Istanbul Markets: The Most Vibrant and Lively City Attraction

Istanbul is Turkey’s largest city and it’s also becoming one of the most popular travel destinations in Europe. This may be due to the city’s amazing nightlife or its exotic atmosphere, but it could also have something to do with the always fascinating city markets.

In Istanbul you have over 200 markets to choose from every week and strolling round these immense open-air and covered bazars is a definite travel experience.

Istanbul’s Biggest Market

If you’ve booked through one of the many travel companies such as First Choice that offer holidays in Istanbul throughout the year, you’ll no doubt arrive at the Grand Bazaar at some point. This is one of Istanbul’s largest and oldest covered markets, located in the Old City and home to around 5,000 shops within 60 streets.

The market attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors per day who come to browse and haggle over the carpets, jewellery, artisan pottery and antiques. The Grand Bazaar is also a place to pick up authentic spices and traditional Turkish food such as Muska Boregi, those delicious triangle rolls containing a mixture of fillings.


Seek out the authentic spice market

As in any major city you will find traditional markets provide authentic goods at value for money prices. There are plenty of traditional markets in this city and if you’re in the mood to stock up on food and spices then the famous Istanbul Spice Market is the right choice. For around 350 years this market has seen traders selling their wares under a beautiful high domed roof. This is a vibrant and lively place offering not only traditional Turkish food but also products from Iran, Russia, China and India.


Negotiating is a Turkish tradition

Always negotiate (or haggle) on price, it is expected and is all part of the traditional daily life in the Istanbul marketplace. This type of bargaining will help you to achieve, hopefully, the best prices, especially when it comes to antiques, hand crafted goods and leather items. Always let the shopkeeper provide you with the initial price and then begin bargaining. Remember that it doesn’t make good sense to offer incredibly low prices; value for money is what you should be looking for.

Istanbul holidays offer Bosphorus River cruises, amazing mosques and churches, as well as the most atmospheric traditional restaurants. However, it may be the vibrant and bustling markets that will provide the unforgettable memories of a holiday in this city.


Images by Pedro Szekely, Brian Snelson and Marco Bellucci, under the Creative Commons license.

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