When you think “flea markets” and “antiques”, Poland might not be the first country that comes to mind. On the contrary, cities like Paris, London, Rome or New York City have long been celebrated as the #1 destinations for flea market hunters and vintage enthusiasts. It’s even not uncommon for many travelers & antique lovers to almost exclusively plan a trip to one of these destinations, with the main purpose of visiting the flea markets they host.
But if you happen to be traveling to that part of Europe, particularly if you’re already visiting Germany and its flea markets, you should know that Poland has more to offer than colorful traditional outfits, great spots for backpackers, and delicious food – and vodka!: the whole country literally breathe History!
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From open-air markets to exotic food emporiums, brand-name clothing boutiques to traditional craft stores, Warsaw has all the shopping opportunities travelers would expect from a dynamic European capital. And for money-smart shoppers and flea market enthusiasts, the Koło flea market and the ZOO Market are probably the best places in town.
Located on the outlying area of Warsaw, the Kolo flea market or Bazar na Kole boasts a hodgepodge of top-notch period furniture, so-so quality antiques and other objects of desire. Every Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. till around 2 p.m., this large outdoor market attracts buyers and sellers from across the country, eager to spend a few hours shuffling through heaps of discarded objects and pondering their purchases in food and beverage stands that dish up standard home-style meals.
The Kolo flea market offers a wide selection of both antiques and other artifacts of the past – some fakes. Stamps, watches, vintage wall clocks, furniture, pottery, glass, silver, paintings, advertising pre-war posters, early 19th century postcards, prewar bathroom fixtures, vinyl records, sculpture, rusted German helmets, ammo boxes, shell casings, and thousands of other things found in the county’s basements can be found at the Kolo Bazar.
So if you’ve ever wanted to own a WW1 Prussian helmet or a set of authentic palace doors from India (yours for 16,000zł / $4,200 USD), this is exactly the place you want to visit during your stay in Warsaw.
And don’t forget the golden rule of flea markets: “Haggle at all times””. Paying the price asked by merchants means overpaying. Also, always try and make sure that you are paying for real treasure and not fakes!
Where: Obozowa 99, Warsaw.
When: Saturdays & Sundays from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Get there: Take tram 12, 13 or 24 to the Dalibora stop.
Located along the right bank of the Vistula River, in the historic part of the Praga district and within walking distance from the Old Town, the ZOO Market is the newest flea market in the Polish capital city. It is named after the zoological garden and outdoor terrarium for bears, which is located just on the other side of the street (hence the name and bears in the flea market’s logo).
The ZOO Market is a real gold mine for flea market enthusiasts and bargain hunters. The venue hosts twice a week, rain or shine, approximately 60 stalls that overflow with mid-century modern design from the 50s, 60s, and 70s, vintage clothes and accessories, antique books, vinyl, toys, home decor, a vintage souvenirs from Warsaw, and other knick-knacks.
Because of its location right next to the Dworzec Wileński Metro Station, the ZOO Market acts as a magnet for locals and tourists eager to find a bargain or just browse flea market booths in a relaxed atmosphere. And this is no wonder why hundreds of people flock to this flea market every weekend, to search for a gift idea for their loved ones, or simply to find a new piece of decor for their home.
Where: aleja Solidarności 55, 03-402 Warszawa, Poland
When: Saturdays & Sundays from 11 am to 5 pm
Get there: Dworzec Wileński Metro Station
Another interesting resource on Krakow & Warsaw flea markets: discoverpl.polacy.co.uk
Photo copyright (featured image): Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland