Whether we ship the physical mementos of our travels home so we can hold onto the memories or because they are simply impossibly chic, one thing is certain: Keeping an eye out for singular finds is an undisputed pleasure of traveling.
“Sometimes antiques have a certain warmth, quality and durability that we don’t see in today’s highly manufactured pieces,” says Suanne McGregor, project manager of the artist-designed rooms at Toronto’s Gladstone Hotel. “Capitalizing on unique finds not only yields great monetary value but is also an opportunity to mix old and new for a timeless look.”
Antiques aficionados know that routing trips through Paris and Brussels, the great stalwarts of European antiquing, can yield fantastic treasures. But traveling even farther afield—to Mumbai, for example—can offer wonderfully curated stores stocked with everything from traditional Indian furniture to Victorian porcelain. Likewise, Cape Town, South Africa, is not only a striking place to visit but also a top destination for vintage maritime accessories and African fine art. And in China, the antiques markets of Beijing are a testament to the country’s rich cultural tradition, but the sheer quantity of goods can be overwhelming.
Let us separate the dross from the gold. Our list of the world’s best spots for hawk-eyed antiques hunting will help you track down gems like painstakingly hand-painted glassware, furniture from all eras and everything in between.