Get lost in the maze of alleyways at Istanbul’s famous market, the colourful Grand Bazaar. Bustling and often chaotic, your senses will be overwhelmed by sights and sounds as you walk from stall to stall, watching craftspeople at work.
With more than 4,000 shops to explore, set aside a full morning or afternoon, or ideally an entire day, to browse the items on offer. As you wander through the market you’ll see everything from spices to slippers, handcrafted jewellery, lanterns and traditional clothes, making it the ideal place to go souvenir and gift shopping.
As the biggest covered market in the world, the Grand Bazaar is huge. It has 22 exits though, so you can easily tackle it section by section. Have a go at bartering with the enthusiastic sellers as you try to get the best bargains. If you prefer, take a guided tour through the market.
Your journey through the Grand Bazaar will be thirsty work, so make sure you stop for a traditional tea and try the delicious food. There are lots of cheap eats, including doner kebabs, wood-fired pizzas, Turkish delight, baklava and dondurma (Turkish ice cream).
The Grand Bazaar is open from 9am to 7pm every day except Sundays and bank holidays. After the chaos of the market, find a traditional hammam and relax in the spa-like surroundings. Go into the steam room before being scrubbed in the Turkish Bath, and finish with an oil massage. After a busy afternoon of bartering, you’ll come out feeling like a new person.