Berlin is the capital city of flea markets and visiting these iconic institutions is a great way of spending a couple of hours of your weekend (singles watch out: there is a strong possibility of starting a flirt with a handsome stranger at the innumerous stalls) but as I walk along the Spree towards my first destination, the Arena Indoor Flea Market, feelings of smallness start to unsettle. In fact, I could not have chosen a worse day to venture out into flea markets – it is freezing cold, bloody foggy and there is mud everywhere due to the melting snow and I cannot stop thinking to myself that only a strike of luck will prevent me from slipping and falling into the river. It would not be the first time…
Arena Treptow Indoor Flea Market
The quickest way to get to the Arena is to take the S-Bahn to Treptower Park and then cross the road where angry drivers pretend to be Vin Diesel in “Fast and the Furious II”. However, once you are safe on the “good side of the road” it is just a 5 minute walk straight to the market. Chaotic and cheap and with no sign of outdoor exhibitionism, its location could not be more “berlinesque”; housed in a warehouse in the Arena complex and next to the Spree-side nightclub (which has its own rather hipster flea market) it is open during the weekend from 7 am to 6 pm and once you cross the entrance the place is a colorful hot mess that smells like old records. It is a space for everybody and visitors and stall owners mix with each other within a maze that possess everything you may desire. Also, each compartment seems to have its own theme (and every stall its own radio) – from bronze ducks to outfits straight out of the 90’s, prices are quite reasonable and stall owners are always willing to negotiate prices. Carpets (or “Teppiche”) also predominate and I am sure that my mother would be the last one to leave them (thank you mom for traumatizing me in Morocco when I was nine).
photos: Andrea Padoan
Flea Market at Mauerpark
Surely the most popular, this market and I are old friends. It is my absolute favorite and after a rough start in the morning, I was only thinking of the curly-shaped pommes and the 50 cent bargains that only this market can offer. Located in the district of Prenzlauer Berg, this cherished market is quickly becoming one of the city’s favorites due to its miscellany and diversity. Open every Sunday since 2004 from 8 am to 18 pm, Mauerpark is also a crowded leisure ground and a site of sustainable improvised nightlife and with food in my hand, not even the cold keeps me from making my way into the Bearpit karaoke (as a spectator that is) one of the main attractions in the area where everyone can improvise and make their performance. And while I enjoy my meal and get some rest before getting ready to explore the next market, I refrain from laughing out loud at the poor fella who thinks he is Eminem. If you are taking the S-Bahn, Nordbanhof is your station.
Flea Market at Straße des 17. Juni
It is 3 pm and I have arrived at Straße des 17. Juni. Perhaps one of the oldest antique markets in Berlin, this open-air market is located in Charlottenburg, right at the Tiergarten’s edge (S-Bahn Tiergarten) and it is clearly aimed at an older and wealthier public. Since most of the vendors are professional merchants, it will be difficult to find a bargain – the very layout of this market is much more organized and spacious and the high-quality items in display are carefully cleaned and orderly arranged. There are also fewer food stalls (which sell mostly fries) than in other flea markets however, for those who are fond of Art, Straße des 17.Juni can be quite attractive. Opening days/hours: Saturday and Sunday 10 am to 5 pm.
photos: Original Berliner Trödelmarkt
Flea Market at Boxhagener Platz
Open only on Sundays from 10 am to 8 pm, this was the very first market I visited when I moved to Berlin back in October. As I had never been into a flea market before, I was immediately charmed by its merchandise, products, and other goods but I also recall that there was quite some useless junk. However, the atmosphere is great and vinyl records are the best part of what this market has to offer- with prices ranging from 4 to 20 euros, for a girl who once worked in a record store, cheap records are always a temptation. Located in the popular student district of Friedrichshain, this is one of the most frequented markets and there is also a spacious garden where you can also chill and grab some food (you can also buy vegetables and fruit in here during the week). Prices are okay but not dirt cheap. U-Bahn: U5 Samariterstr.
This small selection is basically the most important and big ones in Berlin. There are also lots of smaller ones in other dirstrict, some of which you can find with the help of this useful feature and map about flea markets in Berlin.
Text: Matilde Velho Cabral
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Matilde Velho Cabral is a Portuguese girl in love with the colorful corners of cities and the melancholic beauty of words. She published a poetry book, studied Law and recently moved to Berlin to do a MA in Convergent Journalism. She loves to communicate and wants to discover the intertwined patterns of those who inhabit Berlin. Often she likes to hear whale sounds and her favorite book is “Lolita”.