Take care of the Med markets on your next break.
It’s a great and inexpensive way to get a taste of a destination’s local cuisine and snag some souvenirs.
Here Renate Ruge selects five of the best for gourmets.
Spain – La Boqueria in Barcelona
Stroll around and marvel at the country’s bountiful harvest, including juicy watermelons, fiery red peppers and zesty oranges.
The Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria in Barcelona is one of the best in the country and has served the Catalan capital on the Rambla for centuries.
You won’t go home hungry.
The tapas prepared in front of you rival those at the city’s restaurants: sizzling garlic shrimp, crispy calamari, slices of jamon (smoked ham), pan e tomate (crusty toasted bread with tomatoes drizzled in olive oil), and a chilled glass of cerveza or sherry.
It’s also great for people-watching as local families gather to eat paella or grilled fish, and children eat spiral potato chips on a stick.
And don’t miss the fantastic Escriba chocolate shop.
Three nights at 4H Hotel Alimara Barcelona from £299 per person, including flights departing Gatwick on 6 September and checked luggage.
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Malta – Marsaxlokk Market
Stalls selling the freshest seafood stretch along the harbor in the quaint village of Marsaxlokk (pronounced Marsa-schlock).
On Sunday mornings, tables are piled high with fresh swordfish and tuna at Malta’s largest fish market.
Stay for lunch and enjoy the catch of the day, like lampuki and grilled octopus, or take a boat out and order lobster at a waterfront cafe.
And watch the colorful Luzzu boats bobbing around the bay.
You can also buy locally produced honey, wine and a variety of fruit and vegetables as the Maltese islands are teeming with quality produce thanks to its sun-kissed location.
Discover exotic flavors like candied peel, cloves and dates at the Is Suq Tal Belt indoor food market in the capital, Valletta.
Be sure to try pastizzi – puff pastry snacks filled with ricotta or mushy peas.
Seven nights at the 4H Topaz Hotel in Bugibba are from £366 per person, including flights from London on 6 September.
Türkiye – Kemeralti Bazaar
No trip to Turkey is complete without a visit to a lively bazaar or medina, where you can mingle with the locals and barter for pottery, textiles, spices and fresh produce.
At the Kemeralti Bazaar in Izmir there are sacks of exotic spices and boxes of jewel-colored fruits from peach, olive, quince and pomegranate trees of the Aegean countryside.
Chillies and camomile hang in bunches to dry.
Sample juicy sweet cherries and delicious dates along the way.
The tantalizing aroma of spit-roasted meat lures shoppers to the square in the heart of the medina, where locals sip Turkish tea and strong black coffee.
Enjoy the best kebabs you’ve ever tasted, while kofte, or flavorful meatballs in a tangy tomato and pepper sauce, is a delicious specialty.
Seven all-inclusive nights at the 4H Ramada Hotel & Suites by Wyndham Kusadasi are priced from £592 per person, including flights departing Gatwick on 14 September.
Italy – Ballaro Market and La Vucciria in Palermo, Sicily
The bustle of street vendors selling their wares greets you at Palermo’s noisy Ballaro market, where exotic, spicy scents take visitors back to Moorish times.
You’ll find giant watermelons, juicy lemons and oranges, slices of aged parmesan and mounds of mozzarella.
Crunchy cannoli filled with creamy ricotta are a must.
La Vucciria, Palermo’s oldest market, has stalls lining the streets around Piazza Caracciolo and Piazza Garrafello squares.
At Street Food Central, you can try bacon wrapped around spring onions and seared on the grill, breaded anchovies and baby squid, sardines stuffed with pine nuts and raisins, and chickpea fritters.
Try a “driver” drink made of chinotto spritz with lemonade, which visitors are encouraged to drink as soon as possible.
Seven nights B&B at 4H Domina Coral Bay Sicilia Zagarella is available from £758 per person including flights departing Manchester on 27th September.
France – Marché Provençal in Antibes, Provence
Potter via the Marché Provençal in the footsteps of the famous painters Claude Monet and Pablo Picasso in the old town of Antibes.
On display are the best local produce such as mountain cheeses, garlic cloves, tomatoes of all shapes and sizes, baskets of strawberries and blueberries, olives and mushrooms.
The food market opens daily at 6 a.m. and around 1 p.m. the food market is refilled.
It’s a good excuse to enjoy croissants and pastries for breakfast or to buy a crepe.
For a post-shopping stopover, a steady stream of local roses are served up with a perfect pink blush in the little cafes surrounding the market.
Three nights at the 3H easyHotel Nice Palais des Congres from £425 per person, including Luton flights on 6th September and luggage.