One advantage of Israel's sunny skies nine months of the year is the plethora of outdoor shopping and specialty markets vending everything from local souvenirs to Middle Eastern antiques, foodie delicacies and handmade goods by local craftsmen. The Israeli market (or 'shuk') is a fabulous way to spend your day, among other top attractions you’d be mad to miss. From the Carmel market to Mahane Yehuda, we've mapped out a host of places to shop 'til you drop…with the sun on your back. If you find yourself with a post-haggling adrenaline rush, release that energy at one of Israel's many festivals happening nearby.
Shop 'til you drop at these Israeli markets
An intoxicating fusion of colors, scents and sounds, Mahane Yehuda is Jerusalem’s biggest and oldest market. The stalls here sell everything from fresh produce to clothing and in recent years, Mahane Yehuda has also become a yuppie hub with designer boutiques and top chef restaurants.
Specializing in fresh produce and clothes, Carmel Market is Tel Aviv’s largest and busiest market. With dozens of stalls selling fresh meat, fish, fruit and vegetables and the likes, you can take in all the sights, sounds and smells the Carmel Market has to offer while hunting for the cheapest bargain. The market is especially busy on Fridays, so be sure to get there early for your Shabbat fixings.
Poor quality bric-a-brac lies alongside vintage treasures and antique furniture in Jaffa’s flea market. Of all the places to work your haggling skills, this is it. Even just wandering among the clothes stalls, traipsing around secondhand stores or grabbing some authentic street food is enough to make for a blissful day.
Sarona Compound, a 140-year-old former Templar colony, is the first culinary center of its kind in Israel. An 8,700-square-meter market houses dozens of specialty food shops from all around the world. Inside the market, you’ll find everything imaginable from Dutch cheese to waffle towers and even Asian buns. Just outside the indoor market, dozens of clothing, book and shoe stores line its lanes, interspersed with lily ponds and grassy areas to relax.
The flea market in Haifa's Lower City is a gem for vintage lovers and collectors, but a recent facelift has opened the area to the wider public. On weekdays, the market is quiet, operating solely during morning hours, but it comes to life on Saturdays and Sundays selling everything from old enamel utensils and used sneakers to ornaments and cut class.
With a distinctive Arabian nights feel to it, the Arab market – or souq – located in the Christian and Muslim Quarters of the Old City is a labyrinth of alleyways lined with shops selling everything from handmade jewelry and exotic scarves to hookahs and ceramics.
A symbol of coexistence between Arab and Jewish residents, this small, yet colorful market in the heart of the Wadi Nisnas neighborhood has been a sensory celebration for decades. It’s flooded with bakeries, delis, coffee shops, fresh seafood, falafel stands, restaurants, fruits and vegetables..
Running the length of Levinsky Street in South Tel Aviv, Shuk Levinsky has a massive range of products, from dried fruit to soaps, spices and nuts. The Levinsky Market is filled with cuisine from cultures all around the world and has ingredients that provide the perfect addition to just about any meal. Among the stores to visit are bakeries, delicatessens and restaurants. Certain shops and restaurants are unique to the shuk, and cannot be found anywhere else in Tel Aviv. The magic Shuk Levinsky lies in the deep history of culinary growth and discovery, stories that continue to appeal to local residents and foreign visitors alike.