Updated January, 2018
La Feria de Tristán Narvaja is the famous Montevideo street market. I bet that any city resident considers it as legendary as Parisian Flea Market. About a century old, it is as vibrant and a feast for the eyes as it ever been. Sometimes it’s called “flea market”, but I would refrain from this description simply because it is so much more than just a place to sell secondhand goods.
The market runs every Sunday from early morning to mid-afternoon in the middle of Cordón neighborhood. It occupies Dr. Tristán Narvaja Street (which named after the 19th-century lawmaker) between Avenida 18 de Julio and La Paz.
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When the day is just about to start, the area transforms into a strange universe. Greengrocers screaming at the top of their lungs vying for potential customers attention. Exotic birds chirping not from the trees, but from cages stacked in multiple layers. Puppies yapping or impatiently waiting for some kid to convince an unlucky parent to get a pet right away.
Patrons are coming from all over Montevideo and even outside of the city to buy fruits and vegetables, garden plants and flowers, rabbits, kittens, colorful fish and cute rodents.
Foreigners and some Uruguayans come there in search of rare objects sometimes hidden among less prized old knickknacks. Flocks of tourists wondering around antiques and books stalls.
The market is a fantastic motley of myriad things not expected to be found next to each other. Old newspapers and posters, coins and stamps, pets and antiques rub shoulders with new clothes, counterfeit “luxuries” and fruits and vegetables.
Further away from Avenida 18 de Julio, deep in the bowels of the market the scenery changes.
Only partially regulated, the Feria sprawls for five or six blocks along Paysandú and neighbouring streets. There are no stalls anymore and some goods look rather questionable. There is an array of remote controls, an ancient rotary dial phone, a stack of porn magazines from the 70s, a crocheted blanket, a pile of shoes that seen better days…
It is easy to lose track of time browsing the market. The crowd gets thicker closer to noon, there are so many fascinating objects to admire and too many stall rows to check. After a couple hours everything starting to blur into an endless kaleidoscope of colors and sounds. Time to leave… and come back next Sunday for another excursion into the world of curiosities.
By the way, if you get hungry while exploring the market visit Verde restaurant. Their pastas are quite good.
La Feria de Tristan Narvaja Page on Facebook
Calle Tristán Narvaja, 11200
Hours: 7:00 – 16:00 Sunday
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8 thoughts on “Montevideo Street Market: La Feria de Tristán Narvaja”
I love street markets. It´s been 7 years since I visited Montevideo but I think it is still the same 🙂
OMG I would have such a great time exploring this market!! Looks fabulous! I’ve been to so many flea markets around the world and never, never have I seen fish in tanks for sale. What a lot of work!!
Wow great photos! I feel like I explored the market too. I really am not a fan of the term “flea market” especially in Europe when these markets are so much more. Thanks for sharing your insights into this one.
Thank you! I am not sure why some expats in Montevideo call it the flea market. The street market sounds much better and closer to what this la fería actually is.
Love the teapot stall! Not so keen on the caged animals though, especially the poor birds. I’d want to let them all free!
I felt especially bad about poor tiny puppies and kittens. It was such a circus around them.
This looks so nice! You’ve made some great photos! 🙂
Thank you, Rose.