmarkt: Munich

This outdoor food market operates in the center of Munich, and has developed from its origin as a farmers' market to a market for gourmet foods. More than 140 stalls in the area sell flowers, exotic fruits, meats, spices, juices, and other products. Popular items are the variety of pickles, stuffed tomatoes, and olives, available at different vendors. The market covers more than 22,000 square meters of outdoor space and dates back to 1807, making it the oldest farmers' market in Munich.

38. Yeliseyevsky: Moscow

This mesmerizing hall is home to various Russian delicacies and luxury imported foods for sale. The ground floor houses to a display of perishables in glass cases, from seafood and meats to prepared foods, many of which are regional specialties including Georgian cheese pies and Siberian meat dumplings. There is also a large wine and liquor section. The market is rumored to sell replica Fabergé eggs filled with vodka. Because of the steep prices (it’s known for its impressive caviar selection), many locals come here for novelties, while tourists may come for a souvenir.

37. Mercado Ver-o-Peso: Belém, Brazil

Ver-o-Peso is the prime symbol of the city of Belém, often pictured on postcards and souvenirs from the city. The market is located directly on the Bay of Guajará, at the mouth of the Amazon River, and has its own dock for receiving goods. The market dates back to the 17th century, but today’s buildings are from the 19th century renovations and are designed in Belle Époque style. The market sells fruits, meats, fish, and various prepared foods. Many of the foods sold are from deep in the Amazon and are not available in other parts of the world. One of the signature items for sale at the market are their açai berries. 

36. Marché de Enfants Rouges: Paris

One of the oldest markets in Paris, Enfants Rouges was built under the rule of Louis XIII in 1615. The name means "market of the red children," and refers to the red uniform worn by the children of an orphanage nearby. Today, many fail to notice the discreet entrance to the small market, filled with lively colors of fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Vendors also sell wines, olive oil, and cheeses, and the market is an ideal place to grab lunch from a variety of both traditional and ethnic food stands, including Italian, Japanese, and Lebanese cuisines. Many visitors are fans of the Moroccan stand, called Traiteur Marocain, which sells traditional dishes like lamb tagine, couscous, and baklava.

35. Darajani Market: Zanzibar, Tanzania

A visit to Darajani Market is an experience that excites all the senses, from the smell of spices and fish to the colorful fruits and vegetables to the vendors yelling their prices and selling their products. Darajani is the main market in the city and has been open since 1904. It is also known as "Estella Market" after Countess Estella, the sister of the prime minister, and "Marikiti Kuu," which is Swahili means "main market." The market is mostly a food market, selling produce, seafood, meats, grains, and spices, but it also sells some clothing and electronics. It is best to go in the morning, when everything is still fresh. 

34. Mercado de la Merced: Mexico City

The largest market in Mexico City, Mercado de la Merced is officially housed in several buildings, but small vendors and shops line the streets in the area. The market sells fruits and vegetables, local spices, and home products like juicers and silverware. Many of the foods available are Mexican staples, like varieties of chile peppers (both fresh and dried), cactus pads, pig skin, and corn. The market is a popular place to enjoy street food, with two of the most popular dishes being quesadillas and tostadas.

33. Maxwell Street Market: Chicago

Maxwell Street Market in Chicago has a rich history, specifically related to music. Chicago Electric Blues were born on Maxwell Street, and served as inspiration for other blues music. Now, the market serves as an open-air flea market every Sunday, selling everything from clothing to blenders to old Nintendo games. There’s also a variety of food vendors, some of whom sell authentic Mexican food like enchiladas (check out the enchiladas verdes at Manolo’s) and homemade horchata. When the weather is permitting, the market often has live music.

32. Queen Victoria Market: Melbourne, Australia

Spread out over two city blocks, the Queen Victoria Market is a historical landmark in Melbourne. The market offers produce, local and imported goods, clothing, and souvenirs. There are many different areas for food within the market, like Deli Hall, which has shops selling artisan cheeses, meats, and food to take away. There is also an organic section offering organic produce, meats, coffee, and wines. The market's food court is where visitors can stop and sit to enjoy a meal. A diverse range of cultures is represented here, with shops selling Middle Eastern, Italian, and Chinese dishes as well as more traditional Australian dishes like sandwiches and fish and chips. A notable spot to grab a bite is Borek Stall, which sells the Turkish pastry, borek, with a variety of fillings like cheese and spinach, lamb, and potatoes and vegetables.

31. Khan El-Khalili: Cairo

This market was originally established in 1382, putting Cairo on the map as one of the most important trading centers in the area. The open-air bazaar is filled with items like spices, jewelry, perfumes, and other souvenirs. There are many coffee shops throughout the market selling Arabic coffee and there are also a few restaurants where you can sit and have a meal, like the famous (and pricy) Naguib Mahfouz, which serves traditional Middle Eastern food like chicken kasbariya and moussaka.

30. Pike Place Market: Seattle

Pike Place Market started as a farmers’ market in 1907, and has since grown to be one of Seattle’s most iconic attractions. Visitors will find fresh produce, flowers, fish, locally made crafts, and more packed into this busy marketplace. The market is also home to the original Starbucks and Rachel the Pig, a bronzed piggy bank weighing 550 pounds and the unofficial mascot of the market. The market has a variety of dining options for visitors, like Pike Place Chowder, which serves a variety of chowders like classic New England clam chowder and a Seattle favorite, smoked salmon chowder.

29. Grand Central Market: Los Angeles

For generations, Californians have visited the Grand Central Market in Los Angeles to enjoy the sights and smells of the specialty vendors selling foods from around the world. More than 38 merchants sell fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood, spices, candied nuts, and more at their various locations. The market is also home to small restaurants and cafés, which, like the produce available, celebrate the culinary diversity is Los Angeles. A notable dining option is Sarita’s, a restaurant that has been serving hand-stuffed pupusas for more than 15 years. The recipe comes from El Salvador, and there are a variety of options for filling the tortilla, as well as some spicy slaw on the side. 

28. Naschmarkt: Vienna

Nashmarkt has been in existence since the 16th century, but it has since developed from a market primarily selling milk to a melting pot of cultures and a top destination in Vienna. The market is home to a variety of products, from local produce to exotic spices, as well as small restaurants and vendors selling traditional Austrian fare and more modern dishes. You can find Austrian-style kraut being sold out of large wooden barrels next to Middle Eastern stands selling falafel with wasabi hummus. The dining options in the market are diverse, from small outdoor vendors to more upscale dining at places like Umar, a famous fish restaurant in the city. There are also many specialty stores selling cooking oils, vinegars, and sweets.

27. Carmel Market: Tel Aviv, Israel

Carmel Market is Tel Aviv’s biggest and busiest market, with vendors selling local products like dried fruit and spices as well as clothing and footwear. The market first opened in 1920 and is an integral part of the city’s history — its role in public life throughout the years has reflected the war and tension in the region. The market also sells an immense amount of fresh fruits and vegetables, and many Israelis do their shopping at these local vendors. There are also various stalls selling prepared foods. A favorite is the bourekas (salty puff pastry filled with cheese, potato, or spinach) stand, which serves the food with hard-boiled egg, homemade pickles, tomato, and a spicy tomato paste.

26. Wangfujing Night Market: Beijing

Local snacks are considered a specialty of Beijing, and at the Wangfujing Night Market guests can munch on a variety of unique dishes from all over China. For the adventurous eater, some vendors sell centipedes, lizards, and deep-fried crickets, which are enjoyed on a stick. Some stalls sell more familiar Chinese fare, like roasted duck, noodle soup, and pork dumplings. Since the market is in traditional street food style, there are no places to sit, so guests can enjoy their snack while standing in front of the stall. 

25. Reading Terminal Market: Philadelphia

Markets have been a part of Philadelphia since the city began to develop, and Reading Terminal Market has become home to one of the widest selections of fresh produce, meats, seafood, and Amish goods, like the baked goods at Beiler’s Bakery. The historic market also sells handmade crafts like pottery and jewelry from around the world. Eclectic restaurants and ready-to-eat vendors are spread out throughout the market, selling favorites like ice cream and clam chowder. One spot of interest, DiNics, serves hot roast beef, pork, and meatball sandwiches. Their roast pork sandwich was chosen as "the best sandwich in America" by Travel Channel in 2012

24. St. Lawrence Market: Toronto

Located inside what was once City Hall, the St. Lawrence Market in Toronto is composed of three different buildings, each filled with vendors selling their craft. The market is surrounded by other historical buildings and is considered a landmark in the city. The South Market contains more than 120 specialty vendors selling fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, dairy, and grains. The North Market is primarily known for its Saturday farmers' market and antique market, a tradition that has been going strong since 1803. Visitors can pick up fresh produce from the farmers' market or vendors or indulge in prepared foods like the "World Famous Peameal Bacon Sandwich" at Carousel Bakery.

23. Mercado de Abastos: Oaxaca, Mexico

Mercado de Abastos is thought to be the largest outdoor market in Mexico. Hundreds of stalls line up over 4 acres, selling everything from fruits and vegetables to live turkeys. Local multicolored chiles and fresh herbs and spices are a popular souvenir to take home. The market is open seven days a week and is always crowded, but Saturdays are by far the busiest day. In the central area, visitors can relax and have a local meal from informal stands that sell regional dishes like varieties of mole, lamb barbacoa, and massive tortillas.

22. Nishiki Market: Kyoto, Japan

Known as "Kyoto’s Kitchen," this market sells all things food-related, from fresh seafood and produce to knives and cookware. At nearly 400 years old, the five-block-long shopping street is lined with more than 100 shops and restaurants. It is a great spot to find local and seasonal foods, like pickles and dried seafood. Most of the shops specialize in a particular kind of food, and some are small and narrow while others are two stories tall. Some of the popular foods sold include omelettes, grilled squid, sugared fruit, rice balls, and freshly prepared fish. Many stalls give out sample dishes or skewers to visitors since seating is often limited.

21. Great Market Hall: Budapest, Hungary

The self-proclaimed most beautiful market hall in Budapest, Great Market Hall is not only great in size, but also attracts a large number of trade and traffic regularly. The three-story hall has vendors selling products like fresh produce, salamis, pickles (traditional cucumber pickles as well as other pickled vegetables like cabbage and beets), and Hungarian paprika as well as small souvenirs and trinkets. Some floors are home to various food stands and eateries, many selling traditional snacks like lángos, a Hungarian deep-fried flatbread.

20. Khlong Toey Market: Bangkok

Located not far from the city’s center, Khlong Toey Market is a vast and chaotic market filled with vendors selling live seafood, fruits, vegetables, and cooked local dishes. The market is one the largest fresh markets in the city, and sells not only food, but also crafts like stationary and cloths. If you’re squeamish, be warned ­— some of the meats and fish still have their heads intact. The market also has food stalls selling local lunch foods, like steamed dumplings and grilled meats.

19. Kowloon City Market, Hong Kong

Located in a three-story market building — reminiscent of a deconstructed cruise ship — Kowloon City’s public market is hard to miss. The first two floors are dedicated to a massive fresh food market (also known as a "wet market" as the sales of fresh meat and fish requires frequent floor washing) while the third is home to food outlets. With 581 stalls, it’s one of Hong Kong’s largest markets, selling everything from fresh imported meats and live fish to a wide array of Southeast Asian fruits. As Kowloon City is a highly Thai-populated area, the market is also home to numerous Thai specialty stores and food stalls, where visitor can enjoy authentic Thai dishes such as spicy curry. 

18. Marché Victor Hugo: Toulouse, France

Marché Victor Hugo is the largest covered market in Toulouse and is housed in a multistory car complex built in the 1970s, standing out against the classic French residential architecture around it. Visitors claim the market sells the best meat in town, included chicken, fish, and magret (duck breast). The market is also home to vendors selling fruits and vegetables, dairy, and bakeries, as well as a handful of bars and florists. Small restaurants throughout the market prepare food with produce from the vendors, including the famous Chez Attila, a no-fuss seafood restaurant that is only open for lunch. 

19. Kowloon City Market, Hong Kong

Located in a three-story market building — reminiscent of a deconstructed cruise ship — Kowloon City’s public market is hard to miss. The first two floors are dedicated to a massive fresh food market (also known as a "wet market" as the sales of fresh meat and fish requires frequent floor washing) while the third is home to food outlets. With 581 stalls, it’s one of Hong Kong’s largest markets, selling everything from fresh imported meats and live fish to a wide array of Southeast Asian fruits. As Kowloon City is a highly Thai-populated area, the market is also home to numerous Thai specialty stores and food stalls, where visitor can enjoy authentic Thai dishes such as spicy curry.

17. Cours Saleya: Nice, France

Known primarily as a flower market, the famous Cours Saleya also sells fresh produce, like plump red tomatoes, a Niçoise cooking essential. The popular market is always crowded, and at night the open-air market becomes a covered eating area, creating a different atmosphere. Vendors sell beautiful varieties of flowers, fruits, and vegetables, and more indelicate products like pigs’ ears and lambs’ testicles. A notable vendor is Thérèsa, which sells socca, a griddle-fried pancake made with chickpea flour and olive oil. The market is also lined with various cafés and seafood restaurants where visitors can also stop to grab a bite.

16. Sweet Auburn Curb Market: Atlanta

Considering itself an "international delight," Sweet Auburn Curb Market in Atlanta sells specialty food items. The market first started in 1918 and was housed in a giant tent, bringing fresh produce from farmers to the people of Atlanta. Vendors at the market are independently owned businesses, and sell products like meat, fish, baked goods, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and plants. There are many restaurants inside the market, several of which serve ethnic foods, like Afrodish Restaurant, which serves Caribbean prepared foods. Other restaurants, like Metro Deli Soul Food, sell local Southern favorites like mac and cheese, meatloaf, and baked chicken.

15. Ben Thanh Market: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Ben Thanh Market, a destination for many tourists, is one of the oldest surviving buildings in the area. Located in a lively area of the city, visitors can stop by the market to enjoy textiles, souvenirs, handicrafts, and of course, local cuisine. Many of the vendors are cooking up fresh food that’s made to order. Visitors stop here for a "real Vietnamese meal," like entire fish that are deep-fried. Many stalls also sell Vietnamese prepared beverages, like smoothies and iced coffee. In the evening, you can visit the market and sit at a number of sidewalk temporary restaurants serving local dishes like pho (Vietnamese noodle soup) and banh canh cua (crab noodle soup). 

14. Kreta Ayer Wet Market: Singapore

This Chinatown market is known for being spotlessly clean. It is called a "wet market" because it is regularly hosed down for hygienic purposes. The fare includes a wide range of unique animals, like turtles, frogs, eels, and snakes (did we mention that some are still alive?) The market also sells local items, like Chinese herbal remedies and Asian vegetables like bok choy. The upstairs area offers local breakfast dishes, including a spicy noodle soup. Other local dishes available include chili crab and Hainan chicken rice.

13. Tsukiji Fish Market: Tokyo

Tsukiji Fish Market is the most famous wholesale fish market in Tokyo and one of the largest seafood markets in the world. The market handles more than 2,000 tons of seafood a day and also supplies fruits, vegetables, and flowers to the Tokyo area. The market hosts a tuna auction in the morning that has become a popular destination for tourists wishing to catch the action (although generally, it is not open for public viewing). There is both an inner and outer area of the market, but the inner area is more famous, and some of the vendors claim they have been working at the market for 20 generations. Local restaurants are in both the inner and outer market, where visitors can get fresh sashimi for breakfast or lunch. One of the market's more popular restaurants, Daiwa Sushi, sells fresh sushi to long lines in the early hours of the morning.

12. La Vucciria: Palermo, Italy

La Vucciria may be in Italy, but the atmosphere of this market is more Middle Eastern than European. Musicians play drums and sing Arab ballads while shoppers peruse the ethnic foods available. The name comes from the French word for "butcher’s market," and while there are many types of meat like barbecued sausage and kebabs available, there are also fruits and vegetable vendors. The narrow passageway is piled with vendors, and for those looking for an authentic bite, try pane c’a meusa, a spleen sandwich that is sold at almost every stall. There are also small restaurants located in the market area, such as La Vecchia Trattoria da Totó, one of the area's most beloved restaurants. A local family runs the restaurant, and their house specialty is the pasta with sardines.

11. Mercado Municipal: Sao Paulo

Opened in 1933, Mercado Municipal in Sao Paulo is both an architectural marvel and home to various vendors selling produce, poultry, seafood, pastas, sweets, and unique spices from around the world. The building features vast domes and stained glass, an example of industrial architecture. The market, which employs 1,500 people and handles more than 450 tons of food per day, is home to both vendors and small restaurants selling local items. Favorites at the market include the selection of tropical fruits and enormous mortadella (bologna) sandwiches. There are also sit-down restaurants located in the mezzanine, like Hocca Bar, which sells full dishes as well as pastries and snacks.  

10. Mercato Centrale: Florence, Italy

Located in the heart of the Tuscan capital, Mercato Centrale in Florence is home to vendors selling a wide variety of produce and prepared foods. Most foods reflect the Tuscan cuisine of the area, like ribollita, a thick soup made with bread and vegetables, and foods using mushrooms, like truffle-infused olive oil. Vendors sell fruits and vegetables, seafood, poultry, meats, and fresh homemade pastas to guests in the constantly bustling indoor market, located in the heart of the city. The market is also home to small restaurants selling Tuscan dishes. One of the best spots to grab a bite is Da Nerbone, and their specialty panino con bollito (a boiled beef sandwich with the bread dipped in the cooking broth) is known throughout Florence.

9. Grand Bazaar: Istanbul

Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar is one of the oldest and largest in the world. More than 4,000 shops spread out over 60 covered streets, and attract hundreds of thousands visitors daily. The market is known for its jewelry, antiques, spices, carpets, and ceramics, but the bazaar is also home to a variety of delicious food finds. It dates back to 1461 and has grown since its opening to now house many cafés and restaurants. Many of the vendors selling food offer authentic Turkish dishes, like Kara Mehmet Kebap Salonu, a hole-in-the-wall restaurant selling a variety of kebabs, including kidney and liver. Located off the beaten path of the bustling marketplace, this restaurant is deep inside the open-air courtyard, which is filled with smaller and calmer shops. 

8. Torvehallerne Market: Copenhagen, Denmark

This new, upscale market is the first of its kind in Copenhagen, and has quickly become a hot spot in the capital city. The market is actually composed of two glass and steel halls on opposite sides of the square. The fare is both local and international, and includes foods like organic sausage, artisanal honey, red velvet cupcakes, and olive oils. The structures are home to more than 80 vendors, with dishes like fish and chips (available at Fiskerikajen fish market), beer, and sushi (check out Sushi Lovers) available to visitors. A local favorite is found at Ma Poule, a French-inspired poultry shop selling a duck confit sandwich that people are eager to wait in long lines for.

7. Mercado de San Miguel: Madrid

Mercado de San Miguel is housed in a 1916 Beaux-Arts building that was abandoned for years until the market renovated the iron and glass building in 2009. Within walking distance from Plaza Mayor, the building is now a lively food destination, with 33 shopping and dining stalls and a central café area. Each booth is operated independently, and vendors sell everything from fresh fruit and vegetables to frozen yogurt. Guests can enjoy quality Spanish products like tapas, wine, and pastries at iron picnic tables throughout the market. The market is open until 2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday, and late-night visitors create long lines at vendors like Daniel Sorlut, an oyster and champagne bar.

6. Ferry Building Marketplace: San Francisco

Located in the historic Ferry Building, San Francisco’s Ferry Building Marketplace is home to stores selling foods in all of its forms, from fresh, raw produce to prepared dishes. All of the foods sold at the market are of top quality because of the market’s dedication to providing artisan and fresh foods as well as celebrating cultural diversity. The market is designed in the tradition of classic public markets, and in addition to vendors selling produce and meats, there are restaurants and cafés where visitors can enjoy a full meal, like The Slanted Door, the nationally acclaimed Vietnamese restaurant that serves both Vietnamese street foods as well as more complex seafood and meat dishes. The marketplace is also home to the Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market, which is one of the best-known farmers' markets in the world for its variety and quality of fresh products. It is open three days a week (Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday), while the regular market is open seven days a week. 

5. Sydney Fish Market: Sydney

The Sydney Fish Market is a working fish market and is the largest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, trading both national and international species. It is the second-largest seafood market in terms of variety in the world, after Tokyo. Visitors can pick up fresh seafood to cook at home or enjoy a meal at the market, like fresh sashimi, oysters, or fish and chips from one of the many retailers, like the Fish Market Café. Guests can also participate in a behind-the-scenes tour to learn more about the bustling hot spot. The market is also home to the Sydney Seafood School, which is one of Australia’s largest cooking schools and works to encourage Sydney residents to eat more seafood.

4. La Vega Central: Santiago, Chile

Off the beaten path of the city’s center, La Vega is a hidden gem in the usually crowded Santiago streets. The market is filled with colorful produce and freshly butchered meats, and is a true reflection of the culture of the country, with vendors offering street food like sopaipillas, deep-fried pumpkin dough, to office workers and laborers on their lunch break. Stands around the market sell local treats like freshly blended juices using seasonal fruits (like strawberries, peaches, and raspberries), and tiny restaurant stalls located on the east side of the market are usually packed with locals lining up for Chilean home-style comfort food. Some of these popular traditional dishes served are cazuela (a light soup made with chicken, pumpkin, corn, potato, carrots, and onion) and humitas, mixtures of corn, onion, and lard wrapped in corn husks and boiled or steamed.

3. Noryangjin Fish Market: Seoul, South Korea

The Seoul Fish Market is both a wholesale fish market and a cultural attraction. More than 300 tons of seafood from South Korea arrives at this market every day, and visitors who arrive early in the morning can watch the fish auction, which occurs every day except Sundays and holidays. Some of the exotic seafood items, like the giant squid tentacles, are sold for hundreds of dollars. Visitors can also dine on the second floor of the market, which houses about a dozen traditional-style restaurants. Many of these restaurants specialize in raw fish, but some also serve cooked dishes like spicy soup with octopus (sometimes served alive!). Fish are available to be purchased all day at more than 700 individual stalls, and once they've selected a fish (or in some cases, octopus), visitors can be escorted to one of the restaurants, like Jinnam Sushi Restaurant, where their fresh purchase is cut and served as sashimi. The Korean specialty is hwae, sliced raw fish placed on lettuce and topped with raw garlic, green pepper, and a bit of vinegared red pepper paste. 

2. Borough Market: London

London’s oldest market, Borough Market, attracts locals and visitors alike. With more than 100 stalls, the market, which can trace its roots back to the 11th century, can be difficult to navigate, but is home to a vast amount of ethnic and specialty foods. Borough Market captures the rich culinary history and diversity of London, offering a wide variety of food, like fine cheeses and olive oils alongside creative dishes like ostrich burgers. The full market is open Wednesday through Saturday, and visitors can mingle with chefs and producers as they sample their way through the various stalls. The market sells fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood, dairy, and breads, but if you’re visiting for a meal, there are also many vendors selling prepared foods to choose from. Some notable vendors include Khanom Krok, which sells authentic Thai street food (like mango and coconut sticky rice), and Gujarati Rasoi, which sells British Indian food (like samosas and samosa chaat) made with recipes one of the owners knows by heart.

1. La Boqueria Market: Barcelona, Spain

Formally known as the Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, this market tops our list at number one. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Barcelona and one of the best-known markets in Europe. Located on the popular La Rambla boulevard, the large indoor market sells everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to seafood and spices.

The first mention of the market dates back to 1217, when tables were set up near the old door of the city to sell meat. After years of the area changing its purpose and structure (it was originally an open-air traveling market), in 1914 the metal roof that exists today was constructed. Now, the market is home to vendors selling produce, seafood, meat, cheeses, dried fruit, olives and preserves, and ready-made meals.

Visitors can wander the market indulging their senses and sample the traditional Spanish dish, seafood paella, at various stands throughout the space. The market also has two tapas bars, El Quim and Pinotxo, which are always busy with customers. El Quim offers a variety of tapas as well as their specialty — two fried eggs with your choice of topping, like baby squid, ham, and their signature seasonal item, llanqueta (tiny fish). La Boqueria also has a food school that teaches participants about the origin and history of foods, culinary traditions, and preparations.