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Europe's Best Flea Markets

©istockphoto/claudio.arnese

©istockphoto/claudio.arnese

Live for the thrill of finding the ultimate bargain? Plan your travels around shopping? You won’t want to miss this guide to the world’s best flea markets. From massive French bazaars to year-round Belgian gems, here’s a comprehensive list of a treasure hunter’s dream come true.

Munich’s Giant Flea Market, Munich, Germany
Over 3,000 vendors swarm the field that also plays host to Oktoberfest, ensuring that there are plenty of deals to be had and that there will be a selection like nowhere else. Expect an eclectic variety of wares, ranging from clothing and accessories to silverware, records, furniture, and just about every other treasure imaginable. This annual event draws major crowds so come prepared to face the hoards. It’s also worth practicing your haggling skills (in German, naturally).

Portobello Road MarketLondon, England
No one, but no one, leaves Portobello Road Market empty handed. To do so would be nearly impossible, considering the sheer quantity of vendors and fabulous deals to be had. Organized into different sections such as fashion, antiques, second-hand goods, and so on, making it easy to zero in on your intended target. That being said, plan on wandering around and just exploring, which is easily the best part. You’ll find a huge variety of items at the Portobello market, ranging from one-of-a-kind vintage garments to fish mongers. Portobello is not to be missed so make sure it’s a key part of your itinerary on your next trip to London.

Braderie de LilleLille, France
You don’t get crowned Europe’s largest flea market unless you can back it up. In the case of the Braderie, 10,000 vendors and 2 days of non-stop shopping prove that this incredible market has earned its title. The exhibitors stretch out on over 62 miles of streets, so be sure to wear comfortable (but adequately chic, bien sur) shoes. Vintage finds, including some insane fashion pieces, mix with breathtaking art, items designed exclusively for the Braderies, and knick knacks galore. Antiques, books, hard-to-find records, and just about everything else a treasure hunter could dream of are available at this incredible event. Bring cash and your patience.

Marolles Flea MarketBrussels, Belgium
Running 365 days a year, the Marolles Flea Market is a convenient spot to find all types of treasures in an especially lovely setting. Vendors have a wide variety of offerings and tend to feature high-quality items. Typically, there’s room for some haggling so don’t be afraid to ask. According to insiders, the best days to visit the market and Thursdays and Fridays although there are often exclusive pieces only available on weekends so it depends on what you’re hunting for.

Lake Maggiore Flea MarketBorgo D’Ale, Italy
While it may not be as big as some of the other markets, what Lake Maggiore makes up for in size, it more than compensates for in charm. Situated in picturesque Borgo D’Ale, this flea market is known for it’s eclectic mix of quality finds and it’s convivial nature. Comprised of approximately 350 stalls, the selection is well curated and you’re all but guaranteed to find something that you just can’t live without.

Lisbon Feira da LadraLisbon, Portugal
Dating back to the Middle Ages, this flea market with history takes place under the watchful eye of the National Pantheon, making it as much of a visual experience as it is a shopping one. All sorts of vendors come together with a wide variety of goods including, but certainly not limited to, hand-made pieces, books, clothing, coins, stamps, and military memorabilia. While the market tends to cater to tourists, there are still deals to be had and it’s well worth the time spent sifting through the goods.

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