Top 10 Markets
Chris’ personal picks from places in the world that he has visited.
Christmas Markets, Germany: These unique and traditional markets are held in cities, towns and villages throughout Germany from the last week in November to Christmas Eve and are a refreshingly non-commercial and festive way to experience regional foods and crafts, such as toys, candles and crib figurines.
Grand Bazaar, Istanbul Turkey: This Aladdin’s Cave of shoppers in Istanbul is one of the largest covered markets in the world with more than 58 streets and 4,000 shops, and up to 400,000 visitors daily. Partly constructed by Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror around 1460, it is well renowned for its jewelry, pottery, spice, leather and carpets.
Camden Market, London UK: This was my local market when I lived in London and is often described as “London’s favourite market”. Atmospheric and picturesque, you never know what you are going to find here, and as a bonus, it is right by the Regent’s Canal and just a 10 minute stroll to Primrose Hill - London’s finest viewpoint.
Straw Market, Bahamas: Although Nassau’s original Straw Market burned down a few years ago, this market still thrives with around 200 vendors selling a range of straw products such as straw baskets, mats, hats, and more, all handmade. You'll also find woodcarvings, masks, statues, jewelry, sea shells, and more.
Landi Kotal, Pakistan: OK, this is not your typical market, but it is one of the most fascinating places I have been to. It lies on the highest point of the Khyber Pass at 1,072 metres above sea level on the Pakistan and Afghan border and is the main bazaar for both the Shinwari and Afridi tribes for everything from rice to Kalashnikov rifles.
Witchcraft Market, La Paz Bolivia: El Mercado de las Brujas, the Witches' Market, is located in downtown La Paz, and is where local Aymara people come for their magic charms and remedies. You can buy love potions, amulets to improve your sex life, dried frogs for more money, armadillos to deter house thieves.
Night Market, Hong Kong: Located on Temple Street in Kowloon this shopping Mecca features rows of brightly lit stalls hawking an astonishing variety of inexpensive items including clothing, pens, watches, CDs, cassettes, electronic gadgets, hardware and luggage. It is open from 4pm to midnight, but really comes alive after sunset.
Floating Market, Bangkok Thailand: The Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is actually situated 110 kms west of Bangkok and is a noisy, smelly, chaotic but wonderful place to see the traditional Thai way of selling and buying fruits and vegetables from flat boats piled high with fresh produce on the 'khlongs' or canals.
St. George’s, Grenada: Grenada's market is one of the most colourful in the Caribbean. It is at its very most flamboyant on Saturday mornings: full to bursting, bustling, all tables laden with fruit, vegetables and, this being Grenada, exotic spices. All set out on rickety tables, shaded by colourful umbrellas.
Flower Markets, Madeira: My favourite is the Lavradores (‘Workers’) Market in Funchal - a sensual feast for the eyes, ears, nose and mouth. This colourful fruit and flower market sells an array of exotic and mouth watering fruits grown locally on the island; the flower sellers wear traditional garb of corselets, leather boots and striped skirts.