The world’s best flower markets offer as a much a sensory experience as food markets, souks, spice markets and flea markets. Who doesn’t love flowers? Flower markets are a riot of kaleidoscopic colors and heavenly aromas and for travelers, fabulous photo opportunities. So when you’re traveling, which flower markets should be on your must-visit list?
Campo dei Fiori is one of Rome's oldest flower markets and it holds a special place in locals' hearts. Centuries ago, public executions used to be held here, including the one of philosopher Giordano Bruno, who was burnt alive for heresy here, in the 1600s. Now, however, the market is lively and - may I add - very romantic, selling astonishing flowers, fresh vegetables, spices and great fish, as well as souvenirs for tourists. The flower stalls usually close last, late at night, though it is recommended to visit them early in the morning if you want to buy the freshest blooms.
Founded in 1862, Bloemenmarkt is the only floating flower market in the world. It is a combination of colors so amazing, it's no wonder why the 19th century merchants here got tulip mania. The floating stalls are teeming with popular tulip varieties, such as Queen of the Night or the Viking. You won't be able to resist getting yourself at least a few bulbs to take home!
Caojiadu is one of the busiest and largest flower markets in Shanghai. The entrance to the market is guarded by a vine encrusted arch, heralding the splendor you'll be flooded with once you venture in. The sheer variety of flowers and greenery is simply overwhelming, while the prices are a lot lower than what you might imagine. And plants are not all you can see here. There are birds, fish and even fountains for sale in Caojiadu - enough to build a mini-biosphere.
Cuenca is one of the world's great historic cities and boasts over 50 churches dating back to the Spanish colonial era. But what really catches your eye is the beautiful flower market open daily near the New Cathedral of Cuenca. The market hosts dozens of merchants selling arum lilies, giant roses and quivering orchids. There is so much color and such a fresh smell that you'll feel drawn to the place instantly. You can't help but feel happy when walking through the stalls!
One of Australia's best kept secrets is the cavernous Flemington in Sydney, a painfully beautiful place that buzzes with green energy from 5 am to 9 pm. It is the main supplier of wholesale flowers sold in Sydney, but it is open to the general public as well, offering a staggering variety of plants.
Marché Aux Fleurs, located very close to Notre Dame de Paris, has a specific vibe to it that immediately makes you think of Madame Bovary. Enjoy your walk through its Belle Époque halls and breathe in the delicious clouds of jasmine, freesia and tuberose!
Phool Mandi is one of the most spectacular flower markets on the whole Asian continent, selling basically anything from lilies, tuberoses and chrysanthemums, to the popular orange marigolds. The merchants open their colorful stalls as soon as the sun rises, but, unfortunately, vanish by 9 am. Make sure you go to bed early if you want to get the chance to see all this beauty!
I love to visit local flower markets when I’m traveling. You might not be able to take them as souvenirs but there’s plenty to enjoy while you can - especially to see unusual and exotic blooms. Have you ever thought about sticking flower markets on your travel itineraries?