Best Food Markets in Europe: Twelve Farmers Markets and Food Halls Worth Visiting For

Best food markets in Europe: old-fashioned scale and grapes at Riga Central Market
Visiting food markets in Europe is one of our favorite activities to include in a weekend city break. Food memories of the cities we visit always seem to linger the longest.  I often think back to the perfect coffee and pain au chocolat we had at a little local boulangerie in Paris, the laugenbrezels in Frankfurt, or the octopus stew with a carafe of wine that cost just a few euro in Tavira, Portugal.  It should be no surprise then that we love visiting farmers' markets and food halls when we travel.  I've compiled this list of the best food markets in Europe that we’ve encountered in our travels featuring 12 European cities that are worth visiting for their fabulous food halls alone.

Best Food Markets in France (1/2): Cours Saleya in Nice

Located just a short distance from the sea, Cours Saleya in Nice features all your favorite French foods including crusty baguettes and goat's cheese with a healthy dose of brioche mixed in.  The market is also famous for socca, a type of thin, unleavened crêpe made from chickpea flour.  We rented an apartment when we visited Nice and enjoyed shopping for dinner supplies at the food market and then going back to cook ourselves a lovely fresh meal.
Best Food Markets in France - Cours Saleya - Nice

Best Food Markets in France (2/2): Victor Hugo Market In Toulouse

One of our favorite food markets in Europe is the Marché Victor Hugo in Toulouse.  In addition to the usual fare (huge coils of local sausage, delicious breads, and decadent cakes), there is also a restaurant hall upstairs.  It seems that most locals while away a Sunday afternoon here lingering over a delicious three course menu (with wine of course!).  
Best Food Markets in France - Marché Victor Hugo - Toulouse

Best Food Market in Barcelona: La Boqueria

Located just off Las Ramblas, La Boqueria in Barcelona is a riot of colors and sound.  Fresh produce, juices, and sweets are of course on offer.  I remember also being jarred when I suddenly rounded a corner and stood face to face (literally) with a skinned goat's head.  You can find anything and everything in this large covered market hall.
The Best Food Market in Barcelona Spain - La Boqueria

Best Food Market in the Baltic Countries: Riga Central Market in Latvia

Riga Central Market is located in a former airplane hangar.  The setting is what makes this food market truly special.  On certain days, the goods on offer spill out of the building and all around outside.  Riga Central Market is located a bit away from the center of town but is definitely worth stopping by.  Seeing grapes weighed out on an old-fashioned scale made me smile.
Best food markets in Europe: Riga Central Market

Best Food Market in Ireland: The English Market in Cork

Despite the tortured history between Ireland and England, the food hall in Cork is called The English Market.  Situated in an old Victorian building, you can find a bit of everything (including hardware and such).  There is a small restaurant on the second floor that is worth stopping into for a bit of pie and custard while doing a spot of people-watching.  
The Best Food Market in Ireland: The English Market in Cork

Best Food Market in Hungary: Central Market Hall in Budapest

The Central Market Hall in Budapest can be a bit dark and feels like a hold-over from the communist era but that's just part of its charm. Grab a strudel packed with fruit and a glass of tokaji (the local sweet wine) and you're set for the afternoon.  
Best Food Markets in Europe: Central Market Hall in Budapest, Hungary

Best Farmers Markets in Italy: Piazza delle Erbe and Piazza della Frutta Market in Padua

Padua is an easy day trip to Venice and it's worth going on market days.  The town turns into an almost continuous strip of vendors and it's easy to shop for hours.  I recall sampling some of the sweetest tangerines I've ever tasted while standing next to a burbling Italian fountain.  Fantastic memories!
Best Farmers Markets in Italy: Outdoor Food Markets in Padua

Best Food Market in Austria: Naschmarkt in Vienna

Slicing through the heart of the city and surrounded on either side by luxury apartment buildings, Naschmarkt in Vienna is magical to behold (particularly in the winter with a light dusting of snow; the market stays open year round).  When we stayed in Vienna for Christmas / New Year's Eve, we stocked up on supplies at the market.  The falafel and dips we brought back to our apartment rental made for a delicious and healthy dinner.  Shopping at the market and renting an apartment also helped us pretend we were locals for those two weeks.
Best food market in Austria: Naschmarkt in Vienna

Best Sunday Market in Europe: Fischmarkt in Hamburg, Germany

Every Sunday morning, the Fischmarkt takes over the banks of the Elbe in Hamburg, Germany.  The market is huge and fascinating to wander around.  We saw old ladies bidding for bags of goods off the back of a truck, the dancing coffee man, and fishmongers aggressively pushing their product.  We managed to get a bag of 18 plums for a euro (wow!).  Definitely try a backfisch (fried fish sandwich).  There is no better breakfast in Hamburg after a late night out.
Best Sunday market in Europe: Fischmarkt in Hamburg, Germany

Best Food Hall in Germany: Die Kleinmarkthalle in Frankfurt

Another gem of a market hall in Germany is Die Kleinmarkthalle in Frankfurt.  Shop for produce, tea, and nuts; have a hipster coffee; and then get above it all on the second floor for a glass of Germany Riesling.
Best Food Hall in Germany: Die Kleinmarkthalle in Frankfurt

Best Food Hall in the UK: St. George's Market in Belfast, Northern Ireland

We love St. George's Market in Belfast.  It's tucked away in a lovely brick Victorian building.  In addition to local jams and cakes, international fare, crafts, and produce, the market also features live jazz on Saturday mornings.  St. George's Market, simply put, has a fantastic vibe.
Best Food Hall in the UK: St. George's Market in Belfast

Best Alternative to a Food Market in the UK: Brick Lane in London

This last recommendation is a bit of an unconventional choice.  Brick Lane isn't a Farmers Market or Food Hall in itself but rather a vibrant street in London's Shoreditch neighborhood lined with fantastic Indian, Pakistani, and other ethnic cuisine.  On weekends, outdoor stalls sell jerk chicken from steel drums, fresh squeezed juice and more.  We also wandered into a street food market featuring at least 10 vendors serving up food from around the world, from Burmese, to Ethiopian, to Venezuelan.  There are also a surprising number of crafts markets on Brick Lane, many featuring additional options for food and sweet treats.  
Best Food Market in the UK: Brick Lane in London
I could have easily extended this list of the best food markets in Europe with several more choices (there are so many fantastic food halls and farmers markets in Europe!) but I think I'll close here.  What food markets in Europe have you visited that you think justify a trip if only to tempt your taste buds?

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Best Food Markets in Europe: 12 cities to visit because of their food halls and farmers markets
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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: Best Food Markets in Europe: Twelve Farmers Markets and Food Halls Worth Visiting For
Best Food Markets in Europe: Twelve Farmers Markets and Food Halls Worth Visiting For
Read about the best food markets in Europe. Learn about 12 European destinations with farmers markets and food halls worth visiting for.
Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog
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