From art and antiques to fresh fruit and baked goods, you can find it all by exploring Israel’s many markets. Israeli markets are lively, colorful and full of wonderful finds. No trip to the Middle East would be complete without visiting at least one market, or “shuk” as it is known locally. This gives visitors a chance to experience a bit of Israeli culture and to enjoy a taste of the Israeli lifestyle.
Israel has numerous markets so we have compiled a list of our favorites…
1. Machane Yehuda, Jerusalem
Jerusalem is famous for its many ancient historical and religious sites. But among these sites is Machane Yehuda market, which represents the present day and future of Jerusalem. Also commonly known as “The Shuk”, this marketplace features over 250 vendors selling everything from baked goods, fruits, vegetables, cheese, meat, fish, nuts, spices, and wine to housewares, textiles, clothing and shoes. Frequented by both locals and tourists alike, this market is a true Jerusalem landmark. Read more here.
Highly recommended: don’t miss this amazing tasting tour of Machane Yehuda.
2. Jerusalem’s Old City Souk
Sprawling through the Christian and Moslem quarters of Jerusalem’s Old City is the Arab Souk (market). This market has been around since the Ottoman Era and today features a paradox of traditional items and kitschy souvenirs. Not only is this generally the cheapest place to purchase gifts, but it is also the home to some well-known delicious eateries. Haggling is expected here, so this is a chance to practice your negotiating skills. Read more here.
3. Bezalel Arts Fair, Jerusalem
Every Friday the Bezalel Arts Fair is held in Jerusalem’s city center. It is a chance for artists to display their work and achieve a connection with the public. Along with the artists and craftsmen selling their glass, drawings, photography, painting, and textiles are the musicians and street performers offering entertainment. Beginning in 2009, this art fair has become a staple to the city. Read more here. Photo by Miriam Alster/FLASH90.
4. Nachlat Binyamin Arts and Crafts Fair, Tel Aviv
Each Tuesday and Friday Tel Aviv hosts the Nachalat Binyamin Arts and Crafts Fair. Over 200 artists participate in the fair and each one hand makes their products and sells the items themselves. Popular with both locals and tourists, about 10,000 people visit the fair each week! Read more here.
5. Carmel Market
Tel Aviv’s most famous marketplace, the Carmel Market is also the city’s largest market. Open every day of the week (except Shabbat), the market features a plethora of shops and restaurants from handmade cheese to designer clothing, so there is something for every person with every budget. Make sure to come hungry because the food is exquisite and plentiful. Read more here.
If you’re looking for an amazing, eye-opening culinary tour of the market, click here.
6. Tel Aviv Port & Jaffa Port Markets
Every Friday the Farmers Markets of the Tel Aviv Port and Jaffa Port draw those seeking fresh, local fruits, vegetables, cheeses, oils, flowers, baked goods, and more. With its location on the Fertile Crescent, Israel is known for its incredibly fresh and flavorful produce and this is the ideal place to purchase these goods. Read more here and here.
7. Jaffa Flea Market
Known in Hebrew as Shuk HaPishPeshim, the Jaffa Flea Market is what you most likely think of when you imagine a Middle Eastern market. The vendors are ready to haggle as they sell clothing, antiques, art, trinkets, and oddities. If all that shopping has worked up an appetite, there are some delicious opportunities to sample local cuisine as well. Read more here.
This post was written by Noam Matas, the General Manager of America Israel Tours. America Israel Tours specializes in tours to Israel and offers customized and all-inclusive tour packages to Israel. Noam enjoys writing about Israel based on his personal experience and his knowledge of the tourism industry.