The fragrance of flower petals, saffron, and cinnamon wafts through the air in these bustling, exotic, and colorful bazaars and souks. Ker & Downey takes you on a trip around the globe to some of our favorite spice markets. Add them to your next journey for total sensory immersion.
Bazar-e-Vakil, Shiraz, Iran
This 11th-century vaulted market is a maze of lanes selling carpets and crafts. However, it is the pungent spices sold in canvas bags and bowls that really stand out. Scents and samples invite travelers to dream of the delicious Persian dishes and drinks infused with saffron, cardamon, and mint. It’s no wonder it remains one of our favorite spice markets in the world.
Khari Baoli, Delhi, India
Indian food is known for its rich spices. As such, the Khari Baoli provides a dizzying array of nuts, foods, and spices to whet any appetite. Since the 17th century, vendors have sold spices like turmeric and crushed chili in cone shapes, ready for the next chef to scoop them up. Tea leaves at this favorite spice market are also on display, perfect for a cup of creamy chai.
Spice Bazaar, Istanbul, Turkey
A vivid palette of color awaits in our favorite spice market in Istanbul. Indeed, this market was constructed in 1660 as a last stop for camel caravans traveling on the Silk Road from China, India, and Iran. But it isn’t just a market for spices; this maze-like bazaar also sells foods, art, trinkets, clothing, flower petals, and everything else imaginable and is a true shopper’s delight.
Mellah Spice Souk, Marrakesh, Morocco
Curious foodies will find Moroccan saffron and an exotic spice blend of more than 30 ingredients among the spices sold at very affordable prices. The heaping cones in vibrant colors are almost too pretty to disturb, but the scents tantalize your senses.
Mercado Benito Juarez, Oaxaca, Mexico
Chilies, chilies, and more chilies. That’s what you can expect at our favorite spice market in Mexico. The oldest market in Oaxaca has been around since 1893 and is a blast of sights and smells. Wander around and find rows of stalls selling colorful local crafts and spicy cayenne.
Dubai Spice Souk, United Arab Emirates
Take a deep breath and dazzle your senses with the aroma of cinnamon and peppercorn. Then walk along the narrow lanes and bargain on baskets of spices, dried fruit, nuts, rose petals, and incense. For a fragrant tea, use the boiled dried hibiscus sold here.
La Boqueria, Barcelona, Spain
Third and fourth generation sellers proudly show off their seasonings at this favorite spice market. Additionally, you will find produce, meats and local ingredients. This is certainly a place to people-watch and pick up the ingredients for a pot of paella in this sizzling Spanish city.
Ker & Downey’s Favorite Spice Markets
Spice things up on your next journey with a jaunt through our favorite spice markets. Contact your Ker & Downey travel expert to begin planning your own custom adventure. And for even more travel inspiration, follow us on Facebook and Instagram.