Whatever the weather, you can enjoy a spot of browsing, buy fresh produce and indulge your taste buds in one of Germany's many market halls.
If you like people watching and experiencing regional character at first hand, then your first port of call on any visit to a new city should be its market hall. Nowhere else is the atmosphere more authentic than in venues where people have been coming to shop, trade and talk for around a century or more. Feast your eyes on the fresh products from local producers or try one of the local delicacies. Wherever you look, people are buying, tasting, weighing or exchanging tips, and there's always time for a little chat across the ample displays. And if the sights and smells whet your appetite, you won't have to venture far to satisfy your hunger, as some of the local dishes are often served right there in the market halls. In among the stalls you will discover welcoming counters, plentiful seating and steaming pots.
But which market hall is Germany's most beautiful? Alte Markthalle, the old market hall in Kassel, is a Renaissance gem with around 70 stall holders under one roof. In contrast, Kleinmarkthalle in Frankfurt is almost hidden away near Hauptwache square, but inside it offers a superb selection of goods over two floors. The 120-year-old Markthalle Nummer 9 in Kreuzberg is a real institution in Berlin that has been brought back to former glory. It focuses on locally sourced, sustainable produce and even houses its own brewery. At the heart of Stuttgart lies the Markthalle, an amazing art nouveau building where all sorts of fresh foodie delights are on sale across its 5,000 square metres of floor space. These are just some of the many market halls found across Germany where you can sample the finer things in life, no matter what the weather. For more information, visit www.markthalle-stuttgart.de/en and markthalleneun.de.