No place can compare to a city marketswhen it comes to getting a taste (sometimes, literally) of authentic culture and customs. The perfect spot to mingle with locals, a public market can offer a unique glimpse into daily life in that city. Whether glass lanterns or fresh-picked produce is on offer, these vibrant marketplaces put each region’s personality on full display.
The Grand Bazaar, Istanbul, Turkey
Finish up the Turkey: Istanbul & the Landscapes of Cappadocia tour back in Istanbul at arguably the grandest emporium in the world. At the crossroads of East and West, construction of this world-famous trading post first began in 1455. Today, the shopping labyrinth has transformed into its own little world, spanning 61 covered streets and housing a post office and fire department.
Aalsmeer Flower Auction, Aaslmeer, The Netherlands
A colorful stop on our Amsterdam, Luxembourg & Brusselstour, this horticulture hub is the world’s largest flower auction, selling roughly 20 million flowers each day. Set up as a traditional Dutch auction, the prices start high and work their way down, and while Holland is famous for tulips, Aalsmeer sells flowers from all around the world.
San Lorenzo Leather Market, Florence, Italy
During your free time on the Grand Tour of Italy, explore the outdoor market surrounding the burial place of the famed Medici family, the Basilica di San Lorenzo. Overflowing onto many streets, it sells clothing and tourist trinkets, but the biggest draw is definitely their leather goods.
The Grand Bazaar, Marrakesh, Morocco
End your Portugal, Spain & Morocco tour in this colorful country, where you can explore a maze of festive souks. Selling everything from carpets to olives, a kaleidoscope of bold colors line the many alleyways. Historically, goods were grouped together by type, but today’s souks are slightly less structured.
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, Bangkok, Thailand
Every morning, local vendors pack fresh produce into their small rowing boats and float along a khlong (or canal) to sell their goods to residents and tourists alike. Thai specialties include Malacca grapes, Chinese grapefruits, mangoes, bananas and coconuts. See the scene firsthand on Thailand: The Golden Kingdom.
What’s the best world market you’ve ever been to? Tell us in the comments!