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Istanbul Spice Market – Photo Essay

Photo essay from the chaotic and beautiful Istanbul Spice Markets in Turkey.



We love market places. That crazy scene of ordered chaos that spreads through the clogged and narrow alleyways of many Eastern European and Middle Eastern cities around the world.

And the Istanbul Spice Markets is one of the crazier local markets we have been in.

Istanbul Spice Markets – Photo Essay

Istanbul Spice Market

The hustle and bustle as locals go about their daily lives while tourists stumble around in the way of everyone. Shop keepers call out their specials and try to sell their wares to every passerby that sends a shy glance their way.

Dried fruit Istanbul Spice Market

The delectable smells from fresh produce and spices spreads through the hot sticky air. Shirts cling to our backs as the heat seems unable to escape from beneath the high arched dome ceilings above.

It comes as no surprise then that one of the first places we drop into is the Istanbul spice market.

Istanbul Spice Market

We instantly fell in love with the first shopkeeper after he handed us delectable and chewy slabs of Turkish delight. You can definitely taste why it got it’s name! And sharing Chai Tea with them is a delight in itself.

Chai Tea Istanbul Spice Market

Downing a glass of fresh orange juice to wash away the sticky pistachio’s from the Turkish delight we meandered our way through the many criss-crossing alleyways.

Oranges Istanbul Spice Market

We wish that we didn’t have to backpack around for another 10 days so that we could have brought some of the spices to take home and cook with. Saffron, ginger, paprika and chilly all beg to be added to future culinary delights.

Spice Market Istanbul

It was pretty hard to drag Adela away from these gorgeous twinkling lamps. The only saving grace was convincing her that she was going to have to sacrifice one of her many scarves to fit it in her backpack.

Lamps Istanbul, Istanbul Spice Market

Spices in Istanbul Market

With doggy bags packed and sweet-tooths satisfied it was time to head back into the fresh air.

Definitely think we will be back tomorrow to the Istanbul Spice Market and are really hoping that they have markets along the southern shoreline that we can indulge our five senses in while on our Busabout Sail Turkey cruise.

Cole is one half of New Zealand's leading adventure travel blogging couple who have been wearing out their jandals around the world since 2009. He loves any adventure activities and anything to do with the water whether it is Surfing, Diving, Swimming, Snorkeling or just lounging nearby on the beach. You can follow Cole on Google+. Or consider following us via RSS Feed, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter.

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  1. Angela

    April 23, 2012 at 7:29 AM

    Gorgeous pictures, I so loved Istanbul’s Spice Bazaar. Should I go now I’d be in danger of buying EVERYTHING!

    • Cole Burmester

      April 23, 2012 at 8:45 PM

      We are still raving about the Turkish Delight we had there!

  2. Bobbi Lee Hitchon

    April 23, 2012 at 7:59 AM

    Another great photo essay guys. You definitely gave me a feel of the market. Looks amazing! Can’t wait to visit.

    • Cole Burmester

      April 23, 2012 at 8:45 PM

      Thanks Bobbi. When are you headed to Istanbul?

  3. Ayngelina

    April 23, 2012 at 8:21 AM

    The lamp photo is so pretty, great shots.

    • Cole Burmester

      April 23, 2012 at 8:46 PM

      Cheers Ayngelina. It was hard work pulling Adela away from buying them.

  4. Laurence

    April 23, 2012 at 9:06 AM

    Great colours. Really like the picture of the tea stall with the serving scoop sticking up out of it. Funky stuff!

    • Cole Burmester

      April 23, 2012 at 8:47 PM

      We wish we had been able to take away massive scoops of all the amazing smelling spices.

  5. Natalie

    April 23, 2012 at 11:56 AM

    Love the photos. You captured the aura of the spice market perfectly. I am back in Istanbul next week

    • Cole Burmester

      April 23, 2012 at 8:47 PM

      Looks like we will just miss you by a few days then Natalie!

  6. Francesca

    April 23, 2012 at 1:14 PM

    The Spice Market was definitely one of the highlights of our trip to Istanbul, too. We went back a few times, just to make sure we weren’t missing anything. We also were lucky to be able to bring home some spices and tea. Great post, guys!

    • Cole Burmester

      April 23, 2012 at 8:49 PM

      We were gutted we couldn’t buy any as we are travelling around for an extra week and didn’t have the room.

  7. A Montrealer Abroad

    April 23, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    Beautiful and inspiring! So many colors.

  8. Nina F

    April 23, 2012 at 3:33 PM

    What a delightful sensory overload from this market! I would go nuts with the teas and spices, and definitely would not have been able to resist the Turkish delight, either.

    • Cole Burmester

      April 23, 2012 at 8:50 PM

      Glad you enjoyed the photos Nina. We just brought some more Turkish Delight to have after dinner tonight in Eceabat 🙂

  9. Amanda

    April 24, 2012 at 1:01 AM

    Can’t WAIT to see this in person this summer! I love that shot of the hanging lamps.

    • Cole Burmester

      April 24, 2012 at 6:52 AM

      Cheers Amanda. You will absolutely love it! Just go earlier to avoid the crowds 🙂

  10. Shanna Schultz

    April 24, 2012 at 1:05 AM

    OMG this looks amazing! I love markets, and I love the fact that all of the labels in this one are in English. Selfish, I know, but this makes it much easier for us language challenged Americans. When we were in Casablanca, we didn’t buy a whole lot of spices because we only had a short amount of time and couldn’t decipher what each one was.

    Any other tips for must sees in Istanbul? We want to go there soon.

    • Cole Burmester

      April 24, 2012 at 6:55 AM

      I totally get what you mean Shanna about the labels. It definitely helped us out 🙂 We only managed to spend a 2 days in Istanbul (will post more articles soon) but I just recommend visiting everything as soon as they open or just before they close. It is extremely popular with tourists at the moment! The mosques were ridiculously overcrowded with tourists!

  11. Sam and the dunes

    April 24, 2012 at 9:50 AM

    Amazing pictures, very inspiring!

    • Cole Burmester

      April 24, 2012 at 11:56 AM

      Thanks Sam! Have you been to Istanbul before? Love the blog name by the way.

  12. Caro from Passport and a Toothbrush

    April 24, 2012 at 12:34 PM

    Ooooh Istanbul how much I love thee (thy? Is it thy? There’s my attempt at being fancy). Great post guys, I just cannot wait to go back to Istanbul! Are you headed anywhere else in Turkey?

  13. linda @spiceboxtravels

    April 24, 2012 at 4:30 PM

    Hi, love this post! Makes me want to visit Istanbul even more. Will be following you on Twitter now, hope to see you there. (I’m @spiceboxtravels).

    • Cole Burmester

      April 27, 2012 at 9:52 AM

      Thanks Linda for checking us out and glad you enjoyed the pics! Following you back now too 🙂

  14. Linda @EcoTraveller

    April 25, 2012 at 3:17 AM

    Love, love the photos. I have a bit of a thing for markets/food stalls myself… Always manage to end up with more photos of them than anything!

    • Cole Burmester

      April 28, 2012 at 7:00 AM

      I was going snap happy haha. These were just the best ones (well in my opinion) but could have easily loaded up more!

  15. The Time-Crunched Traveler (Ellen)

    April 25, 2012 at 3:22 AM

    These are great photos — wonderful colors! I came smell the markets now! Mmm, and some lively Turkish music in the background. Ahh, great travel memories!

    • Cole Burmester

      April 28, 2012 at 6:59 AM

      So glad we could help bring back some fond memories for you Ellen 🙂

  16. Mike Slough

    April 26, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    Pictures are just awesome man love to see more cool stuff.

    • Cole Burmester

      April 27, 2012 at 9:48 AM

      No worries Mike we will keep putting up our favourite photos!

  17. Sophie HeadingThere

    April 26, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    Beautiful! I think this has to be my favourite April photo essay. Are those apricots filled with hazelnuts? Super cute!

    • Cole Burmester

      April 27, 2012 at 9:47 AM

      Yea all the fruit are filled with nuts and are DELICIOUS Sophie 🙂 Have you ever been?

      • Sophie HeadingThere

        May 4, 2012 at 1:18 PM

        I haven’t been there, but it is on my travel wish-list :)So many places to go…

        • Cole Burmester

          May 7, 2012 at 9:31 AM

          We just got back from Turkey yesterday and already trying to plan how we could get back there as soon as possible!

  18. Wanderplex

    April 27, 2012 at 8:45 PM

    Really vivid, colorful pictures – I can practically smell the spices!

    • Cole Burmester

      April 28, 2012 at 6:58 AM

      We love walking in and being hit by all the smells. Such a chaotic scene but so much fun.

  19. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures

    April 27, 2012 at 11:09 PM

    Gorgeous shots!

    • Cole Burmester

      April 28, 2012 at 6:57 AM

      Thanks Andi 🙂 Have you been to the spice markets or Istanbul before?

  20. Ali

    April 30, 2012 at 9:01 PM

    Andy and I were just in Turkey a couple weeks ago, and we loved Istanbul. I wasn’t a big fan of the spice market because it was so crowded, but somehow the Grand Bazaar seemed more manageable. Wider halls maybe? We did buy some spices at the spice market though, I believe the guy just called it “Turkish spices.” And we bought chili pepper at the Grand Bazaar. We put that stuff on everything while we were in Turkey!

    • Cole Burmester

      May 6, 2012 at 3:58 PM

      The chilli flakes they have at all the restaurants are AMAZING! We brought some back to the UK with us so hopefully it is as good.

  21. D.J. - The World of Deej

    May 1, 2012 at 10:23 PM

    Awesome tour…like I was there myself!

  22. Liv

    May 7, 2012 at 10:58 AM

    Great photos guys – you really got in there! I love the markets in Turkey (all of them!) The people are so friendly without the aggression you feel in some parts of the world.

    • Cole Burmester

      May 7, 2012 at 4:23 PM

      Was less crazy than Cairo that’s for sure! We found that everyone was happy just to chat with us rather than try to convince us to buy something.

  23. Courtney Mroch

    May 7, 2012 at 9:55 PM

    Okay, so where exactly was the spice market? We saw signs for it when we were in the Grand Bazaar, but we couldn’t seem to find it exactly. We did pass a sort of market with spices on our way to the Grand Bazaar. (We were coming from where you could get the fish sandwiches on the boats. We walked in this alley and BAM! Suddenly there were shops and stall everywhere. But it wasn’t the Grand Bazaar yet. We still walked several blocks before we reached it.)

    Your pics are great. I really wish we found the Spice Market. Did they sell the apple tea loose? Oh man, that was my husband’s favorite. I liked it too, but he could not drink enough apple tea. Wish we’d bought some to bring home. (Not sure why we didn’t.) I did bring home a small desk lamp though. (Was afraid to try and transport one of the hanging ones.) Your photos of them are great. I fell in love with them too. VERY neat to see this article after having been to this wonderful city. I better appreciate what the heck you’re writing about.

    • Cole Burmester

      May 10, 2012 at 10:06 AM

      Sounds like you walked through a part of it Courtney! We didn’t go to the Grand Bazaar ourselves as heard the Spice Markets were a lot better (more authentic). They sold everything lose including a range of teas and spices for every occassion 🙂

  24. Danny

    May 9, 2012 at 9:22 PM

    Istabul is one of the most vibrant cities I have ever visited!

    • Cole Burmester

      May 10, 2012 at 10:23 AM

      We loved it and could easily have spent a lot more time there Danny 🙂

  25. Christy @ Technosyncratic

    May 12, 2012 at 2:51 AM

    Yum!! Do they give you samples? 😉

    • Cole Burmester

      May 13, 2012 at 12:08 PM

      You bet Christy! We were filled up just walking through it without buying anything haha. But then felt bad and went back through and brought lots of the nicest stall owners 🙂

  26. Aniruddha

    June 21, 2012 at 3:45 AM

    This is a great photo essay! We (from U.S.) are planning a trip in late August and want to visit Istanbul, Fethiye and some historical places on the coast between them. Our only concern is our son who wil be 13 months at the time! Your blog only inspires us to go though! Thanks!

    • Cole Burmester

      June 23, 2012 at 7:06 AM

      Sounds like you have an awesome trip planned! Did you see our Sail Turkey write ups? I am sure your son will love the warm water 🙂

  27. Lauren @ roamingtheworld

    January 9, 2013 at 10:03 PM

    great photos. I also missed the spice bazaar but did manage to buy a lamp! Ha.
    It was too hard to leave Turkey without one!

    • Cole Burmester

      January 16, 2013 at 11:33 AM

      We just couldn’t fit the lamps in our backpacks (luckily haha).

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5 European Cities to Visit in the Dead of Winter



As one of the most polarizing seasons, winter could be termed as both a blessing and a curse by those who like making the most out of nature.

After all, while it brings about the opportunity to build snowmen and to ski on magnificent ice slopes, it also brings a chill to the bone and a desire to never get away from the fireplace.

Don’t forget about the hot chocolate either.

That is why, when it comes to vacationing in winter, it gets quite difficult to choose from a location – especially when the destination is as diverse in climate as Europe. Do you select a place that’s sunny and warm? Or somewhere that lets you enjoy the ice and cold in the best ways possible?

To make that decision easier for you, here are 5 European cities that you could visit in the dead of winter, with the assurance that you would come out of the vacation phase with a smile on your face.

Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona is a city that is synonymous with sunshine, warmth, and some of the world’s most breathtaking architecture.

The temperature rarely drops below 45 degrees even in the coldest months of the year. While the sunshine remains present amidst the rainy days. This means that you can enjoy the best effects of winter without having to endure the worst of them.

If you happen to be a fan of football, then these effects can be increased by several times. This beautiful city is home to one of the greatest football clubs of all time and with Barcelona FC in contention for a championship virtually every year, odds are you’ll be walking out with a smile on your face after watching a win. Not a bad way to take a break from the beach!

Athens, Greece

While you wouldn’t be able to go to Mount Olympus’ mythical version in this day and age, you can still experience Greece’s magnificence through the beautiful city of Athens.

Like Barcelona, Athens also sees rare drops in temperature while being consistent around 45 degrees throughout the heaviest months in winter. With the architecture that you can experience under the sun, this weather can actually be ideal for an exploratory walk.

And if you are a fan of Greek food, then checking out local restaurants for authentic dishes would only add to the overall experience of your trip.

Venice, Italy

Since Italy is full of some of the most breathtaking architecture in the world, it would be quite debatable to say that Venice is the crown jewel of the country in terms of structural beauty.

But it is.

From the way that the city has been designed to the manner that the buildings have been developed, Venice remains a breathtaking sight for anyone who visits it.

That remains true even in the months of winter, where the does drop to around 30 degrees, but still provides the tourists and inhabitants with a way to enjoy the magnificent sights under the sun.

Zugspitze, Germany

Germany is considered to be one of the coldest countries in Europe, but it is a good thing for those who enjoy a bit of snow during their travels.

And for those who do, there are perhaps not many places that are as marvelous as Zugspitze in terms of a memorable winter experience.

With snow covered mountains and a temperature that dances around -14 degrees in winter, you can enjoy an array of winter sports such as skiing, sledding, and snowboarding to your heart’s desire. If you are one to enjoy snow and everything good there is about the season of winter, then Zugspitze is the place to go.

Marseilles, France

While Paris gets quite cold in winter without the weather enhancing any effects of life within the city, Marseille seems to be quite the opposite. The city is as lively in the winter as it is during its busiest days in summer, with plenty to do in adjacent areas.

You may visit the many architectural sites and tourist attractions in Marseilles itself, but you can add to that experience when you choose to visit the Christmas markets in Aix en Provence or Avignon.

With that, the many warm and steamy French soups and bouillon based dishes that you can enjoy in Marseilles only add to the trip. This means that by the time you are done with your visit to Marseilles, you are bound to be fed well, have some goods in your shopping bags, and some memorable pictures in your phone to boot.

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Even the Most Expensive Cities Have Cheaper Alternatives: Paris



According to the results of The Economist Intelligence Unit’s “Worldwide Cost of Living” survey, Singapore, Paris, Zurich, Hong Kong, and Oslo are the most expensive places to live – and visit – this year. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t visit them, though – actually if your budget allows it, you should cross them off your bucket list as soon as you can. But this doesn’t mean you have to break all your piggy banks and sell your soul only to spend a weekend in one of the most expensive cities in the world. Unless you’re adamant that it’s “Paris or bust”, there are alternatives to this crowded and top-dollar destination you might want to consider – and start saving for your dream trip nonetheless.


Lyon has a history of almost two millennia, and it shows: the remains of the Roman settlement Lugdunum, built at the confluence of the rivers Saône and Rhône, are showing to this day. Lyon might not be a capital city – it doesn’t have the size or the population – but its role in the everyday life of France was always important, both as a trade and a cultural hub.

The city has many gorgeous sights to see, like the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière, the Tour Métallique (a tall TV tower that replicates the top of the Eiffel Tower), among others, covering every age from the birth of the city to its modern times. Plus, it has museums, parks, gardens, and a street art group that has been designated the cultural ambassador for the city. Not to mention its cuisine, the unique and popular Lyonnaise cuisine that has become a worldwide sensation.


A relatively small city in the north of France, Lille is another charming alternative to a crowded and overpriced Paris. It features many distinct architectural styles, most of them with a clear Flemish influence. Among its landmarks, you find its Cathedral (Basilique-cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-la-Treille), its Citadel, its palaces, and gardens. Lille is also the place with the biggest flea market in Europe – Braderie de Lille takes place on the first Sunday of September, with millions of attendees and over 10,000 sellers gathering in the streets of the city. It’s a charming, agreeable, and colorful city that will offer its visitors a beautiful experience.


Last but not least, let us mention a city with a double significance – on one hand, it’s the official seat of the European Parliament, on the other, it’s a wonderful place to visit and a great alternative to an overcrowded Paris.

Strasbourg is a place where French and German architecture mingle in a unique way, with an Old Town filled with timber-framed houses surrounding typical French landmarks and churches. It also has many notable parks, some with historic significance, and almost too many museums for its small size. Plus, it’s a distinctively multicultural city where visitors will find it easy to fit in.

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Let’s Do A Road Trip In Europe Fin



Its that time of year again. It is the holidays and vacation, mirth and much merriment is upon us. Those of us who are lucky are able to take a few days to a few weeks off for vacation and can enjoy it abroad or do a staycation. A trip abroad is probably preferred, there’s so much to see and do, it would a pity to while the days away in your own hometown.

Get a move on, grab your bags, get a ticket and jump on a plane to Europe. When you get there, rest for a bit and begin your road trip. Nothing beats traveling on the road and taking all the sights that nature has to offer while stopping by at different locations.

Remember, a road trip can be very feasible and pleasant if it is done right. Make sure to have your car inspected, checked and ready to go for a long distance road trip.

You’ll want to make sure that you have your oil checked and your tires as well. Proper tires from suppliers such as Kwik Fit will get you squared away and ready to hit the road.

Oh, The Places You’ll Go


One of the top places that you’ll want to go is in Austria. There’s this little spot called Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse, this spot is one that is talked about by road trip aficionados of all kinds.

The Grossglockner is the opposite of what it sounds like, it’s not gross at all, it’s quite pleasant actually.  The path will take you through different sights ranging from mountain tops to rivers, to rock formations and more. What’s fun about this place is that you will also be able to have different changes in the road itself, it is not just one straight path but one that is filled with turns and changes to keep you from getting bored.

Italy and the Amalfi Coast

Italy is a place that won’t disappoint, it has food, culture, and history to keep you company. Italy also has beautiful sights all over too. One of the best places to drive through would be the Amalfi Coast.

The Amalfi Coast has everything you could possibly want, beaches, cliffs, and beautiful fishing villages. The place is not only beautiful in nature but in culture as well. One can check out the Cathedrals, Villa Rufolo, engage in some boat tours for a quick respite from their road trip and also view the Sirenuse from afar.

Portugal – The Estoril Coast

Drive from Italy, pass by countries such as France, Spain and reach the destination of Portugal. You will find the climate and the overall setting over here to be appealing.  On your way to this beautiful place, make sure to check out popular spots such as Lisbon and other prominent locations such as Sintra. The Estoril Coast was home to the nobility of ages past and even to those that we see as nobility today, celebrities, wealthy people and tourists with a couple of euros or dollars to their name stop by this place and immerse themselves in the manmade and natural attractions that this place has to offer.

Don’t Hesitate, Time Stands Still For No One

Time is slipping, check out budget and look into which part of Europe you want to stick to. Make the decision and take the trip, it will be a great refreshment and you will be glad you were able to have the experience. Take a few snapshots and indulge in the experience of #RoadtripsofEurope

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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