Flea markets are places for great deals and unearthing some one-of-a-kind treasures that is sure to make your trip to Europe all the more special. European flea markets are known for a bit of everything from jewelry to handmade edibles. For connoisseurs of times past, you will also find vintage flea markets filled with flea market antiques that can be bought at great prices.
Braderie de Lille Flea Market
An hour’s ride away from Paris by the TGV, the quaint town of Lille in France has the biggest flea market in Europe – the Braderie de Lille Flea Market. An annual event that lasts two days, the “Braderie” (French for “sell at a low price”) flea market attracts over 10,000 sellers. Dating back to the medieval times, this French flea market attracts more than two million visitors every September.
Portobello Road Flea Market
The Portobello Road Flea Market in Notting Hill, London is a gigantic crowd puller every Saturday, though you will find shops open from Monday to Friday. With more than 2,000 exhibitors on Saturday, this is one of the top flea markets in Europe with a bohemian vibe. You are likely to find everything from Limoges to exotic culinary ingredients in this place where you can shop and wind down with something to eat after you are done.
IJ-Hallen and Waterlooplein Flea Markets
Amsterdam’s most famous flea market has to be the Waterlooplein. The Amsterdam flea market is open six days a week and houses everything you can possibly imagine from vintage garments to old cameras. But if you would like to discover hidden gems in Amsterdam, then head to the IJ-Hallen in Noord, which is the largest flea market in the Netherlands and one of the biggest in Europe.
Waterloo Flea Market
The Waterloo Flea Market of Belgium is held on Saturdays in the parking space of the Carrefour supermarket. Other names that this flea market goes by are “La Brocante du Biggs”, “Brocante Château Cheval”, “Brocante du Carrefour”, “Brocante de Waterloo”, or “Brocante du Lion”. If the historic battlefield doesn’t get you to visit the area, consider the 300 flea market booths packed with goodies for bargain hunters.
The Antiques Market/Flea Market in Arezzo
At the heart of Tuscany lies the ancient city of Arezzo in Italy, with Roman buildings, medieval Piero della Francesca murals and Renaissance architecture. This town is a great attraction for art enthusiasts, but every month on the first weekend, the Piazza Grande is an antique lover’s paradise. The Arezzo flea market offers paintings, bric-a-brac and Roman coins.
El Rastro Flea Market
More often going by the name “el Rastro”, this is the popular open air flea market in Madrid, Spain. This flea market is situated along Plaza de Cascorro and Ribera de Curtidores, between Calle Embajadores and the Ronda de Toledo. Regulated by the Madrid town council, this market has 3,500 stalls hawking their wares new and old. By municipal discretion, this market is held every Sunday and public holiday of the year, from 9 am to 3 pm, in the barrio de Embajadores (‘Ambassador’s neighborhood).
Munich Flea Market
Munich is always happening – if it’s not the Oktoberfest, the Theresienwiese grounds house the Munich flea market is one of the top flea markets in Europe. This humongous flea market sets up during the Munich “Frühjahrsfest” (the first Saturday of the Spring Festival of Munich, in April). With around 3,000 exhibitors that pull in crowds of 80,000 from all over Europe. Thrifters who love flea market merchandise will delight in the great selection of militaria, home appliances, electronic, antiques, etc.
Cormano Flea Market
The Cormano Flea Market near Milan is open every Saturday at 7.30am and winds up by lunchtime (2 p.m.). With 150 stalls that make up this treasure hunter’s cove, you will also find great deals on what the area is famous for since the 14th century: silk. Here is the most beautiful market for vintage silk fabric in Europe as well as household goods, glass and silver and whatnot!