A little introduction
The question what about the favourite market is a one frequently asked. Be it the one when you look back on your own experiences or the one you ask as a tourist. But what do we have media for? They compile lists, top lists, best lists (from 5 to more than 100 or so, depending on the effort), some of them are related to only one city, some to a country and others to the whole globe. Now trying to make a best of the best lists would be a bit pretentious but why not?
But all the lists are an invitation for discussions and hopefully charming arguments. I always wonder how Pike Place Market in Seattle is on some lists, I think the market is quite overrated, but … And of course everybody has its own hidden gems or huge sympathy for smaller markets which are not to be found at traditional tourist destinations. There are some small markets which will never make it to the top, but which have something unique, a stall or two with fantastic products, e.g. the sensational cheese stall at Siegburg market, a small town in Western Germany.
When looking at the selections there are a few areas which are consistently left out: Sub-Saharan Africa, despite its sometimes huge and vibrant markets – Oceania, maybe with the exception of Australia – Eastern Europe, except Croatia – Central Asia. There must be something to discover there, isn’t it? So any hint is more than welcomed.
Let’s start with the world
World: The smallest list is from Wild Junket and has a selection of 7 markets. CNN presents 10 places on this planet, perfectly demonstrating my hyper empiric observation of left behind areas. Travel & Leisure is also a bit stingy, only 10 markets! National Geographic has also only 10 to offer without any major surprise in the selection. The number 10 seems to be very popular as Lonely Planet is also focused on it, Pike Place market is mentioned here as well, not to my delight. Eyeflare chose 11 markets with some sure bets included, but also a surprise with Sonoma farmers’ market in California. Fodor’s travel has a nice slide show with 15 markets and some uncommon like the fish market in Bergen / Norway. The Telegraph offers around 20 markets with a nice interactive map (and I love maps) and has a few unusual selection like Amsterdam & Dubai. Rough guides have beautiful slide show – best view on large screens of 20 markets. Food & Wine comes with a list of 25 markets is a little bit more descriptive but without pictures – to add the Berlin KaDeWe department store is a bit odd, despite the legendary food section. The Daily Meal could either not decide or wanted to be more fair: they offer a selection of 45! They cover also some markets from the areas which are usually left out. Kudos!
Was this a list of 10?
A little different approach has the eDreams blog which covers 10 markets around the Mediterranean Sea. Unfortunately the bazaar of Aleppo in Syria will probably not be a good travel destination these days, which is sad. And Travel & Leisure also presents the top 12 night markets, very helpful you have jet lag or so.
And now to individual regions
North America: This is mainly about the USA.
Well not quite. Canada has also its own selections. Better Health Magazine cannot decide if they want to present 5 or 10, but why not, they have more than one author. The city of Toronto seems to be very very big, as Hunffingtonpost found the 26 best farmers markets of this city.
In the US lets start with a big list, which is apparently an annual one: the 101 Best Farmers’ Markets in America from Daily Meal. They offer also one for 2013 as well, but I did not see a comparison between the two years. But now lets start with the small numbers: 9 – it is from Shermans travel blog and does not contain Pike Place Market. CNN sticks with 10, and easy to scroll through and is focused on travellers. US News comes with 11 ans some nice tips on what to look for. Fodor’s travel seems to have the rule of 15, as this is what they chose for the world as well. And because I want to have a list where Soulard Market in St. Louis is mentioned, you have to check the list of 16 from Gadling. And if you look at the top 25 US cities Travel to Wellness will help you.
Using search engines with English terms only, will hardly lead you to best of lists from countries outside the UK, but let’s give it a try. Nevertheless UK is the starting point.
UK: So the lovefood blog selected 6 based on a Twitter poll, in 2011! The Independent selected the 10 best farmers’ markets without mentioning the Borough market in London, interesting. The Ecologist, who sets the environmental agenda since 1970, chose 10 in 2011, not via Twitter I suppose. The Visit Britain Super Blog selected 10 as well and did not forget Northern Ireland. Country Farm Lifestyles chose 12 of them, a better layout would certainly help to read the page as they are promoting markets with local food.
France: Here we have to switch a little bit to French. Topito found the 10 most beautiful markets, all outside Paris! So then we have to search for Paris in this list of 10 from Paris Zigzag blog with nice descriptions.
The search engines worked hard, they need a break.
And if you are travelling outside classic “best of areas”, check my database to find a market at your destination.
I would like to point out to an article in the British Guardian, which handles the question of best markets in the world very nicely.