If you’re heading off on your Mediterranean family holidays, Turkey is more than likely to be one of your first choices. The ubiquitous trio of sun, sea and sand are obviously the biggest draw cards, but Turkey has a lot more to offer than that. Not only is Turkey steeped in a fascinating history (the remnants of which are some of the most important archaeological signposts in the world), it also has a proud and colourful culture. It’s not hard to shop, eat and drink like a local on your family holidays; Turkey has some of the most wonderful shops and bazaars you will ever see. If you’re visiting Istanbul, whether you’re looking for food, souvenirs, spices or art you will find a market tucked around every corner.
The Grand Bazaar Istanbul
The Big Daddy of all markets, the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul is home to over 5000 shops and stalls. If you can’t find it in the Grand Bazaar, it simply doesn’t exist. Gold and silver jewellery, fabulously exotic antiques, metal and copper object d’art, leather goods and hand painted ceramics are just a selection of the treasures you can find. When you are travelling with children on your family holidays, Turkey’s biggest undercover bazaar is a fascinating and exciting attraction for kids of all ages. They will love the smells and sounds of the bustling bazaar. The Turkish people love children, so they will be entertained and embraced by the locals. While it is a good idea to stay close and keep tabs on the family, the Grand Bazaar has a safe and friendly atmosphere and is an ideal day out in Istanbul.
The Spice Market Istanbul
Whilst not strictly for the children, an excursion to the wonderfully aromatic Spice Market in Istanbul should still be included in the itinerary of your family holidays. Turkey is renowned for its exotic spices, fruits and nuts and these markets will have your head spinning and your mouth salivating with the selection on display. The first thing that hits you is obviously the smell, which permeates every nook and cranny of the markets creating a delightful, if at times overpowering, scent. Row upon row of jewel coloured spices line the stalls in huge baskets and the aisles are crowded with locals jostling for the lowest prices. As with any market in Turkey, the first price is never the last price and haggling is a way of life, so don’t be shy to ask for a discount. Why not involve the children in the fun of purchasing some precious spices to take home as a souvenir – you may find they get a better price than you!
Tahtakale Market District
Situated in between the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Markets, the Tahtakale Market District is the most authentic taste of Turkey you will find. Almost exclusively patronised by locals, the streets of the district are lined with shops and stalls selling everything from handkerchiefs, beads, food stuffs, luggage, clothing, kitchen utensils, wooden furniture and toys, to mosque decorations and even firearms. A fabulous place to visit on your family holidays, Turkey’s genuine way of life is on display through the sights, sounds and colours of the Tahtakale Market District