Favorite flea markets

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Richard Lowe of Pahrump, Nevada, wrote, “When traveling, I troll markets and flea markets looking for things I can’t find in the USA, mainly antiques, art (especially prints and posters), knicknacks and small, tasteful furniture. I am especially drawn to pottery and vases.

“The flea markets in Europe are pretty well known, but I’d like to see which out-of-the way markets readers can tell us about, even on other continents. Travelers who respond should indicate how ‘pricey’ a particular market is, compared to the region’s regular retail prices, and whether it’s an everyday or a ‘weekend’ market.”

From any visit made within the last three years and outside of the US), we asked you shoppers to let us know of a flea market you found that is worth visiting. Or a handicraft market. Or a market specializing in antiques, art, furniture, etc. (But no produce markets and no Christmas markets.) We asked that, in each case, you give its location (include contact information, if available) and state approximately when you were last there, then tell what made the market worth visiting plus anything else that visitors might want to know.

Responses appear below. Have something to add? Write to Favorite Flea Markets, c/o ITN, 2116 28th St., Sacramento, CA 95818, or e-mail editor@intltravelnews.com. Include the address at which you receive ITN.

 

One of my favorite shopping venues in both the UNITED KINGDOM and SWEDEN is the charity shop. Almost every charity organization has one.

While in Pitlochry, Scotland, in May ’09, I realized I had forgotten a warm jacket. I found a great one in a charity shop. On that same trip, we stopped in Clithero, Lancashire, England, and managed to visit six shops. We also found wonderful stuff in Skipton, Yorkshire. In the UK, charity shops are well marked and usually located on the high street.

Finding charity shops in Sweden is more of a challenge. There, the best shops are run by church organizations or the Red Cross. At your hotel or B&B, ask the whereabouts of the local Salvation Army or Red Cross; that should steer you to others, many of which use the word “mission” as part of their name.

We decided to go swimming in Sweden and stopped at a charity shop in Eksjö to buy towels, which we left with our hosts afterward to save having to pack them home.

There are still a few outdoor markets left in Sweden and they usually have some stalls with flea market stuff. I’ve found good stainless-steel flatware and copper molds.

Lois Sundeen
Concord, NH

 

My all-time favorite market is Auer Dult in Munich, GERMANY, which takes place three times a year and lasts nine days each time. In 2011 it took place April 30-May 8 and July 30-Aug. 8, with the fall market Oct. 15-23. (In 2010 I was there for the 700th anniversary of the Auer Dult, which was celebrated on July 29.)

This must be the world’s largest crockery market-cum-swap meet, with a beer tent festival and close to 300 knickknack stands offering true antiques but also tons of kitsch. Most of the vendors, as well as the customers, are Bavarian.

Munich’s Auer Dult is held in the Mariahilfplatz, adjacent to the church of the same name, a couple of blocks away from the German Museum. It is easy to find (tram station: Regerplatz).

Robert Meyerhof
Los Angeles, CA

 

In Homburg, Saarland, GERMANY, the monthly Flohmarkt (website in German & French only) is the best flea market we’ve ever been to. My husband and I live about 20 kilometers away, and we try never to miss it!

Vendors come from Luxembourg, France and Germany, and there’s a good mix of professionals and antique sellers plus local folks cleaning out their garages.

You can get great deals on gray-and-blue Pfälzisch pottery, hand-embroidered linens, WWI and WWII items, old German postcards, and Villeroy & Boch dishes (the main V&B plant is not too far from there) plus antiques, local baskets and the usual flea market items.

There are many more vendors in the late spring and summer months. In June 2011, for instance, we estimated close to 1,000 sellers, but even in January there were more than 100.

The first Saturday of every month except December, it starts before 9 and goes until mid afternoon. Vendors start packing up about 2 p.m.

To get there, take the A6, exit at Homburg and follow signs to the city center/Rathaus. If you use a GPS, this is the address: 66424 Homburg, Am Forum 5.

Martha Wiley
Landstuhl, Germany

 

The Sunday morning antiques market in Zagreb, CROATIA, runs from 9 a.m. to about 2 p.m. On Oct. 3, 2010, I arrived at about 10:30 and it was busy! Not a large market, it’s very manageable.

You will find lots of antiques, lamps, WWII items, coins, books, costume jewelry and vintage clothing as well as wares by a few local artisans. There are one or two flower stalls and several cafés nearby.

The market is located at Britanski trg (British Square), on Ilica Street, just steps away from one of the shortest funiculars in the world (only 66 meters, it takes you to the heart of Zagreb’s Old Town in 55 seconds).

Esther Perica
Arlington Heights, IL

 

In Yerevan, ARMENIA, Vernissage is a huge market held behind the Republic Square metro on Nalbandyan Street, within walking distance of any place in the city center. It’s open every weekend.

Half the market is souvenirs, arts and crafts. The other half is a jungle of items so obscure and dated that you’ll wonder who in the world would buy them.

Leave your AmEx at home, but bring your camera for some truly odd shots. I was last there in 2008.

James K. Downs
Louisville, CO

 

My favorite flea market is Izmaylovo in Moscow, RUSSIA. Whenever I’m in the city, I try to visit this open-air market for Russian handicrafts. The prices, if you bargain (go for at least 10% off), are well below those anywhere else.

My latest purchase, in May ’11, was a set of nesting dolls for $110, 90% below the airport price for a similar set ($1,000). You can find nesting dolls depicting the latest American sports team players, both college and pro. A good find was a set featuring President Clinton with all of his mistresses.

There are antiques and art there, but beware: a few vendors will try to pass off copies as the real thing.

Food vendors are located in a structure that looks like a cross between a wooden fortress and a fairy-tale castle.

Take the Arbatsko-Pokrovskaya Metro line to the Ismaylovsky Park stop.

Bill Altaffer
San Diego, CA

 

I have been visiting Jaffa’s Flea Market, or Shuk HaPishpeshim, in Tel Aviv every year for the past 35 years, on each trip I make to ISRAEL. East of and within walking distance of the clock tower, it’s amazing. The vendors are both first and second generation from Morocco, Tunisia, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Yemen, etc.

While we love visiting Morocco and Tunisia, what I find so fascinating about the Jaffa Flea Market is it’s the only chance I probably will ever have to “deal” with Jews from Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Syria and many other countries.

It’s fun joking with them, being offered tea or soft drinks and just being welcomed and chatting. It’s NOT hard sell, and there is much to learn about their countries and the products they have. Here are some of things you’ll find there.

  • Wonderfully colorful clothing from India and Nepal.
  • Exquisite handmade tiles from Iran plus a number that are copied by Iranian Jews in Israel.
  • Beautifully fashioned metal menorahs for the wall, copied from ancient ones.
  • Inscribed antique Arab seals surrounded by silver, usually reading “Bismillah” (“In the Name of Allah”).
  • Druze woven small rugs and table runners.
  • Old-fashioned European lamps and furniture.
  • If you are an antique-postcard collector, as I am, this is a good place to find them.

If you go, ask for Reuben’s shop. Reuben is a mild-mannered gentleman who has prices that rarely require haggling over. He sells hand-painted ceramics in the Turkish style and lots of Turkoman silver jewelry.

When you get tired, there are small cafés to stop and sit at for a rest and a drink.

All of the vendors at the Jaffa Flea Market are Jewish, and I would say that most became Israeli citizens after suffering anti-Semitism in other countries. On each trip to Israel I also visit the shuk in Jerusalem, which is a solely Arab bazaar. And the bazaar in the Old City of Daliat El-Carmel (outside of Haifa), which I also go to, has solely Israeli Druze vendors.

All three offer wonderful items and lots of fun in bargaining. I can’t wait to return to Israel this year.

Stephanie Comfort
Richardson, TX

 

My favorite flea market is in Puerto Limón, COSTA RICA. Some of the cruise ships stop there. I have been to the market, located at the end of the pier, three times now (most recently in April ’11) and recommend it to everyone I speak to on my cruises. When you exit the gangway, turn right and you will see it.

The first two times I went, I didn’t have much time to explore. The first time was after the fun but exhausting day-long Del Monte banana plantation tour. The second time, I had been on a coffee bean tour. On my the third stop at the port, I planned nothing else for the entire day and was able to spend hours going from booth to booth, admiring the hand-carved rosewood items. I purchased a walking stick; bargaining saved me $5.

There was silver jewelry that was unusual in design and affordable. I also saw Costa Rican coffee plus vanilla, coins and cigars. Handmade local dolls and festive girls’ dresses caught my eye. Original watercolors were plentiful.

It seems the flea market is open every day. Everyone spoke English and accepted US dollars.

On my April visit I learned of a larger market in the rear and across the road, but it was a hot day and I had done enough walking. I assume it was a produce market.

There is another market in the port of Labadee on the mountainous northern coast of HAITI (this area was not impacted by the earthquake).

My interests lie in Haitian art. A lot of it is not worthy of a spot over the sofa, but if you take your time, chances are you can find a “masterpiece” indicative of Haitian life.

There are people who cruise but do not get off at this port. What a shame! There is much to see and do in Labadee. There’s a lot for the kids to do, too — and there’s a tram for the weary. I visited Labadee in September and November 2010.

Winnie Schall Baffa
Leland, NC

 

ECUADOR’s largest and world-renowned crafts market is in the high Andean town of Otavalo, located about 90 minutes northeast of Quito. Otavalo is deceptively large, but “market central” is easy to find. Just turn east from the highway and proceed downhill to the center of town.

Normally open at dawn daily, the square overflows on weekends with fine woolens, alpaca, cotton (surprisingly pricey), leather goods, stone art, lace, embroidery and even fine art scenes painted on animal skins.

Most guidebooks favor shopping on Sunday afternoons for the best prices, but we found any time was fine (plus some vendors pack up early Sunday afternoon).

Bargaining usually begins with locating the kind of goods you want by strolling the square, one side favoring heavy woolens, another cotton embroidery, another handicrafts and, finally, some leather goods and handcrafted jewelry.

Most merchants will quote a price at least one-third to half above the anticipated final price. When we called it the “precio gringo” (“foreigner price”), it usually brought a smile and an offer of a reduced price. Further debate determined the final price.

For example, in March ’11 a soft, high-quality, blue alpaca sweater began at nearly $40 (Ecuador is on our dollars, and they especially like Susan B. Anthonys) but ended at $21. Similar shawls in vibrant colors began in the $30s and were bought in the teens.

On that same visit, a wandering vendor with leather belts kept after me, offering larger and larger sizes. (I admit to being muy grande.) After two hours he succeeded in proudly displaying a fine belt for my girth. The price started at $40.

Following considerable cajoling and backslapping (after 15 minutes we had drawn a small, friendly crowd of vendors around us), we were amigos, and it became a matter of mutual honor that the price be fair and that I would, absolutely, take this belt home with me. In fact, he carefully rolled it, bagged it, zipped open my duffel bag of treasures and ceremoniously closed it before accepting my final offer ($21).

It was not until I returned to our hacienda and prepared to wear it to dinner that I noticed the nearly imperceptible splice, where two smaller belts had been connected with two hidden brass fittings in order to seal the sale.

I love the belt — and more so because his creative persistence paid off!

A smaller but similar artisan market, with much the same goods but a smaller selection, can be found in the Old Town of historic Cuenca, ECUADOR, but I can guarantee they do not offer a belt like mine.

Robert Cross
Silver City, NM

 

One of my favorite markets is held every Sunday in the Praça da República in the center of São Paulo, BRAZIL. There you will find carved bowls and other crafts (for example, birds made from semiprecious stones) plus old currency, antiques, art and plain old junk. There are food vendors with great street food as well.

It is a very friendly and relatively safe, open space full of people. You can get by in English, but carry Brazilian currency in small denominations for your purchases; credit cards won’t work there.

Be prepared to haggle and have a great time. I was last there over 10 years ago, but my sources say it is still going strong.

George C. Kingston
East Longmeadow, MA

 

At the Feria de Tristán Narvaja in Montevideo, URUGUAY, in May ’11, I saw everything from a stuffed barn owl to military garb, even a street sign. Many of the sellers’ wares give the impression of the contents of an emptied-out garage.

Held 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Sunday, the market is delightfully void of tourists and kitschy souvenirs (unlike the Feria San Telmo in Buenos Aires, ARGENTINA, also held every Sunday).

Prices are mostly fair and competitive, but some negotiation is required. Of course, “fair” prices also depend on how the Uruguayan peso is doing against your currency. Mine? Weak US dollars — ouch!

Dan Arrowood
Boulder, CO

 

My wife, Janna, and I are inveterate shoppers and have sought bargains in numerous countries around the world. One of the first steps in our trip planning is to go online to determine times and locations of flea markets at our travel destinations.

All of our favorites listed here feature a mixture of junk, antique furniture, jewelry and a wide of assortment other items, old and new.

For value, selection and quantity, our all-time, 30-year favorite flea market is the Mercado do las Pulgas, an entire block enclosed in a metal building in Buenos Aires, ARGENTINA, and second is the Feria de Tristán Narvaja in Montevideo, URUGUAY. We last visited these in 2008.

Our favorites visited since 2008 are the Souk al-Gouma’a (Friday market) in Cairo, EGYPT, especially the bird market section, and the daily Naschmarkt in Vienna, AUSTRIA. The former is probably not recommended for the casual tourist, but we found incredible values, particularly in old, porcelain-finished metal advertising signs and old street signs.

Norm Loeffler
New Braunfels, TX

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

Richard Lowe of Pahrump, Nevada, wrote, “When traveling, I troll markets and flea markets looking for things I can’t find in the USA, mainly antiques, art (especially prints and posters), knicknacks and small, tasteful furniture. I am especially drawn to pottery and vases.

“The flea markets in Europe are pretty well known, but I’d like to see which out-of-the way markets readers can tell us about, even on other continents. Travelers who respond should indicate how ‘pricey’ a particular market is, compared to the region’s regular retail prices, and whether it’s an everyday or a ‘weekend’ market.”

From any visit made within the last three years and outside of the US), we asked you shoppers to let us know of a flea market you found that is worth visiting. Or a handicraft market. Or a market specializing in antiques, art, furniture, etc. (But no produce markets and no Christmas markets.) We asked that, in each case, you give its location (include contact information, if available) and state approximately when you were last there, then tell what made the market worth visiting plus anything else that visitors might want to know.

Responses appear below. Have something to add? Write to Favorite Flea Markets, c/o ITN, 2116 28th St., Sacramento, CA 95818, or e-mail editor@intltravelnews.com. Include the address at which you receive ITN.

 

One of my favorite shopping venues in both the UNITED KINGDOM and SWEDEN is the charity shop. Almost every charity organization has one.

While in Pitlochry, Scotland, in May ’09, I realized I had forgotten a warm jacket. I found a great one in a charity shop. On that same trip, we stopped in Clithero, Lancashire, England, and managed to visit six shops. We also found wonderful stuff in Skipton, Yorkshire. In the UK, charity shops are well marked and usually located on the high street.

Finding charity shops in Sweden is more of a challenge. There, the best shops are run by church organizations or the Red Cross. At your hotel or B&B, ask the whereabouts of the local Salvation Army or Red Cross; that should steer you to others, many of which use the word “mission” as part of their name.

We decided to go swimming in Sweden and stopped at a charity shop in Eksjö to buy towels, which we left with our hosts afterward to save having to pack them home.

There are still a few outdoor markets left in Sweden and they usually have some stalls with flea market stuff. I’ve found good stainless-steel flatware and copper molds.

Lois Sundeen
Concord, NH

 

My all-time favorite market is Auer Dult in Munich, GERMANY, which takes place three times a year and lasts nine days each time. In 2011 it took place April 30-May 8 and July 30-Aug. 8, with the fall market Oct. 15-23. (In 2010 I was there for the 700th anniversary of the Auer Dult, which was celebrated on July 29.)

This must be the world’s largest crockery market-cum-swap meet, with a beer tent festival and close to 300 knickknack stands offering true antiques but also tons of kitsch. Most of the vendors, as well as the customers, are Bavarian.

Munich’s Auer Dult is held in the Mariahilfplatz, adjacent to the church of the same name, a couple of blocks away from the German Museum. It is easy to find (tram station: Regerplatz).

Robert Meyerhof
Los Angeles, CA

 

In Homburg, Saarland, GERMANY, the monthly Flohmarkt (website in German & French only) is the best flea market we’ve ever been to. My husband and I live about 20 kilometers away, and we try never to miss it!

Vendors come from Luxembourg, France and Germany, and there’s a good mix of professionals and antique sellers plus local folks cleaning out their garages.

You can get great deals on gray-and-blue Pfälzisch pottery, hand-embroidered linens, WWI and WWII items, old German postcards, and Villeroy & Boch dishes (the main V&B plant is not too far from there) plus antiques, local baskets and the usual flea market items.

There are many more vendors in the late spring and summer months. In June 2011, for instance, we estimated close to 1,000 sellers, but even in January there were more than 100.

The first Saturday of every month except December, it starts before 9 and goes until mid afternoon. Vendors start packing up about 2 p.m.

To get there, take the A6, exit at Homburg and follow signs to the city center/Rathaus. If you use a GPS, this is the address: 66424 Homburg, Am Forum 5.

Martha Wiley
Landstuhl, Germany

 

The Sunday morning antiques market in Zagreb, CROATIA, runs from 9 a.m. to about 2 p.m. On Oct. 3, 2010, I arrived at about 10:30 and it was busy! Not a large market, it’s very manageable.

You will find lots of antiques, lamps, WWII items, coins, books, costume jewelry and vintage clothing as well as wares by a few local artisans. There are one or two flower stalls and several cafés nearby.

The market is located at Britanski trg (British Square), on Ilica Street, just steps away from one of the shortest funiculars in the world (only 66 meters, it takes you to the heart of Zagreb’s Old Town in 55 seconds).

Esther Perica
Arlington Heights, IL

 

In Yerevan, ARMENIA, Vernissage is a huge market held behind the Republic Square metro on Nalbandyan Street, within walking distance of any place in the city center. It’s open every weekend.

Half the market is souvenirs, arts and crafts. The other half is a jungle of items so obscure and dated that you’ll wonder who in the world would buy them.

Leave your AmEx at home, but bring your camera for some truly odd shots. I was last there in 2008.

James K. Downs
Louisville, CO

 

My favorite flea market is Izmaylovo in Moscow, RUSSIA. Whenever I’m in the city, I try to visit this open-air market for Russian handicrafts. The prices, if you bargain (go for at least 10% off), are well below those anywhere else.

My latest purchase, in May ’11, was a set of nesting dolls for $110, 90% below the airport price for a similar set ($1,000). You can find nesting dolls depicting the latest American sports team players, both college and pro. A good find was a set featuring President Clinton with all of his mistresses.

There are antiques and art there, but beware: a few vendors will try to pass off copies as the real thing.

Food vendors are located in a structure that looks like a cross between a wooden fortress and a fairy-tale castle.

Take the Arbatsko-Pokrovskaya Metro line to the Ismaylovsky Park stop.

Bill Altaffer
San Diego, CA

 

I have been visiting Jaffa’s Flea Market, or Shuk HaPishpeshim, in Tel Aviv every year for the past 35 years, on each trip I make to ISRAEL. East of and within walking distance of the clock tower, it’s amazing. The vendors are both first and second generation from Morocco, Tunisia, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Yemen, etc.

While we love visiting Morocco and Tunisia, what I find so fascinating about the Jaffa Flea Market is it’s the only chance I probably will ever have to “deal” with Jews from Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Syria and many other countries.

It’s fun joking with them, being offered tea or soft drinks and just being welcomed and chatting. It’s NOT hard sell, and there is much to learn about their countries and the products they have. Here are some of things you’ll find there.

  • Wonderfully colorful clothing from India and Nepal.
  • Exquisite handmade tiles from Iran plus a number that are copied by Iranian Jews in Israel.
  • Beautifully fashioned metal menorahs for the wall, copied from ancient ones.
  • Inscribed antique Arab seals surrounded by silver, usually reading “Bismillah” (“In the Name of Allah”).
  • Druze woven small rugs and table runners.
  • Old-fashioned European lamps and furniture.
  • If you are an antique-postcard collector, as I am, this is a good place to find them.

If you go, ask for Reuben’s shop. Reuben is a mild-mannered gentleman who has prices that rarely require haggling over. He sells hand-painted ceramics in the Turkish style and lots of Turkoman silver jewelry.

When you get tired, there are small cafés to stop and sit at for a rest and a drink.

All of the vendors at the Jaffa Flea Market are Jewish, and I would say that most became Israeli citizens after suffering anti-Semitism in other countries. On each trip to Israel I also visit the shuk in Jerusalem, which is a solely Arab bazaar. And the bazaar in the Old City of Daliat El-Carmel (outside of Haifa), which I also go to, has solely Israeli Druze vendors.

All three offer wonderful items and lots of fun in bargaining. I can’t wait to return to Israel this year.

Stephanie Comfort
Richardson, TX

 

My favorite flea market is in Puerto Limón, COSTA RICA. Some of the cruise ships stop there. I have been to the market, located at the end of the pier, three times now (most recently in April ’11) and recommend it to everyone I speak to on my cruises. When you exit the gangway, turn right and you will see it.

The first two times I went, I didn’t have much time to explore. The first time was after the fun but exhausting day-long Del Monte banana plantation tour. The second time, I had been on a coffee bean tour. On my the third stop at the port, I planned nothing else for the entire day and was able to spend hours going from booth to booth, admiring the hand-carved rosewood items. I purchased a walking stick; bargaining saved me $5.

There was silver jewelry that was unusual in design and affordable. I also saw Costa Rican coffee plus vanilla, coins and cigars. Handmade local dolls and festive girls’ dresses caught my eye. Original watercolors were plentiful.

It seems the flea market is open every day. Everyone spoke English and accepted US dollars.

On my April visit I learned of a larger market in the rear and across the road, but it was a hot day and I had done enough walking. I assume it was a produce market.

There is another market in the port of Labadee on the mountainous northern coast of HAITI (this area was not impacted by the earthquake).

My interests lie in Haitian art. A lot of it is not worthy of a spot over the sofa, but if you take your time, chances are you can find a “masterpiece” indicative of Haitian life.

There are people who cruise but do not get off at this port. What a shame! There is much to see and do in Labadee. There’s a lot for the kids to do, too — and there’s a tram for the weary. I visited Labadee in September and November 2010.

Winnie Schall Baffa
Leland, NC

 

ECUADOR’s largest and world-renowned crafts market is in the high Andean town of Otavalo, located about 90 minutes northeast of Quito. Otavalo is deceptively large, but “market central” is easy to find. Just turn east from the highway and proceed downhill to the center of town.

Normally open at dawn daily, the square overflows on weekends with fine woolens, alpaca, cotton (surprisingly pricey), leather goods, stone art, lace, embroidery and even fine art scenes painted on animal skins.

Most guidebooks favor shopping on Sunday afternoons for the best prices, but we found any time was fine (plus some vendors pack up early Sunday afternoon).

Bargaining usually begins with locating the kind of goods you want by strolling the square, one side favoring heavy woolens, another cotton embroidery, another handicrafts and, finally, some leather goods and handcrafted jewelry.

Most merchants will quote a price at least one-third to half above the anticipated final price. When we called it the “precio gringo” (“foreigner price”), it usually brought a smile and an offer of a reduced price. Further debate determined the final price.

For example, in March ’11 a soft, high-quality, blue alpaca sweater began at nearly $40 (Ecuador is on our dollars, and they especially like Susan B. Anthonys) but ended at $21. Similar shawls in vibrant colors began in the $30s and were bought in the teens.

On that same visit, a wandering vendor with leather belts kept after me, offering larger and larger sizes. (I admit to being muy grande.) After two hours he succeeded in proudly displaying a fine belt for my girth. The price started at $40.

Following considerable cajoling and backslapping (after 15 minutes we had drawn a small, friendly crowd of vendors around us), we were amigos, and it became a matter of mutual honor that the price be fair and that I would, absolutely, take this belt home with me. In fact, he carefully rolled it, bagged it, zipped open my duffel bag of treasures and ceremoniously closed it before accepting my final offer ($21).

It was not until I returned to our hacienda and prepared to wear it to dinner that I noticed the nearly imperceptible splice, where two smaller belts had been connected with two hidden brass fittings in order to seal the sale.

I love the belt — and more so because his creative persistence paid off!

A smaller but similar artisan market, with much the same goods but a smaller selection, can be found in the Old Town of historic Cuenca, ECUADOR, but I can guarantee they do not offer a belt like mine.

Robert Cross
Silver City, NM

 

One of my favorite markets is held every Sunday in the Praça da República in the center of São Paulo, BRAZIL. There you will find carved bowls and other crafts (for example, birds made from semiprecious stones) plus old currency, antiques, art and plain old junk. There are food vendors with great street food as well.

It is a very friendly and relatively safe, open space full of people. You can get by in English, but carry Brazilian currency in small denominations for your purchases; credit cards won’t work there.

Be prepared to haggle and have a great time. I was last there over 10 years ago, but my sources say it is still going strong.

George C. Kingston
East Longmeadow, MA

 

At the Feria de Tristán Narvaja in Montevideo, URUGUAY, in May ’11, I saw everything from a stuffed barn owl to military garb, even a street sign. Many of the sellers’ wares give the impression of the contents of an emptied-out garage.

Held 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Sunday, the market is delightfully void of tourists and kitschy souvenirs (unlike the Feria San Telmo in Buenos Aires, ARGENTINA, also held every Sunday).

Prices are mostly fair and competitive, but some negotiation is required. Of course, “fair” prices also depend on how the Uruguayan peso is doing against your currency. Mine? Weak US dollars — ouch!

Dan Arrowood
Boulder, CO

 

My wife, Janna, and I are inveterate shoppers and have sought bargains in numerous countries around the world. One of the first steps in our trip planning is to go online to determine times and locations of flea markets at our travel destinations.

All of our favorites listed here feature a mixture of junk, antique furniture, jewelry and a wide of assortment other items, old and new.

For value, selection and quantity, our all-time, 30-year favorite flea market is the Mercado do las Pulgas, an entire block enclosed in a metal building in Buenos Aires, ARGENTINA, and second is the Feria de Tristán Narvaja in Montevideo, URUGUAY. We last visited these in 2008.

Our favorites visited since 2008 are the Souk al-Gouma’a (Friday market) in Cairo, EGYPT, especially the bird market section, and the daily Naschmarkt in Vienna, AUSTRIA. The former is probably not recommended for the casual tourist, but we found incredible values, particularly in old, porcelain-finished metal advertising signs and old street signs.

Norm Loeffler
New Braunfels, TX