With more than 40 permanent antique shops and around 350 weekly exhibitors, Tongeren (which claims to be the oldest city in Belgium) hosts one of the largest weekly flea markets in Belgium. Located in eastern Belgium about 90 minutes from Brussels, Tongeren welcomes visitors every Sunday to stroll through its city center to see what treasures can be found.
Although the official times for the market are from 8am to 2pm, bargain hunters who want to find the best items need to be there much earlier when the vendors are setting up their booths in the early morning. Don't oversleep or have a long, leisurely breakfast as some dealers already start packing up by noon, eager to head back home for the evening.
Buyers who don't want to miss any of the action often will spend Saturday evening in or near Tongeren so that they can get an early start. There are a number of charming farmhouses in the area that have been converted into B&B's, with a few of them also having their own restaurant where you can enjoy dinner and drinks. One that I recently stayed at was Hoeve de Sterappel, located just outside the city center. Others in the area include De Dobbelmolen B&B and Lisa's Weelde.
Tongeren is near the border with the Netherlands and the Dutch city of Maastricht, a short 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) drive away. Maastricht is distinguished by its medieval-era architecture and cobbled Old Town. It is definitely worth a visit.
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