For a splash of colour or some decidedly scary food on a stick, head to the world’s best souks, markets and bazaars with our Bitesized guide to summer markets. A bit of adventurous spirit and some good negotiating skills are all you need.
Jaipur Bazaars, India
Jaipur, Rajasthan, is famous for its precious stones (diamonds, emeralds and topaz) and bright-coloured textiles. Major jewellery stores are located in the Jauhari Bazaar, while the Tripolia, Kishanpol, Bapu and Nehru Bazaars are just some of the various other markets of Jaipur offering anything from fabrics and carpets, to handicrafts and leatherware.
Shop for: jewellery and colourful fabrics.
Otavalo Market, Ecuador
Latin America’s finest market, Otavalo, is not only known for its shopping, but also its cultural significance, dating from pre-Columbian times. Saturday is the biggest market day for both locals and gringos. Arrive early to see the market unfold and experience the bustle. Don’t forget to pick up some bright weaves.
Shop for: colourful bowls and textiles.
Open: Saturday only, all day.
Grand Souk al-Hamidiyeh, Damascus
The Grand Souk al-Hamidiyeh is the most famous souk in Syria. This covered market brings much-needed relief from the Syrian capital’s heat. Sackfuls of spices, sweets and soaps are all on offer, as well as the local speciality of rosewater and almond-flavoured ice cream topped with pistachio nuts, available from the country’s oldest ice-cream parlour, Bakdash.
Shop for: spices and antiques.
Open: open daily until 2100.
Donghuamen Night Market, Beijing
Famous for its unusual street food, this night market is the place to head if you fancy tasting deep-fried insects (from beetle to larva, they’ve got it all), snakes and seahorses – as well as other animals, and animal parts, not typically found on your dinner plate. Even for those not keen on adventurous eating, this crackling atmosphere is not to be missed.
Shop for: unusual skewer treats like scorpions on sticks.
Open: everyday after dark.
Waterlooplein Flea Market, Amsterdam
The city has a long-established market tradition, with the first stall dating from 1783. Today, there are 12 daily outdoor markets and 15 more open on select days. The Waterlooplein Flea Market, located behind the red light district, is the oldest and most interesting.
Shop for: clothes, ranging from trendy T-shirts to old military uniforms, and spray paint.
Open: Mon-Fri: 0900-1730, Sat: 0830-1730, closed Sun.