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Geneva is notoriously expensive, yet if you know where to look, you can find a bargain in the many markets dotted throughout its streets. Whether you’re in search of fresh, local produce or vintage treasures, or even if you just enjoy soaking up the lively atmosphere of a buzzing marketplace, there’s always a great, fun alternative to a regular shopping trip here.
Plainpalais has evolved into one of Switzerland’s biggest flea markets. Though slightly out of the way of the center, it is well worth the short trip as you find yourself immersed in an authentic, local atmosphere. Stalls selling second-hand clothes, jewelry, candles, antiques and books fill the square. On other days of the week, this square also plays host to a wonderful food market, with a range of fruit, vegetables, cheese, and spices. There are also snack stalls selling waffles, churros, crêpes and panini, making it a great place for a casual lunch.
This market is situated in the heart of the trendy, Italian-influenced Carouge, just a few minutes’ tram ride from the center of Geneva, in a lovely square overlooked by the beautiful Eglise Sainte-Croix. Here you will be able to find local regional produce, changing with the seasons, three times a week. If you prefer to do your shopping in the evening, try the Thursday evening market; it makes for a perfect pre-dinner wander, especially as Carouge is full of so many lively restaurants and alternative bars.
Right in the center of Geneva, just a few hundred meters from the train station and a couple of paces from the enormous lake, you will find this bustling market located in the pretty 19th century district of Les Pâquis. Along with the usual fruit and vegetable stands there are also lovely, vibrant flower stalls and even roast chicken on offer.
When it comes to markets, the Place de la Fusterie is one of the most diverse and lively squares in Geneva. On Wednesdays and Saturdays you can enjoy an array of snacks as you wander through the organic fruit, vegetable, cheese and spice stalls. On Thursdays, marvel at the talent of the local craftsmen and women as you browse through the carefully handmade objects, including candles, lights, dolls, games and clothes. For bibliophiles, the market is transformed on Tuesdays and Fridays into a shrine to all things printed, with engraving and comic book stalls as well as a countless number of books. Finally, if you happen to be in Geneva in December, this square hosts a wonderfully buzzing daily market in the days leading up to Christmas – the perfect place to find unique, last-minute festive gifts.
The biggest food market in Geneva – so big that the road is actually closed during market hours to allow space for it – this market has a great lively ambiance and floods your senses with wonderful smells as you wander through its stretches. As well as the standard stalls of ripe, locally grown organic fruit and vegetables, you’ll also find some more unusual products, such as local honey and specialties from the Swiss canton of Valais. Alternatively try the permanent indoor Halle de Rive on the same road, which is open six days a week and boasts a range of gourmet bistros as well as a variety of delicious, local food stalls.