Southern Europe is known for its many exciting markets, and Crete is no exception in that regard. In most cities, the markets are mostly for the locals, but in the resorts, of course, there is also a strong focus on the tourists.
Traditionally, products such as meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, olive oil, spices, honey, wine, raki and sometimes live chickens and rabbits are traded. If there are many tourists on the market, goods such as clothing, leather, ceramics, gold and silver can also be found. On some of the latter items, it is often possible to negotiate the price – and it is important to pay attention to counterfeit goods.
Heraklion (Monday to Saturday)
Crete’s most populous city also has most markets. The highlight is the Pateles market, which is held in a huge square on the Itanou road about 1.2 km south of the port of Heraklion. There are most stands on Saturdays, but it is also held on Thursdays.
The markets on the street 1866 is smaller, but historically the most important. It was here that the rebellion against the Turkish supremacy started in 1866. Back then – and many decades ahead – it was the city’s most important market, and everyone who lived within the city walls traded here. The market is a great experience and held daily. Do not miss out on the delicious freshly baked loukoumades and also drop by one of the city’s oldest cafes, Sarantauga.
Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 12:00 to 18:00, there is a market in Heraklion’s largest park, Georgiadis Park. The special thing about this market is that all products are organic and are sold by the producers themselves. In the park there is also a small café and a children’s playground.
Chania (Monday to Saturday)
Chania is known for its large, beautiful market hall, inaugurated by the Greek Prime Minister in 1913, just three days after Crete became part of Greece. In the market hall it is possible to buy all sorts of fresh foods, such as meat, cheeses and fish. Clothes, ceramics and some tourist goods are also sold. It is open every morning from Monday to Saturday, as well as in the evenings on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
There are also good street markets in Chania. The largest is held on Saturdays in Minoos street near the harbour, and on Thursday there is a market in Akti Kanari street in the north-west of the city.
Rethymnon (Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday)
Rethymnon has three markets, and the most popular is held on Thursdays in the parking lot of the park in the center of the city. Nearby, on Koumoundourou Street, there is a bit of an unconventional market on Wednesday afternoon (starting at 1pm). On Saturday there is a small market just north of the bus station in the western part of Rethymnon.
Agios Nikolaos (Wednesday)
In Agios Nikolaos there is a market every Wednesday. It is held in the parking lot of the city’s public hospital.
In Elounda there is a market on Friday morning. The market is right by the harbor, so it is not surprising that there is a good selection of freshly caught seafood.
Every Saturday there is a market in Mires, a town of 6,500 people in southern Crete. The market attracts several thousand local residents from the area, and it is claimed to be Crete’s largest traditional market.
Timbaki is a medium-sized city in southern Crete. Every Friday there is a market on the city’s main road, and it is especially farmers from the area who offer their products here. There are not many tourists in the area.
In the resort town of Kolymbari there is a small market every Friday. Worth visiting if you are nearby, but otherwise it is better to go to market in Chania (24 km to the east).
Lerapetra is located in southeastern Crete, all the way to the coast. In Lerapetra there is a market on Saturdays and the market is more traditional (less touristy) than many other markets in Crete. The market is held on Psilinaki street near the bus station.
Voukolies (Easter Friday)
The last market on the list is a bit of a specialty. It is held on Easter Friday at Easter in the village of Voukolies, located 8 km south of the Chania coast. The town is known for keeping traditions alive, and at the annual Easter market many family/friends gather from surrounding villages.