The best markets in Istanbul
Markets in Istanbul come in all stripes, and will sell you everything and anything. The wealth of markets in Istanbul is one of the things that makes the city so vibrant. It’s here, more than anywhere else, where the hackles will rise on the back of your neck in an indication that you are witnessing the truly exotic (and this despite the fact that tourism in Istanbul is growing rapidly and millions of tourists got there before you did). Here are five of our favourite markets in Istanbul.
The Grand Bazaar-Obviously, we couldn’t write about Turkishmarkets without featuring the Grand Bazaar. Not for the faint-hearted, the Grand Bazaar, which is one of the biggest covered markets worldwide, contains over 3000 shops, and attracts up to 400,000 visitors each day. Selling spices, jewellery, lamps, fabrics and pottery, this labyrinth can only be comparable to a cross between the Ideal Home show and the Arabian nights. Open until 7 pm and closed on Sundays. Where: Hilal Sk 29.
The Spice Bazaar- Just down from the Grand Bazaar is the Spice Bazaar (also known as the Egyptian Bazaar), which you’ll probably smell before any of your other senses latch on to its existence. Full of tourists, and so it should be – heaps of spices like coloured sand, delectable chunks of lokum (Turkish delight) and overgrown dates make this market highly photogenic. A sensual chaos that elephantine shopping centres sorely lack.Open until 7 pm and closed on Sundays.Where: Marpuccular Caddesi 7.
Fatih Market-Normally called the Çarşamba (Wednesday) market, this sprawling middle-class establishment is more of a local affair than tourist fare. This means, of course, that you can buy authentic Turkish goods like enormous stilettos, along with food, household items and almost everything else you could dream up. Although it lacks some of the glamour of the Spice Bazaar and the Grand Bazaar, this market still offers an incredible variety of merchandise in a more down-to-earth setting. Open on Wednesdays, opening hours vary. Where: At Pazarı Sokak.
Inebolu Market-Jewel-like jars of mulberry and rosehip jam, amber honey, bursting pomegranates and thick, sweet suzme yoghurt… this market is a veritable display of nature’s bounty. Like manna from heaven for those with sensitive tastebuds, this is food as it should be. Just make sure you stay clear of the wild mushrooms. Open on Sundays, and closes at 4pm. Where: Toprak Tabya Sok.
Yeşilköy (Green Village) Market- A well-to-do market boasting floral displays, tea, cafés and fine cheeses, as well as the ubiquitous designer rip-offs and a pretty decent selection of makeup. More laid-back than other markets, here you can browse practically in peace. Many stalls even accept credit cards, although be warned that prices here are often higher than in other markets. Open on Wednesdays, opening hours vary. Where: İstanbul Cad. 76/C.