www.hofflohmaerkte.de|©Simon Malik Photography

Bavarian way of life Jul 13, 2023

Flea market culture in Bavaria: How odds and ends build community and sustainable consumption

Flea markets have always been popular in Bavaria. And given the recent trend for recycling and upcycling, they are becoming not just a marketplace for private commerce, but also part of popular culture. Come take a tour with us!

Shopping at flea markets is the most sustainable way to buy something: second-hand fashion does not involve any production and requires no raw materials, let alone environmental toxins.
Wear and tear on the environment is slowed down and fewer labour inputs are needed.
Bavarians love flea markets because they are considered an important element for waste prevention and reuse, combining not only ecological but also economic aspects.

If you visit some of the most popular flea markets in the state, you will experience another important aspect that is fuelling the trend: it’s not just good for the environment, it’s also good fun. Flea markets are a way to meet new people and connect through shared interests. As you will see, bargaining is a great way to strike up a conversation and even make new friends.

So here is our round-up of not-to-be missed events all over Bavaria.


“Classic” flea markets: Treasure hunting all over the state

Trempelmarkt  in the famous city of Nuremberg attracts about 200,000 visitors each year (next date: 8-9 September 2023) to the historic streets of the old town. A particular highlight is the night market on Friday evenings which runs until midnight.

Flea markets are also popular in Middle Franconia. In Schwabach, the city centre is transformed once a year into a huge flea market with around 450 exhibitors. Many items are old and second-hand, but a lot of new things can also be found at the largest flea market in Lower Franconia in Würzburg.

The largest “classic” flea market is the one on the Theresienwiese in Munich, measuring 80,000 square meters and featuring over 2,000 exhibitors.

In addition to the traditional flea markets, there are also speciality flea markets, for girls, kids or specific types of vintage goods. These are primarily popular with the younger target group.

Google to find a flea market close to you or visit this “Flohmarktratgeber” (flea market guide).

www.hofflohmaerkte.de|© Simon Malik Photography

Local flea markets or Hofflohmärkte: Neighbourhood nostalgia and sustainability

A new and increasingly popular type of flea market is the so-called Hofflohmarkt, comparable to yard sales in the United States. In the larger Bavarian cities, the Hofflohmärkte have been attracting a cult following for years now. Typically, each city neighbourhood picks a different weekend and neighbours spread their wares in front or back yards or courtyards and welcome not just neighbours, but visitors from near and far.
The Hofflohmarkt is typically a joint community project. Residents of a building or apartment block join forces to make their Hofflohmarkt a commercial and social success. Taking part means being a helpful neighbour and living sustainably, while also offering an opportunity to socialise casually.

As an independent entrepreneur I have always been involved in supporting neighborhoods, their local businesses, culture and hospitality. Neighborhoods have always been important to me. They enable a way of living together that is lively, diverse and authentic. Combining community, sustainability and a love for each neighborhood’s particular character is at the heart of the „Hofflohmarkt” movement.
Rene Götz,
Founder of Hofflohmärkte

www.hofflohmaerkte.de|© Simon Malik Photography

  • Detailed interview with Rene Götz, the founder of Hofflohmärkte minus
  • Many different and decentralised yard sales create a colourful, diverse flea market experience throughout the neighbourhood. Not only can you pick up a bargain or two, but you can also discover the city and its neighbourhood from a side that would otherwise remain closed to you. Each quarter delights with its own character and the charm of the people who live there. It allows you to get to know the city off the beaten path, away from well-known sites and tourist attractions.

    Hofflohmärkte are, as a consequence, also a great community-building event.

    The original idea comes from America, by the way.
    Garage or yard sales were held there even before the 1970s. Neighbouring residents got together to sell things in their yards or driveways. In older TV series such as "Golden Girls" (1990), garage sales were featured in some episodes. The concept was subsequently taken up in the 2000s in several Munich neighbourhoods and streets. Many neighbourhoods began with 10 to 40 participating yards and now have grown significantly, delighting several thousand visitors with up to 300 participating yards and gardens.

    Flea market season 

    Hofflohmärkte are now widespread throughout Germany with 500 dates annually. In Bavaria, they take place in Munich, Regensburg, Planegg, and Würzburg, among other places. Flea market season begins at the end of April and lasts until October. Find dates and locations here.

    A visit to a flea market in Bavaria has become a real experience. Unusual locations, live music, DJs, food and drink, and a relaxed atmosphere characterise the markets nowadays.

    Are you interested in more sustainable leisure activities in Bavaria? Then take a look here and discover six exciting holiday ideas for eco-travelers.

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