Albert Cuyp Market began in 1904, along a wide street in the area of Amsterdam called De Pijp, just a five minute bike ride south of the city center.
It has 300 stalls, from cheap chic clothing to fresh fish, from bike accessories to huge amounts of flowers (10 roses for 5 Euros. Guys - it's never been cheaper to buy your way out of trouble).
It's a classic outdoor market, with various vendors barking out their specials all day while locals and tourists amble along and scarf down a fresh stroopwafel (thin syrup waffle) or fries. What it lacks in aesthetics - cheap-looking stalls atop dark grey gum-imprinted asphalt - it makes up for in products and in characters.
I personally get to experience the best and the worst of it. The best being tons of fresh, quality food about 90 seconds walk from my door, one street north of Albert Cuypstraat. This also includes the roasted chicken dripping off the spit, and the butcher who always has a spare bit of smoked turkey for our dog.
Tied for the tops are the people. The characters are real-life, seasoned market-hawkers - mostly very friendly, some gruff, always authentic and fair (this is not one of those markets where you haggle). They'll switch to speaking English in a second too. The old salty dogs selling an awesome variety of fish look like they caught it themselves that morning, and a faulty bike lock is replaced right away. You never feel jobbed (ahem, Istanbul and Barcelona markets - looking at you here).
The worst? The clattering fish and flower trolleys at 5:30 in the morning as they get set up for the day ahead, 6 days a week (the market is closed on Sundays). Ear plugs are a must for this time of day if you sleep anywhere near the market.
And the trash - the street is remarkably clean after 7pm as the city cleaning crews sweep it all up, but between 5 and 7 you can't imagine the heaps of trash and heaps of stink. (Of course, time your trip right at the end of the day and snag deals like 10 kiwis for 1.50Euros, and the stink is less than you think).
The next day, from a blank, flat slate, it rises all over again from the pavement. This is one of those places that you can't experience in many parts of the world.
Albert Cuypstraat, Amsterdam, Netherlands
+31 20 201 8800
Google map: bit.ly/u1lhTR
* Jeff is our Been there local for Amsterdam. You can read his profile here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/articles/amsterdam-local-jeff-funnekotter.jsp and follow his tips here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/travellers/jefffunnekotter
Google map: bit.ly/pO3GJS
One of the best organic farmer's markets I've ever been to. Amazing cheese, bread, vegetable stalls, even a stall selling all sorts of mushrooms in season (bought some chanterelles and a black truffle last time). Smoked mozzarellas, huge focaccias, stunning veg - a truly superb market. 9am - 4pm Saturdays (the rest of the week it's a flea market).
Noordermarkt is in the shadow of Noorderkerk, about 10 minutes' walk from Centraal Station, on the edge of the Jordaan district.
If you visit between March and May, try to bring home some tulips from the floating Flower Market on the Singel canal.
You can get a huge bunch of fifty blooms for the price of a dozen in the UK. If you are interested in gardening the range of other bulbs on offer will also fascinate.
Visit the Bloemenveiling, only 12 miles from Amsterdam in Aalsmeer. It is a terrific sight - flowers as far as the eye can see and if you go early, you can watch the Dutch auctions as bidders purchase their, literally, train-loads of flowers and plants. A spectacular sight not to be missed.
If you like vintage clothes and accessories, you’ll love Amsterdam. The best places to go for second-hand bits and pieces are:
Noordermarkt: on Mondays the Noordermarkt in the Jordaan, one of Amsterdam’s most authentic areas, is filled with stalls selling vintage clothes and accessories like bags, shoes, belts and jewellery from the sixties, seventies and eighties.
Noordermarkt; tram 6, 7 or 10
Waterlooplein: More vintage shopping at the Waterlooplein, a ten minute walk from the Rembrandtplein, bustling with merchants six days a week. Definitely the place to go when you’re looking for leather jackets, fur coats, jeans, or home ware from grandma’s era.
Waterlooplein; metro 51, 53, 54 or tram 9
Zipper: If you’re more into indoor than outdoor shopping, one of the best places for fashionable vintage is Zipper. The checked blouses and oversized baseball shirts are men’s favourites, women like everything at Zipper.
Zipper; Huidenstraat 7, 1016 ER Amsterdam (0031-20-6237302) and Nieuwe Hoogstraat 10, 1011 HE Amsterdam (20 623 70353)
Laura Dols: A no-go area for men, but women will love this shop. You’ll enjoy browsing the dresses and skirts they sell at Laura Dols. From the thirties all the way up to the eighties; if Marilyn Monroe were still alive, she would be shopping here.
Laura Dols; Wolvenstraat 6-7, 1016 EM Amsterdam (20 624 9066)
Send your feedback or queries to email@example.com