From Paris and Seattle to Bangkok and Barcelona, Musement shares 13 of the world’s most incredible covered markets that you should make a point to see when traveling.
No matter which city you’re visiting, a stroll around its market is always worthwhile—the ideal place to capture the essence of the destination while mingling with locals, and of course tasting (and, why not, buying?) some typical local products in an authentic atmosphere. While it’s far from exhaustive, this list includes 13 of our favorite covered markets you must visit during your travels.
1. Le Marché des Enfants Rouges, Paris
Located in the Haut Marais, the Marché des Enfants-Rouges in the third arrondissement of Paris is a veritable mainstay. Parisians pushed for a revamp, and it reopened in 2000 after six years of work. This historic Paris market takes its name from its former adjacent 16th-century hospice that once housed orphans who wore red uniforms, a symbol of Christian charity. Today, under the glass roof and Eiffel-style beams, the market houses about 20 stands as well as shops offering international culinary specialties. With its Lebanese mezze platters, Italian caterers, cheese makers, wine merchants and more, you can sit wherever you please and let yourself be inspired by the motley, yet familial, atmosphere.
2. Mercado San Miguel, Madrid
Madrid’s historic market, the Mercado San Miguel, is located in one of the most vibrant areas of the Spanish capital, a stone’s throw from the Plaza Mayor. Above all, it’s the contemporary structure that combines iron, glass and ceramic that’ll intrigue you. Once you have passed through the doors of this gastronomical lair, you’ll literally be enchanted by the beauty of the products on display. Feel free to sit at one of the tables placed among the different vendors to enjoy a plate of tapas.
3. Chatuchak Weekend Market, Bangkok
The Chatuchak market in Bangkok is Thailand’s largest as well as one of the largest in the world. As evidenced by its name, the market is open every weekend and has no fewer than 15,000 stands. From clothing to crafts to antiques to books, not to mention the nearly 400 Thai food stands, you can literally find anything. It even offers international shipping.
4. Mahane Yehuda, Jerusalem
As in any souk, you’ll find all kinds of goods at Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem, including spices and delightful, colorful foods. Don’t miss the extraordinary delicacies of the Marzipan pastry shop. In the middle of the aisles, many restaurants and bars offer delicious local or Middle Eastern cuisine. We recommend that you organize your visit in such a way that you can have breakfast, lunch or dinner.
5. La Boquería, Barcelona
At La Boquería on Barcelona‘s central boulevard, La Rambla, fresh fruit, vegetables and jamón follow one another in an explosion of colors and flavors—to the delight of visitors. During your exploration, you’ll surely be tempted by a freshly squeezed fresh fruit juice. Treat yourself to a gourmet break at the counter of one of the many shops or the market’s most famous bar: the Pinotxo.
6. Pike Place Market, Seattle
With its electric atmosphere, Pike Place in Seattle is America’s oldest still-active market. Visitors travel from all over the world to stroll between the stalls, taste the products and even attend the famous “fish throw.” There are several restaurants in the market, which also happens to be the home of the world’s very first Starbucks.
7. Foodhallen, Amsterdam
Located in a former tram warehouse just west of the city, Foodhallen has become a must for hipsters and gourmets in the Dutch capital. With its innovative, ultra-trendy concept, this temple of modern gastronomy hosts shops, restaurants and food trucks that let you discover the new flavors of international cuisine.
8. Mercado da Ribeira, Lisbon
There’s undoubtedly just one reason to visit Mercado da Ribeira in Lisbon: to eat! The 108,000-square-foot space is divided into two parts: one dedicated to the traditional market, the other reserved for the various ready-to-eat foods, ranging from simple snacks to contemporary cuisine, including local specialties. Take a seat at one of the large communal tables in the center of the food court. Don’t forget to catch some live Fado music when you’re in town.
9. Markthalle Neun, Berlin
The famous indoor market in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district is a versatile and eclectic place that hosts a traditional market on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays that showcases the best of the best of Berlin’s gastronomic offerings. Don’t miss the “Street Food Thursday” evenings or the “Breakfast Market,” the brunch that takes place every third Sunday of the month.
10. Borough Market, London
A must-see on any visit to London, Borough Market, located at the foot of the London Bridge, is one of London’s most famous and oldest food markets. The well-stocked stalls are particularly inviting and Instagrammable. In this market, which served as the backdrop for Bridget Jones’s Diary and Harry Potter and the Prison of Azkaban, travelers and locals mix at lunchtime.
11. Marché Jean-Talon, Montreal
The sprawling Jean-Talon Market in the heart of Montreal’s Little Italy district is a paradise for food lovers. The fruit, vegetable and flower vendors mingle with stands offering quality gourmet products and several spots where you can take break and enjoy a bite. And don’t forget to satisfy your sweet tooth while you’re in town.
12. Central Mercato, Florence
For a gourmet stop dedicated to the best gastronomy that Florence has to offer (in addition to its wonderful restaurants), visit the city’s covered market. Located a stone’s throw from the main station, the market, inaugurated in 1874, is now divided into two areas: the ground floor offers a superb traditional market while, since 2014, the second floor has been reserved for sit-down dining.
13. Reading Terminal Market, Philadelphia
This covered and enclosed market in the heart of Philadelphia dates back to 1893, and it’s one of the oldest in America. You can easily spend the whole day here. Enjoy a cheesesteak at Carmine’s, have a cannoli filled on the spot at Termini Brothers Bakey, purchase freshly made Amish farm products, freshly-baked cookies at Pennsylvania General Store, sip a just-squeezed juice, savor some shawarma, and much, much more.