Antwerp is a city full of markets, some of them happen weekly, others monthly and a few yearly. The Exotic Market is a weekly one, it happens every Saturday, and it’s crowded with local people. It’s called “exotic” because some of the stalls sell products from Marocco, Turkey and so on. But don’t think that when you get there, you’ll find yourself in the middle of an exotic paradise, most of the tents commercialize local products.
There you’ll find a bit of everything, olives, cheese, spices, fruits, flowers, fresh pasta, clothes, warehouse utensils and more. But what I like the most is the free tasting that a few of the tents offer to the visitors, and you can try as many as you want (what a nice and delicious idea).
If you want to eat for real, you’ll find a few places as well, the options vary. There are some other tents in the surrounds; they sell watches, perfumes, and a lot of other stuff (not sure where they come from).
The Exotic Market was the first market I visited in Antwerp; I remember I got crazy about the cheese (I bought a few) and also about the free tasting (I couldn’t resist to them). I was like “Let me just observe the locals if they are really tasting everything so I can do the same”. One time I got so many tasting dips that a little girl started staring at me (Ops!).
In the area, you’ll also find several restaurants, cafés, museums, and shopping streets (Meir is a famous one). The market takes place at the Theaterplein every Saturday; it starts at 8 am and ends at 4 pm, which is great because you don’t have to wake up so early. Visiting the Exotic Market is a great way to start your weekend, if you are a food enthusiast, you don’t want to miss it when in Antwerp.
Here are the highlights of the Exotic Market in pictures
When? Every Saturday (except on public holiday) from 8 am to 4 pm.
Where? Theaterplein, 2000 Antwerp