The 24-hour Konstanz flea market stretches across the German/Swiss border. The next iteration will begin the evening of June 15.

The 24-hour Konstanz flea market stretches across the German/Swiss border. The next iteration will begin the evening of June 15. (Carolin Lepiarczyk/MTK)

One never knows what treasures are to be found at a flea market, and that’s all part of the beauty of such events. The thrill of stumbling upon that perfect complement to a new home or all the gear for a hitherto undiscovered sport or game can make a long-ish drive entirely worth its while. Here are some places to track down that one last thing almost guaranteed to make life complete.


The Ciney Expo, located in Wallonia in the French-speaking region of southern Belgium, plays host to one of the country’s largest flea market and antiques fairs. Three times a year, its grounds are the site of editions of Ciney Puces & Antiquités, a vast event attracting buyers and sellers from all over Europe. At 2 p.m. on a Friday, the first day of the event, trucks parked in the fair’s lot begin unloading their treasures straight onto the pavement, all to the delight of the tens of thousands gathered in search of that perfect yet elusive find. Furniture, precious metals, art of all kinds, semi-precious stones and jewelry, crystal and more await new ownership inside the halls in the days to follow. An expert is on hand to advise about the pieces on show, a service that is offered free of charge.

The next market is scheduled for July 19-21. Adult tickets cost 10 euros for entry on Friday and 8 euros on Saturday and Sunday. Show hours inside the hall are 10 a.m.-8 p.m. all days. The autumn edition of the market will take place on Oct. 11-13. (A separate event at which military memorabilia is will sold will take place on April 28.) Online:


Of all the country’s major flea market events, the “Grand Braderie de Lille” stands out. Each year in September, Lille hosts what’s billed as the biggest flea market in all Europe, and with upwards two million visitors, the claim sounds legitimate. From 7 p.m. Sept. 13 until 6 p.m. Sept. 15, the medieval city close to the Belgian border will heave with buyers and sellers (officially, sales are not supposed to take place before Saturday morning at 8 a.m.). Vendors with like objects tend to sell within the same zones, so familiarizing oneself with the market’s layout is a wise strategy. According to longstanding tradition, the food fueling the masses will be mussels. Online:


Fürth: This Bavarian city northwest of Nuremberg is home to a market known as the Grafflmarkt. Twice a year, the city’s pretty Old Town attracts thousands of shoppers in search of useful, curious or pretty objects. Kids have their very own market around the Michaelis Church. Upcoming dates and times include 4 p.m.-10 p.m. on June 28 and 8 a.m.-4 p.m. June 29; the market’s following edition is set for Sept. 13-14. Online:

Homburg: For a modest-sized city in Saarland, the offers that spring up at this flea market can be pretty spectacular indeed. The market takes place on grounds known as Am Forum on the first Saturday of the month; upcoming dates in 2024 include May 4, June 1, July 6, Aug. 3, Sept. 7, Oct. 12, Nov. 2 and Dec. 7. Goods are sold from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Online:

Konstanz: This overnight flea market’s unusual claim to fame is its border-straddling nature. Rows of wares on sale in this town by Lake Constance (or the Bodensee as it’s known in German) spill across the Swiss border and into the neighboring town of Kreuzlingen. Should all the vendor’s stalls be laid out straight, they’d stretch over five miles. Street musicians add a special flair to the long summer evening. The next flea market will unfold on the evening of June 15 and continue for 24 hours. Online:

Ludwigsburg: This city some eight miles north of Stuttgart holds an antiques market in early fall, a time of year when the added attraction of the annual pumpkin festival held in the castle grounds gives double the reason to make the trek. The “Ludwigsburger Antikmeile” takes place Sept. 28-29. Some 150 sellers set up shop in the town’s delightfully baroque market square from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. both days. Online:

Munich: The Oktoberfest is preceded in spring by what’s affectionately referred to as its little sister, the “Frühlingsfest,” or Spring Festival. On April 20, the grounds known as the Theresienwiese will offer not only rides, stalls and beer tents but also a bustling flea market run by the Bavarian Red Cross. The selling starts at 7 a.m. Online:

Nuremberg: Twice a year, the city’s gorgeously medieval Old Town transforms itself into a bargain hunter’s delight. From 4 p.m. until midnight on Friday evening and from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. on the following Saturday, Germany’s largest inner-city flea market sees up to 4000 stalls manned by both private sellers and professional traders unveil a treasure-trove of bric-brac, clothing and household wares. An evening stroll along illuminated cobblestone streets can be a special experience even without nailing a bargain. The so-called Trempelmarkt is set to take place May 10-11 and Sept. 6-7 in 2024. Online:

Stuttgart: While there’s an antiques market held on the Karlsplatz on most Saturdays, an even bigger one takes place once in spring and again in the fall. This year’s big spring market has been scheduled for May 12, and its autumn edition is planned for Sept. 15. Online:

Wiesbaden: The grounds adjacent to the stately Biebrich Castle in the suburb of the same name play host to a small but satisfying market that’s certainly worth checking out by those in the neighborhood. Goods are on sale here from 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Upcoming dates include April 20, June 15, July 20, Aug. 17, Sept. 21 and Oct. 19. Online:


Mark calendars for Saturday, April 27, the date of King’s Day across the land. Citizens of towns and cities great and small will be celebrating the House of Orange and taking their orange-hued party to the streets. In many cities, notably Amsterdam and Utrecht, untold miles of sidewalk are transformed into a selling space for private vendors to shift their wares as part of the longstanding “vrijmarkt” tradition. Online:

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