August 20, 2011

Gotta Love Flea Markets

If there’s one thing that people all over the world have in common, it’s their appreciation of a good bargain—and with the warm weather fast approaching, the masses are sure to be heading out to open-air markets in their quest for just that. We wanted to give you a head start on your search, which is why we’ve scoured the globe to find the greatest international destinations for scoring great deals. From the best place to buy kimonos in Kyoto to where to find unbelievable deals on hand-made linens in Lisbon, read on to discover why deal-hunting translates well in every language.

Petticoat Lane Flea Market – London, England

Located in the center of the garment district in London, this outdoor market is well known as a place to find great deals on clothing for the whole family. A popular shopping destination since the 1700s, the market is still known as the Petticoat Lane Flea Market, even though the street was renamed Middlesex Street in 1846 to avoid being associated with women’s undergarments. Photo Courtesy of yisris /

Green Point Flea Market – Cape Town, South Africa

When all the other shops in Cape Town are closed on Sundays, you can wander over to the parking area of the Green Point Stadium to find bargains at the vast flea market set up there. What started as a one-man stall peddling Boerewors rolls (traditional sausage sandwiches) has grown into a lively marketplace where you can find deals on traditional artwork, clothing, curios and music. Photo Courtesy of Brian Snelson /

El Rastro de Madrid – Madrid, Spain

Spain’s most famous flea market spans 10 city blocks and includes over 3500 stalls offering bags, textiles, clothes, crafts and artwork. The name El Rastro means “the trail,” and is thought to have originated from the trail of blood left by animals that were transported from the slaughterhouse to the tannery. Besides all of the great bargains, this market is best known for the men who peddle waffles dressed in chulapos, or traditional garb from Madrid. Photo Courtesy of Sylvain Bourdos /

Izmailovsky Souvenir Market – Moscow, Russia

Surrounded by a mock wooden fortress, the Izmailovsky Souvenir Market is the best place to buy everyone’s favorite Russian souvenir: the Matryoshka or nesting doll. Its name originates from the nearby Izmailovo Royal Estate, which was a country retreat for Peter the Great during his childhood. Photo Courtesy of Rich Bowen /

The Rocks Weekend Market – Sydney, Australia

The Rocks is a historical district located at the foot of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and is one of the oldest areas of the city. Every Saturday and Sunday, vendors sell their wares under triangular tents, which some say mimic the design of the nearby Sydney Opera House. Established in 1991, the flea market is the 3rd most visited site in Sydney and sells ceramics, linens, furniture, artwork and jewelry. Photo Courtesy of Gillian.MClaughlin /

Panjiayuan Market – Beijing, China

In the early days, this market was called a ghost market—another name for a black market—and was located in the narrow alleys of the city because trading among citizens was forbidden. It later moved to a dirt field south of the railroad tracks, which earned it the affectionate nickname of the Dirt Market. Since then, the market has been legalized and the over 3000 stalls of pottery, furniture, jewelry, antiques and art is housed in government-built structures.Photo Courtesy of Grace E. Lee copyright @2009 /

Feira da Ladra – Lisbon, Portugal

The name of this market roughly translates to Thieves Market, which hints at the fact that not all of the wares historically sold at the market were on the up and up. However, from its nefarious beginnings in 1882, the market evolved into a shopper’s dream destination for finding bargains on gorgeous handmade linens and crafts. Photo Courtesy of Suzie Blackman /

Rose Bowl Flea Market – Pasadena, CA

Ranked by The Wall Street Journal as one of the top five antique markets in North America, the Rose Bowl Flea Market has over five miles of booths for shoppers to peruse in their quest to find vintage gems. For over 40 years, the market has been held on the second Sunday of every month and has been frequented by all-star bargain hunters like Clint Eastwood, Whoopi Goldberg, Madonna, Cher and Gwen Stefani. Photo Courtesy of Hilary McHone /

Marche aux Puces St-Ouen de Clignancourt – Paris, France

This famous flea market in the City of Lights has been around since 1885 and later became the first covered market in Paris. With over 2,500 stalls peddling antiques, clothes, crafts, furniture and art, the market is busiest on weekends, but the best bargains can be found on Mondays—just make sure you brush up on your French. Photo Courtesy of Jori Avlis /

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