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23 of the Best Food Markets in Europe Worth Traveling For

Read about the best food markets in Europe. Learn about 23 European food markets. These cities have farmers markets and food halls worth visiting for.
Visiting food markets in Europe is one of our favorite activities to include in a weekend city break. Food memories of the cities that we visit always seem to linger the longest.  

I often think back to those perfect pasteis de nata and coffee in Lisbon, pain au chocolat at a little local boulangerie in Paris on Valentine's day, the laugenbrezels tasted on a weekend in Frankfurt, or the octopus stew with a carafe of wine that cost just a few euro in Tavira, Portugal discovered on a winter weekend in the Algarve.

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. Read on to explore 23 European cities and smaller places that are worth visiting for their fabulous food halls and markets alone.
Best food markets in Europe: old-fashioned scale and grapes at Riga Central Market

1. Best Curated European Food Market in Portugal: Time Out Market in Lisbon

Time Out Market in Lisbon is probably one of the most famous food halls in Europe. Before you head inside, take some time to admire the surrounding street art. This neighborhood of Lisbon definitely looks like it's undergoing a regeneration. 

Time Out market is a curated food experience. There are over 40 different stalls, all hand selected and hand curated by a professional editorial panel.

Be prepared to endure crowds if you go at a popular time. We visited around noon on a Sunday and nearly every seat was taken. We were fortunate to be able to get a place to sit. We did an initial lap of Time Out Market to see what was on offer. 

Timeout Market in Lisbon Portugal

Then I went to stake out a place to sit and my partner went to find us something to eat. This is a good strategy, You don't want to order your food and then get stuck without a place to sit. 

In general, the food stalls are around the outer edge of the market, and there are some drink stalls in the center. If you care for a port cocktail, an Aperol spritz or a glass of wine, Time Out Market has you covered. Beware that the prices at Lisbon's Time Out market are high but the food quality and curated experience makes it worth the price. 

We opted for lunch from Sea Me, a lovely seafood restaurant. We tried a somewhat gimmicky octopus hot dog which comes with freshly made potato chips and choco frito (fried cuttlefish) prepared in a black squid ink tempura. 

Time Out Market shares space with a traditional Portuguese mercado. Venture over to that side of the market for fresh local produce, meat, fish and more.

2. Best Mercado in Madeira: Mercados dos Lavradores

Let's continue our tour of Portugal's food markets, but head to the islands this time. More specifically, we're going to visit Mercados dos Lavradores in Funchal on Madeira.

Mercados dos Lavradores is a bustling fish and produce market. Keep an eye out for local fruit including many different kinds of maracujá (passion fruit). 

Passion Fruit display at Mercados dos Lavradores European food hall in Funchal Madeira

Be prepared to be tempted with some sweet samples. Feel free to indulge, but you'll very likely walk away with a sack of fruit. 

Beware that passion fruit can be quite pricy (some varieties may cost 20 EUR per kilogram). Fortunately, passion fruit is not a very heavy fruit, so you can sample some maracujás without racking up too high of a bill. 

3. Best Food Markets in France (1/3): 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 for Carnival 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

4. Best Food Markets in France (2/3): 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 at this European food hall, lingering over a delicious three course menu (with wine of course!).  
Best Food Markets in France - Marché Victor Hugo - Toulouse

5. Best Food Markets in France (3/3): Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse

Since I love European food markets, we made a beeline to find Halles Paul Bocuse immediately after we arrived in Lyon for a 3 day weekend. Even thought it was just mid-morning, people were already shoulder to shoulder enjoying a glass of wine. 

We strolled around the market admiring lovely brioche, giant sausages and a variety of stalls preparing lunch. 

Collage of sweets, meats, and cheeses at Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse

The seafood stall was definitely pungent and bracing. We were tempted by delectable rounds of cheese and picked up a circle of goats' cheese to spread on a fresh-baked baguette. 

Pralines (red candied nuts) are very popular in Lyon and you'll find pralines incorporated into a variety of decadent treats at Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse.

Lyon is also known for coussins. I think of coussins like American fig newtons with a pate de fruit filling. Pick up an assortment of coussins to enjoy later before heading out to explore Lyon.

6. Best European Food Hall in the Netherlands

Rotterdam's Markthal is a world-class European food market. The food hall itself is an impressive architectural achievement. 

Two sides are made of glass to flood the space with light. Rotterdam Markthal has apartments running up and over the structure and a delightful food-themed mural inside. 

Homemade stroopwafel at Rotterdam Markthal

I'd love to have the chance to live here. I think I'd come to the market every day for lunch; it's a great place to grab something to eat.

The homemade Dutch stroopwafels (hot waffles filled with a thick syrup) really caught our eye and seemed like the perfect winter in Rotterdam treat.

7. 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

8. Best European Food Market in the Basque Country: Mercado de la Ribera in Bilbao

Mercado de la Ribera in Bilbao is worth visiting for the architecture alone; definitely a photoworthy structure. It's even better if you go hungry and in the mood for some Bilbao food

Bilbao is most definitely a foodie destination. You'll find plenty of pintxos (Basque tapas) in a covered food market hall. Browse the options and pick up the small bite (or two!) that catches your eye. Enjoy your pintxos (perhaps with a glass of Txakoli wine served with flair) in Mercado de la Ribera's communal seating area.

Pintxos at Mercado de la Ribera in Bilbao

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

We visited Riga for a 3 day weekend city break. 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

10. Best Food Markets in Ireland (1/2): The English Market in Cork

Despite the tortured history between Ireland and England, the food hall in Cork is called The English Market and is one of the top things to do in Cork City.  

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

SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: West Cork is one of the top foodie destinations in Ireland. Leave Cork City behind and enjoy food from the source.

11. Best Food Markets in Ireland (2/2): The Milk Market in Limerick

A weekend break in Limerick City is the perfect excuse to visit Limerick's top attraction: the historic Milk Market. 

Upon arrival, it became clear that Limerick's Milk Market is the place to be on a Saturday morning! 

Shop for local produce and meats plus browse for products like souvenir candles and jams. There is something for everyone at the Limerick Milk Market.

"The Cure" hangover sandwich at The Milk Market in Limerick Ireland

You'll also find all manner of great food prepared to order at Limerick's Milk Market. We tried "The Cure" from the Country Choice Stall. "The Cure" was a sandwich filled with sausage, black and white pudding, and a fried egg. 

This sandwich does what the name says. It is definitely a great cure for a hangover induced by a wild Friday night out in Limerick.

12. 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

13. 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

14. Best Food Market in Malta: The Sunday Fish Market at Marsaxlokk

The famous Sunday market in the town of Marsaxlokk on the island of Malta runs all along the waterfront. Take the bus from Valletta to Marsaxlokk for an unforgettable day out.

We detoured away from the water to have a a look at the foods on offer. A large, jumbled pile of broad beans tempted passersby as did ripe strawberries selling for just 1.00 EUR per tub. 

Fishing boats and fishing nets in Marsaxlokk Malta

This outdoor European food market focuses on fish. All kinds of fish were on display including jumbo prawns. An enormous swordfish was being dissected and sold as we looked on. 

The Sunday fish market is the perfect excuse to visit picturesque Marsaxlokk on a weekend in Malta itinerary and take photos of the gorgeous, brightly colored boats moored in the harbour.

15. 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 in December for Christmas / New Year's Eve, we stocked up on supplies at Naschmarkt.  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

16. 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 (definitely one of our favorite things to do in Hamburg!)  

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

17. Best European Food Market 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

18. Best European Food Hall in Denmark: Torvehaller Markethall in Copenhagen's Norrebro Quarter

Copenhagen's Torvehaller Markethall is a great example of a European food hall. Torvehaller Markethall lit up the surrounding Norrebro quarter and was hard to miss. 

We found all manner of Danish treats inside the market include strange glass boules that looked like they belonged in a science experiment. They were standing at the ready to tap artisanal oils and vinegars for the local customers. 

Torvehaller Markethall in Copenhagen's Norrebro Quarter lit up at night

We visited Copenhagen in winter and there were huge displays of pine cones for those planning on making do-it-yourself Christmas decorations. We learned that foodies also buy pine cones to harvest the pine nuts themselves! 

We took a break at a stall selling homemade pastries. The Danish pastry was delicious but I was definitely tempted to go for seconds and try a really fresh looking apple crumble.

This notion of extreme freshness was reinforced by the ripe apples strewn on the counter.  Fortunately, we managed to resist temptation. My waistline and arteries definitely thanked me even if my tongue and stomach did not.

We made our way to the other side of the market which featured savory Smørrebrød and fresh fish; an ideal option if you have a savory tooth rather than a sweet tooth.

19. Best Food Market in Poland: Hala Targowa in Wroclaw

Hala Targowa in Wroclaw is my favorite European foot market in Poland. When I visited for a Saturday lunch on a Wroclaw winter weekend break, the place was abuzz with vendors and customers doing their weekly shopping. 

I ate at the cafe on site where I enjoyed an inexpensive meal of ruskie pierogi, compote, and a 'bouquet' of salads. I even picked up some cookies and a handpainted souvenir dish to bring home to my partner.

You'll find everything you need for a great meal and more at Hala Targowa in Wroclaw. 

Hala Targowa in Wroclaw Poland viewed from above

20. Best Farmers Market in Greece: Nafplio's Wednesday Market

Greece is a great place for an outdoor market. Talk a walk through the sun-drenched Farmers Market in Nafplio (about a 2 hour drive from Athens) which takes place on Wednesdays. Explore overflowing piles of fruit, vegetables, fish, and more along 25is Martiou. 

Strawberries and oranges at the farmers market in Nafplio Greece

We bought oranges and strawberries as a healthy treat. It cost 1.70 EUR for a half kilo of strawberries and 0.60 EUR for 4 oranges. Hopefully the great prices will incentivize healthy food choices on your Greek holiday in Nafplio.

21. 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

22. Best Food Market in England: Borough Market

Borough Market is one of my favorite things to do near Tower Bridge in London. Borough Market is incredibly popular, so go early on a Saturday morning to avoid the crowds. 

Start the day with a flat white at the Colombian Coffee Company. Pick up coconut cardamom cashew butter and almond cashew nut butter from Butter Nut of London. This nut butter can turn a breakfast porridge savory or can be used to make sauces for a proper satay.

Borough Market sells all kinds of foods, flowers, and crafts. The fruits and vegetables were overflowing the tables. You can easily spend a few hours getting lost among the stalls in Borough Market. Definitely come hungry! 

Borough Market, one of the Best European Food Halls in the UK

23. Best Alternative-to-a-Food Market: 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.  Brick Lane is one of my top picks for things to do around Tower Bridge on a London workcation.
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. 

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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: 23 of the Best Food Markets in Europe Worth Traveling For
23 of the Best Food Markets in Europe Worth Traveling For
Read about the best food markets in Europe. Learn about 23 European food markets. These cities have farmers markets and food halls worth visiting for.
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