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While traveling Europe, the fashion capitals of the world may be on your itinerary and you’ll want to look your best. Fashion forward cities such as Paris and Rome are full of shopping centers with top designers if you are willing to drop a buck or two (or maybe a thousand). If you are like me and want some stylish but inexpensive clothing to add to your travel wardrobe, flea markets are the way to go.
Shopping in Europe doesn’t have to be expensive. Check out my favorite European flea markets:
Fun and Affordable Shopping in Europe
by Tara Simmons
Oviedo, Spain – El Fontan
This beautiful outdoor market is located in the old city center of Oviedo, in Northwestern Spain, and is a perfect blend of fashion, food, flowers, and music all in one. Here you will find cheap clothes and shoes, as well as fake designer bags and sunglasses; all of which are a must when traveling because you never know when you’re going to need a backup item.
It’s best to shop early before the throngs of people arrive. Keep in mind that the vendors don’t drop prices at the end of the day which is unusual for typical markets, but this is significant to Spanish culture, so it’s best to shop while you’re fresh and ready!
Rome, Italy – Porta Portese
The biggest, most inexpensive but fashionable market in all of Rome is Porta Portese, opening even before the sun comes up (5:00 am to 2:00 pm) to ensure you can take care of all of your shopping needs! It is filled with hundreds of stalls of clothes, for women and men, accessories, shoes, simple beauty care items, luggage, linens, electronics (even hair dryers) and many other random items you will realize you can’t live without. Unlike Spain, bargaining is advisable, actually expected. Get your bargaining skills ready and see what deals you can get!
Paris, France – Marche de Montruiel
Marche de Montruiel is the bargain hunter’s dream as long as you are willing to spend a few hours rummaging through layers of clothes, shoes, and accessories. You will be sure to find some gems (even top designers such as Yves Saint Laurent) and complete your Parisian style without the paying the typical price.
Some of the clothes are second-hand, but everything sold is kept in good condition and set at a discounted price. This was one of my favorite places to shop for clothes abroad, but be wary; the experienced women shoppers are ruthless!
Budapest, Hungary- Ecseri Piac
This market is slightly different than the previous two, due to the fact it is more of an antique market better suited for your accessory and trinket desires. Budapest is known for its tumultuous history during the World Wars and has the biggest vintage/antique markets (including items from this era) I have witnessed so far.
Antique watches and jewelry, soviet-army attire, and vintage hats and shoes are just some of the items to be sold at this expansive Piac (market). You will not only be acquiring quality items for a reasonable price, but you will also be getting to take a piece of history with you.
I found that by taking a little more time shopping at discounted markets you can get the best deals while still finding high fashion items. You will get a taste of the culture as well, and it definitely adds to the whole travel experience which is invaluable in itself. Make sure you have both affordable and comfortable accommodation booked because you’ll need a plush bed to rest after a long shopping day!
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Author: Tara is a native Californian and newbie world traveler, having just backpacked through Europe and continuing on throughout Southeast Asia. Enthusiast of all things organic; she also loves to read, write, and bake in her spare time and currently keeps her own travel blog Traveling Days.