23 July 2018
Forget Eiffel tower key-rings and Leaning Tower of Pisa fridge magnets. Browsing local markets and boutiques can be a wonderful part of your holiday, allowing you to immerse yourself in local life and support communities by investing in unique artisan products and indigenous crafts that will provide a lasting memory of your time abroad. Most also offer the chance to sample regional food and drink as you browse. We’ve picked some of our favourites around the globe.
Ravnsborggade Open-air Market, Copenhagen, Denmark
Where: Spanning Nørrebro's Ravnsborggade and Sankt Hans Gade streets on Sundays from March to November, this market offers spectacular homewares finds and a warm and inviting community feel.
What to buy: Royal Danish Porcelain, paintings, silverware and glass as well as modern designer objects and homewares.
Souk Semmarine, Marrakech, Morocco
Where: Just north of Jemaa al-Fnaa, the city’s main public square, this famous souk is a riot of colours, fragrance and sounds. Those looking for unique interiors items will be in heaven – and the prices are right.
What to buy: Carpets, patterned ceramics, embroidered and jewelled slippers, cashmere and silk scarves, leather, kaleidoscopic glass wear and lamps, and gold jewellery.
Es Cana, Ibiza
Where: Among the many hippy markets for which this Balearic island is famed, Hippy Market Punta Arabi is the original, having started out in 1973. It takes place in the resort of Es Caná every Wednesday between April and October, with 500 artists setting up stalls along the winding paths shaded by pine trees.
What to buy: Crafts, kaftans and other clothing, sandals, vintage sunglasses, jewellery, natural cosmetics and bespoke items from around the world.
Avissynias Square flea market, Athens, Greece
Where: Part of the Monastiraki neighbourhood, Avissynias Square welcomes a bazaar every Saturday and Sunday that expands into Ermou street all the way to Thisseio metro station. It’s a place to go back in time, with antiques to the forefront. You’re sure to spot the Greek eye of protection on many ceramics and jewellery pieces.
What: Rare medical and musical instruments, maps, engravings, furniture, old magazines, records, books, ceramics, art, clothes and leather sandals.
Where: On the island’s south coast, this up-and-coming resort is less touristy than nearby Kuta. Head to Jalan Pantai Batu Balong to discover lots of boutique shops, a food-lover’s haven of restaurants and cafés, and the iconic Love Anchor shopping and restaurant village with its vibrant weekend bazaar.
What to buy: Crocheted goods from dresses to wall-hangings and cushion covers, locally sourced silver and gold-plated jewellery, rattan bags and Hindu oil paintings.
Ladies Market, Hong Kong
Where: This is Hong Kong's most popular public street market but isn’t just limited to ladies. It’s held daily on Tung Choi Street in Mong Kok. While you’re in the city, you could also grab the opportunity to restock your wardrobe by investing in a sharp tailor-made suit for half the price you’d pay in the UK (The New York Times recommends Empire International on Mody Road).
What to buy: Chopsticks, cheongsams (one-piece Chinese dresses) and authentic Chinese crafts.
Where: This market held on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays in a small village in the Sacred Valley is less touristy and more authentic than Pisac’s. Artisans in village dress sell their goods against the dramatic backdrop of the Urubamba mountain range, in the shadow of the Inca palace wall ruins. Expect a good range of handicrafts, especially the weavings for which the area is famous (you can sometimes see the weaving process being demonstrated).
What to buy: Colourful Andean textiles, including rugs, alpaca sweaters and ponchos.
Witches' Market La Paz, Bolivia
Where: On Calle Jiminez and Linares, between Sagarnaga and Santa Cruz, this is guaranteed to be one of the most intriguing markets you will ever visit – and a rich source of truly unique souvenirs (although you probably won’t want to bring home a llama foetus or a dried frog – traditionally used for Aymara rituals).
What to buy: Soapstone figurines, aphrodisiac formulas and good-luck charms including magic potions or small trinkets said to bring wealth, health or a good harvest.
La Lagunilla Market, Mexico City, Mexico
Where: Ten blocks north of the city’s main plaza, one of the largest markets in the city offers three big sections: clothing, furniture and homewares, and food. Open daily, it’s at its largest on Sundays, when rare books, old records and ornate Matador costumes are added to the mix.
What: Bright clothes, Mexican hand-crafted goods, food including traditional sweets, Art Deco sofas and colonial dressers.
Inspired by one of these fabulous markets? Book your holiday today by contacting your Travel Counsellor.