Istanbul's double offering
Many people visit Istanbul just to experience the Grand Bazaar, one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, given it was built in 1461. But Istanbul actually has two vast markets which are open every day. With over 4,000 shops, the Grand Bazaar sells just about every product you can imagine, while the Spice Bazaar is dedicated to food, spices and edible souvenirs, especially lokum, or Turkish delight.
Open between 8.30am and 7pm every day, except Sunday, you’ll need at least three hours to take in the Grand Bazaar’s main areas. But if you want to spend some time browsing, drinking Turkish tea and exploring the narrow side lanes where you’ll find artisans at work, this will take considerably longer. To get the most out of your experience you can book a guide to steer you in the right direction and help you with some bartering tips.
The Spice Bazaar is another sight to behold with bright displays of spices, herbs, fruit and nuts sitting beside pieces of equally colourful Turkish delight. Open daily from 8am to 7.30pm, it’s worth just walking around and taking in the tempting smells.