Flea Markets, Berlin
Flea markets are something of a Berlin tradition. They are usually held at the weekend, especially on Sundays, and wherever you are staying you are likely to find one somewhere nearby. We went to the one in the Mauerpark (see my Off the Beaten Path tip) and another in front of the Ostbahnhof. The former is much bigger, better known and more popular, but I found it too cramped and crowded to be able to look round properly. I think you would need to get there earlier than we did (Just after lunch) if you were seriously shopping for bargains, but as we just wanted to soak up the atmosphere of the park the crowds were less of a problem.
By contrast we were at the Ostbahnhof one much earlier, immediately after breakfast, and were able to check out the stalls with ease. We didn’t buy anything but I saw plenty of interesting items, though you’d need more knowledge of antiques than I have to know which were the real bargains. It certainly seemed a good spot to search for old postcards, coins etc. There were some interesting old cameras too (see photo 2), carpets and furnishings, toys and dolls, glassware and china – I loved a couple of espresso cups but decided rather reluctantly that getting them home unbroken might be a challenge.
In the end we didn’t buy anything on this occasion, but I have a few “treasures” from a flea-market we visited last time we were in Berlin. One is a First World War post-card, written and sent from the trenches by a French soldier. The others are a couple of bank-notes from the 1920s – one for fifty million marks, the other for five hundred million!
By the way, in German "flea market" is either "Flohmarkt " (literal translation) or "Trödelmarkt" (junk market), although we also saw the one at the Ostbahnhof referred to (rather grandly) as “Antikmarkt”.
This was kind of a cool place to visit. A friend of mine and I went here to see if we could find a good used bicycle for a good price. We couldn't. the flea market here doesn't have a lot of good bargains. Cookbooks sell for new book prices. Knickknacks aren't bargainable. Used clothing is nowhere near as cheap as it looks, but the place has charm. I got the impression that people didn't come to the flea market so much to buy and sell, as to socialize. Given that not many places are open on Sunday, the only day of the week you can visit the market, it makes sense. They have vendors selling beer and sausages, and tables where people sit and socialize. Oddly enough, even for less cosmopolitan Berlin, it seemed everyone was white.
What to buy: I did well with a few books and some sausage.
What to pay: Depends what youwant. Prices weren' that good.
Antiques, clothes, furniture, books, art, jewels. decorations . . . and a lot of odd items.
The flea market at "strasse des 17. juni" is the oldest and most expensive flea market in town. But it is very nice to take a look at all the stalls . . . there are very nice people and you can find the flair of the old "West-Berlin" . . .
Every Sat and SUN 8am - 4 pm
I have been to the Mauerpark Flea Market twice. Once in December when there was snow on the ground and it was freezing cold. Though the market was much smaller than my second visit it did not stop the hardy traders and shoppers. I saw one woman trader chipping away the ice from her stall before setting up her stall. We are not built of the same stuff in the UK and a market at home would not have even opened. Fast forward to a sunny Sunday in May and the market was huge and packed with visitors. The market is not the same as I have been use too where you wander around, buy the odd item from a display and leave after an hour or two. In the case of this market it is more of an all day event. The market opens at 8am and as the day goes on the market become busier, so arrive early if you want to avoid the crowds. Between 1.30 and 5pm there is a karaoke session which attracts large crowds. So what does the market sell? You are unlikely to find an undiscovered item worth thousands but if you like vinyl you may discover a hard to obtain record. It is that type of market so you have to know what to look for if you want to find hard to obtain item of clothing. There are the usual counterfeit CDs, clothing and other goods. There are plenty of refreshment stalls selling a wide variety of delights to tempt your palate. The market which is only open on Sundays shuts its doors at 6pm.
What to buy: You may be able to pick up a souvenir from your visit to the market.
Well, we have heard that there existed this kind of souvenirs, but we didn't know we were to find them so unexpectedly. We had a good time trying on helmets and military caps. You can buy a DDR honours medal for less than 2 euros. It was just in front of Pergamonmuseum, at Museuminsel.
What to buy: Vale, habíamos oído que existían este tipo de souvenirs, pero no sabíamos que íbamos a encontrarlos tan inesperadamente. Pasamos un buen rato probándonos cascos y gorros militares. Puedes comprar medallas de honor de la RDA por menos de 2 euros. Estaba justo a la salida del Pergamonmuseum.
In the street market besides Museum Island, on a street along the river, we find nice little things for our relatives and friends. We liked particularly the candle stall and the one which selled eggs. There were also paintings stalls. It was not expensive and the atmosphere was friendly and familiar. It was Sunday morning.
What to buy: En el mercado que hay al lado de la Isla de los Museos, en una calle que discurre a lo largo del rio encontramos cositas muy monas para regalar a nuestros amigos y familiares. Nos gustó particularmente el puesto de velas y el que vendía huevos de porcelana. También había puestos de cuadros. No era caro y el ambiente era amable y familiar. Era domingo por la mañana.
1. Trödelmarkt = flea market
2. People at the flea market
3. Poster advertizing the flea market
4. Cyclist at the flea market
Every Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm there is a large flea market and art-and-handicraft market on the street called "Straße des 17. Juni" (Street of June 17th) on both sides of the Charlottenburger Tor, not far from the Zoo and the Landwehr Canal.
If by any chance you are in the market for a brass candle holder
. . . or a pewter pitcher
. . . or a genuine Bavarian beer mug made in China
. . . or a genuine Uher reel-to-reel tape recorder from the 1960s
. . . then this is your place.
As a notorious non-shopper I of course didn't buy anything, but had a good time looking at all the stuff and the people.
While wandering around Bernauer Strasse, I came across this flea market near the NordBahnhof station. I was hoping to find some souvenirs of the cold war, but nowadays these are nearly all in the touristy souvenir shops.
This large market is one of many of the city. Most are in the former East Berlin and very alternative, this market is real. People sell everything from a single shoe, old clothing, relics of the war, furniture, second hand bicycles, etc. Prices are low and bargaining is the order of the day. At the exit there are several food stalls. The market is open every sunday from 9 am to 5 pm
Este gran mercadillo es uno de los numerosos de la ciudad. La mayoría los encuentras en el antiguo Berlín Este y son muy alternativos, este mercadillo es auténtico. La gente vende de todo, desde un solo zapato, ropa vieja, reliquias de la guerra, muebles, bicicletas de segunda mano, etc. Los precios son baratos y el regateo está a la orden del día. A la salida hay varios puestos de comida. El mercadillo abre todos los domingos desde las 9 de la mañana hasta las 5 de latarde
One of Berlins many Flea markets.
Here you can buy anything from antiques to books.
What to buy: Second hand books and antiques.