Come early (especially at weekends) to get a seat at one of south London's best Thai cafes.
Located at the open Coldharbour Lane end, the bistro spills out into the sunshine and can stay open after the market traders have long since shut up shop and gone home. Great Thai flavours.
1 Granville Arcade, Brixton Village, London SW9 8PR
+44 207 095 8922
Nearest tube: Victoria line to Brixton, buses 3, 35, 133, 159
Google map: bit.ly/nkW5Dn
Stop for a lunchtime sandwich at Mustachio, known throughout the city for its famous Italian-style sandwiches: generous portions of veal drenched in tomato sauce and parmiggiano reggiano, with layers of crispy, breaded and fried eggplant, fried onions and roasted peppers on warm foccacia bread. Mustachio also offers pasta dishes, soup and salads.
South Market, Lower Level B34
93 Front Street East
+1 416 367 VEAL (8325)
Google map: bit.ly/o8uT3m
Established in 1803, this is one of Toronto’s major markets. The complex consists of the South Market, where over 100 vendors, including butchers, bakers, cheesemongers and green grocers sell their goods on a daily basis (closed Sunday). On Saturdays only, the North Market features seasonal produce, meats and baked goods from over 50 local farmers; and on Sundays only, an Antique Market with over 80 dealers is open to the public. From antiquarian books to vintage jewelry, fine china and furniture, there is something for everyone here.
This is definitely a very special place located betwean The Old Town and Riga’s own ‘Moscow suburbs’, right next to the Central train terminal and bus station. Even if youare not planning to shop, you definitely need to go.
The buildings here, today used as market pavilions, were initially built as hangars for the German army’s zeppelins. Now next to the imported food you will find here delicious, fresh, ecological food from the countryside of Latvia, and it’s cheaper than in any shop. The meat pavilion, grocery, green grocery and fish pavilions, the open air market area. And there are a lot of opportunities to taste the food before buying it! If you look at clothes/shoes – it’s a ‘Made in China’ paradise, but between that you can also find high quality stuff. It is the second biggest market–place in Europe.
On my free weekends I take my shopping bag and go to the Central Market to get the best (fresh and cheap) food in the city. It’s not only a market-place, but it also holds cultural events and shows a little different face of Riga than you will see in The Old Town.
A French friend recommended this village when I needed somewhere to overnight before sailing from Dieppe. I arrived in time for the night market and bought delicious local foods and bread to die for. In the morning I wandered the miles of beach; there was a yoga class beneath the Dover-style white cliffs, and in the sea oyster beds and people shrimp fishing, apparently oblivious to being fully dressed as they pushed their nets through chest deep water. Colonised by Russian artists in the late nineteenth century, there's a fantastic range of galleries wherever you turn. Much of the ancient architecture has survived fires, storms and WWII bombardment. La Veule is France's shortest river, with cress beds and flowers galore. I wish I'd given myself longer in this little gem.
Saturday and Sunday near the Recoleta cemetery about 100 stands set up and create an open air market of artisan goods. Silver, leather, clothing, pottery, art- nice quality for better pricing than the stores they sell to.
New Zealand has the freshest sea food on the planet. Most Kiwis love nothing more than catching their own supper, but if they've not been "lucky" or want more variety they head to the Fish Market. Just a short walk from the Viaduct Harbour (soon to be on a tram line) the Fish Market stocks a wide variety of live, fresh and frozen sea food. For you tourists though there are several cafes and bistros that serve fresh seafood at reasonable prices. If you are visiting in the summer and are lucky you might be able to go to the annual Seafood Festival, which takes over the whole area for a weekend.
As one who loves cooking I always look out for interesting kitchen utensils to bring back from a holiday. Some are more useful than others. What ever you buy is always a good reminder of your holiday and where you shopped.
This also gives you the opportunity to wander off the beaten track to discover small ironmongers or market stalls stacked with goodies.
Turkey in general is known for its stainless steel products. In Antalya I found a pressure cooker. Not so practical to get home, however how could I resist? It is fantastic quality, simplicity in it's design and a real bargain for £12.
Back streets that surround the markets in Central Antalya one in particular Bahçecik Mah. Atatürk Cad. No:338 D:A, Konyaaltı, Antalya/Antalya Province, Turkey
If you ever get the chance to visit southern Sri Lanka then deffo drop by Galle (pronounced 'gall') as it's a brilliant place to visit. For the best home-grown and dried spices visit the spice shack by the central Buddha in the veg market. Here you will find the most friendly local guy who will talk you through recipes and tips without ripping you off because you're a tourist! It's truly mouth wateringly fab. Although beware, his hot stuff is HOT!
By the big Buddha near the indoor veg market, NOT in the touristy and not so good spice market area on the sea front. Enjoy!
Google map : bit.ly/mfXOje
This flea market located in St Petersburg, Russia, is a hidden gem and should not be missed by tourists and locals alike. You can buy almost anything here, from Soviet antiques (though beware of fakes) to electrical goods, at rock-bottom prices. Haggling is a must and it's possible to pick up books and items of clothing for as little as 10 pence. Even if you don't intend to buy anything, it's still worth the visit just to see the stalls (and old ladies with blankets covered in items on the floor), which extend as far as the eye can see.
Come out of Udel'naya metro station, turn right and walk through the normal market stalls (this is NOT the flea market). Then turn left and cross over the train track, turn right and pass between the other 'halls' of shops until you reach the flea market.
Google map: bit.ly/isnWyH
Buy a djellaba, a traditional, hooded robe. My husband bought a black one, charmed into believing he looked, “Like a typical Arab,” in it. It’s been a wonderful dressing gown for the last 12 years. The hood keeps out drafts and means it makes an ideal monk or Darth Vader costume for scaring children at Halloween.
In the souk in Marrakech, and most other North African souks.
Google map: bit.ly/mbyDKc
Sure, you get the awful designer copies and culture shock when you first enter the souks but it's full of the most delicate, pretty and (very) cheap products you could possibly want. For those looking for a slightly more colourful or cultured home, I highly recommend this part of the world - but I'd only go for a day or so. It can get overwhelming, but so long as you know what you're doing, you'll be fine. I plan on heading back within the next couple of years so I can properly kit out my home.
Central Marrakech - Morocco
Google map: bit.ly/mbyDKc
India excels at so many things - carpets, textiles, jewellery, inlaid marble, lacquer-ware, miniature painting, pashminas ...
Chandni Chowk was once the finest market in India. It forms a maze of busy lanes and noisy alleyways surrounding the main street of the walled city of Old Delhi. It is one of the best places to buy just about everything, and to do so while experiencing the authentic chaos and colour of India.
Avoid the heat of the day and visit in the evening, when the electrical shops flash brightly with strings of garish lights, and the streets become a swirl of bangles, sandals and spices. Visit silversmiths, textile emporia crammed with jewel-coloured fabrics, and tiny shops selling handmade marbled paper.
Google map: bit.ly/jO3iJk
I went on a four-day break to Andalucia in February and spent a few hours in Nerja. There's a lovely beach there (Almijari II) and every Sunday, the main event in Nerja is the flea market which is five minutes from the beach. It is truly international with stall holders from practically every European country. There are also lots of bargains to be had.
Google map: bit.ly/lbj6hO
Place du Jeu de Balle in the Marolles district is the venue for a daily flea market, where all manner of things are laid out, only some of which might be useful. That doesn’t matter. It’s just fun to wander around and you’ll enjoy the contrast if you’re fresh from perusing antiques and chocolate shops in the moneyed, if dull, Place du Grand Sablon. Just remember that if you do buy something, you should expect to negotiate!
In the streets surrounding the square old men play cards, and everyone else walks without purpose or lingers on terraces. Have a look inside some of the retro emporiums on rue Haute or rue Blaes, groaning under the weight of the furniture, paintings and pistols piled on top of one another, and flinch at some of the prices. There’s a similar feel in Modes, stuffed claustrophobically full with vintage clothes. Then have a drink at La Brocante, on the corner of the square, before heading up to browse in the bead and silver jewellery shops (Atchoum and Dominique Polain) on the rue des renards, and finally finish off the promenade with your choice of a beery Belgian stew at Restobières – or a wholesome brunch at Het Warm Water, across the road.
Rue des Renards/Vossenstraat 32, 1000, Bruxelles
+32(0)2 502 72 51
Google map: bit.ly/jh6RTY
Het Warm Water
25, Rue des Renards, 1000 Bruxelles
+32(0)2 513 91 59
Google map: bit.ly/mmPTtq
Rue des Renards, 20, 1000 Bruxelles
+32(0)2 514 3811
Google map: bit.ly/jZFEYS
Bijoux Dominique Polain
Rue des renards/Vossenstraat 26, 1000 Bruxelles
+32(0)25 13 53 74
Google map: bit.ly/ltmmJN
Café La Brocante
170 rue Blaes/Blaesstraat 170, 1000 Bruxelles
Google map: bit.ly/jSzZCX
Rue Blaes/Blaesstraat 164, 1000 Bruxelles
+32(0)2 512 49 07
Google map: bit.ly/jHalsv
In other words, the street market for artisan food producers. There’s something for everybody here:
- Honey- a great variety of honeys, my current favourite is the orange blossom honey with its subtle citrus tang and fine nose. In winter when its cold and wet, I like to settle down of an evening with a glass of hot milk liberally dosed with thyme honey and brandy – great before bed when you have a touch of cold, or even if you don’t.
- Handmade honeycomb candles and moulded beeswax
- Marmalades and jams made from fresh local fruits
- Dried wild and cultivated mushrooms and truffles from the foothills of the Pyrenees. Monbolet specialises in wild and cultivated mushrooms and also prepares pre-mixed, ready-to-cook rice and pasta dishes flavoured with several kinds of wild mushrooms. If you fancy trying your hand at making a Catalan fricandó –a braised steak stew– buy some moixernons, tiny button mushrooms.
- Goat and cow’s milk cheeses. Cheese lovers are spoiled for choice. I’ve tried lots of these and every one has been first class, some are drier and stronger, some more softer and smoother, but all first-rate. My all-time favourite is the creamy goats’ cheese called Formatge mantegós de cabra.
- Wines. Ecologically produced wines and sparkling wines from the Tenes valley.
- Pastries and biscuits. Typically Catalan pastries and biscuits all made using ecologically produced flour: deliciously crunchy and crumbly carquinyolis, made with eggs, sugar and almonds; chocolate, orange and almond biscuits; savoury cookies made with olive oil, eggs, herbs and spices; wholemeal and fibre rich biscuits…
- Dairy produce. Fresh cottage cheese, yoghurts, kefir, honey, marmalades, crème caramel from Can Corder, pioneer in high-quality, kilometre 0 dairy production.
- Herbs. Single herbs and mixtures to alleviate all conditions. Galangal to stimulate appetite, camomile to help digestion, herb mixtures for calming burns, easing pain; artichoke and bitter herbs for detoxing your liver, thyme for clearing your chest.
Fira d’ Artisans
Plaça del Pi
The first and third Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays of each month.
11.00 – 14.30 and 17.00 – 21.30
Google map: bit.ly/j3LF4b
Columbia Road is East London at its best. On a Sunday it has a carnival feel as hundreds of people descend on this thin little street in pursuit of beautiful flowers. The flower market takes over the street completely; flower sellers yell out their latest bargain prices and you can’t move for bouquets and stalls. However it is also worth squeezing through the masses to visit the street’s art and design boutique shops. Do try and pause for 15 minutes to listen to one the many impromptu live music performances. To avoid the worst of the crowds and to find a seat in a cafe try and arrive near opening.
Brixton Market is a place of two halves. It is full of its famous multi-cultural food stalls which never fail to make me feel like I’ve been transported far from London with their smells and noises. Yet it is also developing into a bohemian hub. Next to the fish and vegetable stalls you can now find quirky independent vintage shops, cafes and restaurants. There is something for everyone here and it’s a real experience. While in the area why not see a film at the Ritzy cinema or visit the Viewfinder photography gallery.
Electric Avenue, Brixton, London, SW9 8JX
Not open Sundays, late night opening on Thursdays – check the website for exact times.
Closest tube: Brixton (Victoria Line) Closest station: Brixton (National rail)
Google map: bit.ly/ii1kHq
Situated within an old train carriage this café is truly individual. Its exterior is regularly up-dated with brilliant local graffiti art and there’s a great outdoor terrace in the summer. Inside it’s bright and airy with interesting art hanging about. The menu is great value and everything is freshly made. It’s got a buzzy atmosphere and friendly staff. It’s run by a local art collective and in the community space surrounding the café there are often special events and craft markets. Visit on a Saturday morning and combine your trip with a visit to the Deptford junk market.
We learned to dive a few years ago with Nature Island Dive in Soufriere and have since been back every year. The diving is sensational - really unspoilt (not that many tourists) with lovely corals and fantastic sealife. Turtles on almost every dive, seahorses, frogfish, huge shoals of creole wrasse, jacks etc and occasional sharks. The best sites are the least dived - with pristine reefs. All dives must be guided as it is a marine reserve. There are divers from the cruise boats but they are taken to limited sites so if you stay for a few days/weeks ask to go to other sites such as Scotts Head Pinnacle, West End, Craters Edge, Condo as well. The boat rides are short from Soufriere.
Dominica is a wonderful island - the Atlantic coast is amazing for views and walking. The Dominican people are really friendly and proud of their country although you can see and feel the changes happening on the island.
Getting around is, er, interesting. Cars/jeeps can be hired but driving isn't easy due to the poor roads, enormous potholes and other drivers. We have preferred to use the little cheap and interesting buses where possible.
You can buy fish from the fishermen in Soufriere and Scotts Head - they don't sell reef fish fortunately.
The Saturday market in Roseau is great fun - and good value. The fruit on the island is amazing - pineapples have a totally different taste than when eaten in Europe.
I'd recommend staying outside of Roseau - not the prettiest place on the island. Dive shops will arrange accommodation according to your budget and preferences.
If you stay in the south, walk up to Galion village and the top of Scotts Head for the best views in the Caribbean.
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