Food markets and dining halls have been a staple of European culture for centuries. While vendors have been selling delicacies on the streets since the days of Ancient Greece, the ornate covered markets and grand food halls we know today are a 19th-century phenomenon.

These culinary institutions, from London’s Borough Market to Amsterdam’s Cuyp Market, have become sources of municipal pride, as well as a cultural melting pot where international cuisines from the cities’ immigrant communities take centre stage. They are also a vital part of Europe’s food and drinks industry, which turned over €1.1 trillion in 2023.

London is Europe’s best city for food markets

To work out which European city has the best food markets, Radical Storage analysed all cities that have at least five food markets — variety is the spice of life, after all! They created a simple index which takes into account the average Google Reviews rating of all markets within the city, and the number of markets in total.

With a combined score of 8.36, London takes the crown as Europe’s best food market city. With 33 markets and an average rating of 4.5 stars, the British capital stands above all others.

It’s no secret that London is a world-renowned food destination, with the city’s distinct international culture playing host to cuisine from across the UK and all over the world. Its food and market halls are also essential visits in their own right, from trendy upscale Camden to the city’s oldest space — Borough Market.

Locals and tourists alike love London’s food markets, giving them an average rating of 4.5 stars. Two hidden gem markets help it stand above the rest. Islington’s Junction Market and Southwark’s Tabard Street Market — both rated at 4.7 stars, embody London’s independent street food scene.

Köln home to Europe’s best food market

When it comes to market food, we can’t forget about Germany. Currywurst, Döner Kebabs, Kartoffelpuffer (potato pancakes) — all delicious staples of German food culture. While its Christmas markets are world-famous, our research shows it is also home to six of Europe’s 20 highest-rated food markets.

Cologne’s Markthalle Körnerstraße, an independent street food market located in the lively Ehrenfeld suburb of the city, is the highest-rated of them all. Körnerstraße is famed for its kebab Wednesdays, which regularly see locals queuing around the block for its rotisserie meat.

Valencia’s Mercat Central is one of the five best markets in Europe. Its iconic early 20th-century Art Noveau canopy covers one of Europe’s largest food markets. Renowned for its fresh food and produce, the market is also home to some of the city’s best tapas bars.

Valencia’s highly-rated Mercat Central is Europe’s cheapest major market

Despite being one of Europe’s highest-rated food markets, Valencia’s picturesque Mercat Central is, according to our research, also the cheapest major food market on the continent. The average dining experience will cost just €8.42 – a fraction of the price of Europe’s more expensive markets.

Five UK markets also feature among the 10 cheapest in Europe. It would seem that Glasgow’s Dockyard Social offers high value for money, with its 4.6-star rating making it one of the UK’s best. A meal there will cost an average of just £11.88.

Read the full study.

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