No trip to the Middle East would be complete without a chance to haggle for bargains – and Jaffa Flea Market offers you the perfect opportunity!
Full with age old antiques and second hand treasures (and those items you wouldn’t look twice at!), Jaffa Flea Market – known as Shuk HaPishPeshim in Hebrew – is a magpie’s delight.
Set amidst the 19th century Arab quarters of Jaffa, you will find yourself wandering along narrow streets browsing handmade crafts and retro-chic wares in every conceivable color. The old, dirty streets and scents of trade transport you to an era where you can easily imagine local market sellers pedaling their goods with eastern traders.
There are two main alleyways that make up the core of the market. Not easy to find, these alleys are packed with mostly clothing traders who have learned to reel in a tourist or two…here you have to be ready to haggle, and haggle hard!
Once out of the alleys, you’ll find yourself yourself in the small side streets, such as Olei Zion and Amiad. Here you can find some great little antiques, as well as some really strange items that you’ll never be able to squeeze into your suitcase…
Also watch out for the Friday morning sub market, which takes place at the southern end of the market. If you thought you spotted some strange items in the regular flea market, then this area might leave you speechless. Expect to see everything and the kitchen sink. And the brush you used this morning to clean the sink.
But the Jaffa Flea Market is not just about finding quirky items to take home. Whereas once it might have revolved around finding the cheapest clothes and antiques, the area now also invites a younger, hipper crowd to inspect its newly added art galleries and trendy restaurants, giving an additional sense of fun to the market’s already lively vibe.
When you’re stood in the thick of the market’s daily trading it is near impossible to imagine there is a culinary side to the place, but the market side streets are the perfect place to settle down for a delicious post bartering meal. And if you are looking to prolong your immersion in market life, there is no better place than Puaa, the market’s resident cafe.
This whimsical cafe is owned by Puaa Ladijensky who started life as a flower seller at the market. After serving tea to local customers, Puaa’s reputation soon grew until she eventually opened Puaa Cafe. A nod and a wink to her former career is evident in the fresh flowers on every table. Another eccentric quirk of Puaa’s is that every item is for sale. From decadent cups and saucers to antique furniture, vivid trinkets to old lace, you can dine in this sensory wonderland and take home anything that catches your eye. The market truly is encompassed within this café. And of course, all of this is without mention of the taste bud tingling local dishes that are the true draw.
Another two culinary options you might want to consider are the Italkia Ba Pishpishim – Italian cuisine so delectable, you simply must visit (be prepared to wait a while for a table at this ever popular spot) – and Dr Shakshuka – one of our favorite places for a true local vibe with the fresh, piping hot shakshuka to sink your teeth into.
Between bartering for trinkets and other goodies and indulging in a heavenly slice of local cuisine, the Jaffa Flea Market is likely to leave you feeling satisfied in every sense.
The market is open all week from Sunday – Thursday from 10am – 6pm and on Fridays from 10am – 2pm. During the summer months (though in the last couple of years in May only) the market also holds the annual Pishpeshuk, with late-night shopping and street happenings into the wee hours.
Our recommendation: tie a visit to the Jaffa Flea Market with a walk around Old Jaffa, a five minute walk away. Alternatively, once your bartering is done for the day, head to the delightful neighborhood of Neve Tzedek, an oasis of art and architecture a quick taxi ride anyway.