The Most Picturesque Farmers Market in Europe
A farmers market in this fairy tale setting takes place twice weekly on the banks of the river Reuss just before it flows into Lake Lucerne—and it is a jewel! I've been to many markets in Europe, but I've never seen a prettier backdrop for gorgeous flowers, vegetables, and other culinary delights.
Farmers markets are deservingly high on the must-visit lists of every local and tourist because food is one of the most delightful ways to get to know a culture, practice the language (if you know food vocab, you're pretty much set in life, right?), and pick up artisanal products for souvenirs and gifts. Even if I mostly dine out while I travel, I still love to visit markets to peruse fresh produce, pick up some local fruit to nibble on, or buy fresh flowers for my hotel room or as a hostess gift. If I'm at home, markets are even more important as they offer a great way to get to know the producers firsthand--and even request if they can start growing certain varieties (I recently asked a farm for watermelon radishes). Markets are also where I go to find really special varieties. When the usual veggies at the supermarket become humdrum, I know cooking inspiration is just a market away! I can be just as excited by a gorgeous variegated Castelfranco radicchio as a pair of Jimmy Choos! (Okay, it’s a one day pleasure versus a decade of well-heeled steps, but a lot cheaper!)
The open air Lucerne market also has food vendors that cook up delicious world cuisines, but you can buy your fish, meats, cheeses, eggs, baked goods, and freshly made pasta there too, but I most love organic farm stands for local, seasonal goodies and heirloom veggies. The last time I was at the market, I got separated from my husband and didn’t have enough cash (some vendors are cash only) to pay for my goods, but the lovely people at Biohof (German for "organic farm") Widacher told me not to worry and that I could pay next time. I don’t know them personally as I haven’t lived in Switzerland in five years, but that’s Switzerland. Really honest and trusting people! (I eventually found my husband who had more cash so we could pay for our delicate micro greens, heirloom tomatoes, and courgette flowers.)
After strolling and shopping through the market, you’re still in the heart of lovely Lucerne where you can then pop into a cafe, or visit French architect’s Jean Nouvel’s KKL, which houses a museum, concert hall, restaurant, and cafe—and has a fantastic view of Lucerne and the lake from the terraces. Or, if you fancy, you can buy a Swiss watch at one of the numerous shops in the old town.
The market is in the center of Lucerne on the river banks a stone's throw from the KKL and held every Saturday from 6am - 1pm with a smaller version on Tuesdays at the same time. Arrive early to snag not just the best produce, but also the better parking spots!
Until soon . . . ade! (Swiss German for adieu/tschüss/ciao)