Street Food Stand in Palermo

These 3 historic markets in Palermo inspire with Arabian flair

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Looking for that special culinary experience? Palermo's markets are at the heart of the city centre and most of them date back to the Arabic domination. Immerse yourself in a world with Arabian flair. The colours, sounds and spices of the historic markets will delight you. We present the 3 Palermo markets you should visit. Let's go.

This is what you can expect in this article:

  1. La Vucciria Market: From meat market to lively meeting place

  2. Ballarò Market: Multiculturalism meets pure culinary delights

  3. Market del Capo: In the centre of the historic city centre

  4. City map with the presented markets

Ciao, I am Adriana.

I'm a host at BnB Dolcevita and I hope you like my article about the markets. It is part of our Palermo travel guide.  More about us!

Host Adriana

#1 La Vucciria Market: From meat market to lively meeting place

La Vucciria is Palermo's most historic market. It is located in the old town around Piazza San Domenico, between Via Roma and the harbour, and is particularly appealing for its colourful variety of foods. The Mercato della Vucciria became known as the butchers' market (bucceria), but over time other traders joined in, making it an increasingly large and lively part of the city.

The noise level created by the constant hustle and bustle probably also gave the market its name, which translates as "voices". Still covered by arches at the time, the market now enjoys being a popular outdoor destination. So if you are planning a trip to La Vucciria market, don't forget to pack a pair of sturdy shoes and sun protection. The market is wonderful to explore on foot and is a real paradise for foodies. The vendors at the stalls are mostly Sicilian farmers and fishermen who sell fresh fruit, vegetables, fish and a fragrant variety of spices. 

Fruit stall at the Vucciria

A fruit stall at the market in Vucciria

Photo: © Robin Marx - BnB Dolcevita 

But La Vucciria market doesn't just have something to offer during the day - night owls in particular get their money's worth here. For about 20 years, the area has been one of the most important places when it comes to nightlife in Palermo and has thus developed into a gathering place for night owls. Towards evening, when the traditional food stalls close, the street food here is particularly popular with young people, students and people on a tight budget.

The Vucciria fills with life towards evening  

The Vucciria fills with life towards evening  

Photo: © Robin Marx - BnB Dolcevita 

So if you want to experience Palermo's nightlife up close, you can feast here for little money and be entertained by various street artists, live music or lectures on the side. If you want to really let it rip, head to the Piazza Garraffello. The dilapidated area with ruined houses radiates a very special atmosphere and is a stomping ground for young people, DJs and all party-loving tourists who can enjoy themselves here until the early hours of the morning.

Stand at the Vucciria

In the square of the Vucciria, many fresh dishes are offered towards the evening  Photo: © Robin Marx - BnB Dolcevita 

Opening hours & address

Mon.-Sun.: 09:00-20:00

#2 Ballarò Market: Multiculturalism meets pure culinary delights

The Ballarò market is not to be missed. At over 1,000 years old, it is the oldest street market in the Sicilian capital and probably one of the liveliest in Europe. Wind your way through the narrow medieval streets and get a glimpse of Palermo's past as one of the most important trading centres. The numerous alleys lead from Piazza Ballarò to Piazza Carmine.

The market is the loudest in Palermo. The lively market is located in the multicultural neighbourhood of Albergheria, which means you will hear many other languages here besides Arabic. The Ballarò market got its name from the nearby town of Bahlara, which was home to merchants of the Arab domination. 

The Ballarò market with a church in the background

The Ballarò market with a church in the background

Photo: Robin Marx  - BnB Dolcevita

In addition to the oriental charm of the market, you will be equally delighted by its diverse selection. Like most markets in Palermo, the market offers fresh food such as fish, meat, fruit and local specialities. But the market also makes the hearts of all fashion lovers beat faster. If you're looking for something unusual, you're sure to find what you're looking for while browsing through the many stalls of vintage fashion.

Those who have had enough browsing and need a little break can then take a seat at one of the small wooden tables and try one of the local specialities. How about a fried aubergine stuffed with meat or cheese? The very brave should definitely try a traditional spleen roll. The spleen is cooked, sliced and served in a sandwich with some cream cheese or lemon. 

A stall with delicious Sicilian food at the Ballarò market

A stall with delicious Sicilian food at the Ballarò market

Photo: Robin Marx - BnB Dolcevita 

The Ballarò market can be visited all week long. However, to avoid large crowds, it is best to plan your visit in the late morning. Its central location near the main railway station also makes it perfectly accessible by public transport. 

Opening hours & address

Mon-Sat: 07:00-19:00 Sun: 07-13:00

#3 Market del Capo: In the centre of the historic city centre

The del Capo market is located in the eponymous il Capo neighbourhood and is the right choice for those who like it a little less touristy. Nowadays it is much smaller than it used to be, but it is just as busy as the other markets. It is noticeable that the market is a bit quieter than the other markets. For us, it is the best market during the day.

You will find a wide selection of fresh food here, including mainly fish, but also other delicacies as well as fruit, vegetables or fine meat.

Stand with polpo and other food at Mercato il Capo

Stand with polpo and other food at Mercato il Capo

Photo: ©  Robi Marx  – BnB Dolcevita

Pedestrians stroll through the Mercato del capo

Pedestrians stroll through the Mercato del capo

Photo: ©  Robin Marx  – BnB Dolcevita

Adriana at the Mercato del Capo buying olives  

Adriana at the Mercato del Capo buying olives  

Photo: ©  Robin Marx  – BnB Dolcevita

The location of the del Capo market is very central. If you decide to walk through the historical market, you will pass many interesting and historical places. Start at Via Porta Carini, where you will find the famous gate of the same name, which used to be part of the fortress wall and now serves as the symbolic entrance to the Market del Capo.

 

Continue your stroll along Via Beati Paoli and Via Volturno and admire the imposing Chiesa di Sant'Agostino church on your way or take a detour to the nearby Teatro Massimo. 

Entrance to Mercato il Capo via Porta Carini

Entrance to Mercato il Capo via Porta Carini

Photo: ©  Robin Marx  – BnB Dolcevita

Opening hours & address

Mon-Thu + Thu-Sat: 07:00-20:00 Wed + Sun: 07:00-13:00

Our tip:

Palermo is a very safe city. Nevertheless, pickpockets are on the rampage in the markets. Therefore, you should take special care of your valuables while visiting the markets. Also, be careful not to carry too much cash.

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City map with the three featured markets

View of Palermo from the roof of the cathedral

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