The vivid colors, the mouth-watering aromas, the sounds of good-natured bargaining…. In any corner of the world, a local food market is a multi-sensory snapshot of that region’s culture. Here are six tours—all of which you can book on TripAdvisor—that will guide you deeper into some of the world’s most famous markets, for a delicious taste of the homegrown way of life.
La Boqueria, Barcelona
La Boqueria is one of the world’s most famous markets, an enormous covered shopping area full of meat, cheese, fruits, vegetables, seafood, sweets, and much more. Context Barcelona’s three-hour tour walks you around the market—where you’ll hear about its beginnings in the Middle Ages—and the surrounding Raval neighborhood, tasting cured sausage, tapas, and pastries along the way. This intimate tour is limited to only six people.
Pike Place Market, Seattle
Just about every tourist who comes through Seattle stops to watch the fishmongers throwing their catch around. Few get to actually try their hand at throwing a fish, but that’s what you’ll get to do on Savor Seattle’s special-access tour of the Pike Place Market. You’ll arrive just as the market opens, before the crowds descend, and sample at least 17 delicacies from nine different vendors during the two-hour tour. Leave with a discount card that gives you 10-15% off at more than 40 of the city’s restaurants and attractions.
Tsukiji Fish Market, Tokyo
Speaking of fish, Tokyo is home to the world’s largest seafood market, and this four-hour tour combines an exploration of Tsukiji’s inner workings (where tuna are auctioned off to restaurants and retailers from around the globe) with a sushi-making workshop led by a sushi master—capped off with lunch to taste your creations. You’ll return home knowing how to choose the freshest fish in your neighborhood grocery store.
Testaccio Market, Rome
Do you love Italian food? Enjoy bites of pastry, buffalo mozzarella, suppli (fried rice balls), pasta, wine, cheese, and gelato from Rome’s oldest gelateria during this four-hour walking tour of the historic Testaccio market and neighborhood. You’ll also see Rome’s only pyramid and the oft-overlooked Protestant Cemetery, where poet John Keats is buried.
Marché d’Aligre, Paris
France’s capital is full of food markets, but the Marché d’Aligre, in the 12th Arrondissement’s Bastille district, is one of the most authentic and traditional. Book an apartment with a kitchen so that you can load up on produce and other gourmet ingredients during this three-hour market tour by The French Way, which includes food, wine, and olive oil tastings. The tour ends in an elevated garden built atop abandoned train tracks, a spot known to locals but few tourists.
San Juan Market, Mexico City
If Mexican food means little more than tacos to you, prepare to be surprised by the breadth and depth of the country’s culinary history during Mexican Food Tours’ three-hour primer on Mexico City’s street food. Taste grasshoppers, edible flowers, organic coffee, and gourmet cheese at the San Juan Market, then head to the nearby Artisan Market to browse through handmade pottery, silver, leatherwork, and more from around the country. At both markets, your guide will lead you to the booths with the finest goods, where you can speak directly to the people who prepared the snacks or produced the crafts.