Israel’s markets are stunning. I’ve found one-of-a-kind items, better produce, met friends at markets and have sharpened my haggling skills. My family that comes to visit always wants to go to the markets to see what new, exciting goods they have available.
Haggling at markets is common in the States, and in Israeli, there are a few differences. I didn’t want to offend vendors, so when I first moved to Israel, I just paid the full price on items I wanted and didn’t haggle at all.
But then I started to ask friends that had the same items I had, and they all paid different prices.
They haggled when I didn’t. I am not much for confrontation.
What I learned was that you can never haggle at stores – I never tried. From what I understand, store prices are final, so there’s no haggling involved. You want to haggle when you go to markets. Everyone is competing at markets, and most of them are in the Old City of Jerusalem.
You’ll find markets in Samaria and Judea. Jaffa also has a nice market.
The Nahalat Binyamin Street market is a great place to go shopping, and it’s a stunning experience for anything creative. You’ll find a variety of handmade products at the market, so when haggling, make sure that you’re offering a very fair price. The handmade items come from small vendors that are trying to make a living doing what they love.
Performers are also at the market, so if you have family in town, bring them by for an experience of a lifetime with musicians and street performers. I’ve also found some markets selling vintage items. I picked up a collection of vintage style rugs.
Open-air food markets, called “shuk or souk,” are a tribute to the ethnic cuisines of Israel. You’ll find fresh produce and other goods at these markets. If you want to learn about culture, this is where you should go.
Major cities almost always have a food market of some kind.
Emek Refaim Market is open on Friday, and these markets are in areas that have high American populations. You’ll find everything, from specialty products to baked goods, lemons, jams and other artisan goods.
Tel Aviv’s Carmel Market is one of the best markets for foods, but you’ll find a few stalls where you can haggle prices down – electronic and t-shirt stalls primarily. These stalls are often hidden, but they have a few great bargains if you’re in the market for a new shirt or electronic.
Carpets and even livestock can be found at the Bedouin Market, which offers traditional goods along with clothing and carpets.
Arab goods can be found at the Nazareth Market, which is one of the markets that is the “least Jewish.” Seasonal Middle Eastern products can be found in the Nazareth Market along with household products, spices and produce. It’s a great experience. Netanya’s Municipal Market is another great option for jewelry and clothing, which you can almost always strike a bargain on.
Markets are a part of life in Israel, and if you want to find unique products or just meet locals, these markets are the best places to go.