Yalikavak is generally a quiet fishing village with restaurants dotted along the beach, cafes full of locals enjoying fresh pastries and coffee and little gift shops full of arts and crafts. However, on one day a week this little seaside town comes alive when the biggest market on the Bodrum Peninsula pitches up on the town square. Each Thursday locals and tourists flock to buy everything from fruit and veg to underwear.
The market is situated right next to the dolmus (bus station) station at the top of the town but you can easily find your way there if you just follow the crowds. Locals can be seen heading down there from around 8am with shopping carts ready to be filled with tasty local produce. It is best to head down early for no other reason than the later it gets, the hotter it gets underneath the canopies that cover the large market space.
The market is predominantly split into two areas; one for food and one for all other goods including clothing, home furnishings, handbags and accessories.
The food market is great if you want to stock up for your self catering holiday. The fruit and vegetables on offer all look so fresh and juicy and it is very reasonably priced compared to what you may pay in supermarkets (although these are still cheap compared to what you would pay in the UK.) There are rows after rows of stalls selling every herb and spice you could ever wish for and nuts and seeds galore. The locals working on the stalls are friendly and more than happy for you to ask questions or try a sample of the goods on offer. If you have a sweet tooth you will love the huge range of nougats and Turkish delight that you can choose from. Argan Oil is indigenous to Morocco and you can stock up at the market. It can be used for a number of purposes including in cooking, as a salad dressing or dip and it is also reportedly great for dry skin or damaged hair so stock up here as it is expensive in the UK!
The other half of the market is filled with stalls selling everything from friendship bracelets to ‘designer handbags.’ As soon as you walk into this part of the market be prepared to get your bartering skills going! Do not ever settle for the first price offered to you. If you want a relaxing shopping experience this is probably not the place to come to. The market traders are there to make a sale and you will be constantly spoken to and encouraged to buy things. Don’t pay too much attention to this, if you are not interested just move on. The traders are aware that there are probably 5 other stalls selling the pair of shoes you are looking at so they will be very prepared to sell them at a rock bottom price rather than have you go to the next stall and buy them there!
Whilst bartering is all part of the shopping experience in Turkey you should also remember that this is how many of the locals make a living so offer them a price that you feel is realistic. The quality of the handbags and purses is generally very good and if you pay £20 for a Mulberry replica rather than £800 you have done pretty well!
The market can start to feel a bit like groundhog day with many of the stalls selling the same things but if you go with an idea f what you want to buy and you stick to your guns you can get some really great bargains. On the way out of the market there are also some lovely craft stalls selling jewellery and ornaments that make great gifts for people. A trip to the market is a must, even if it is just to experience the sights and smells of the biggest market on the Peninsula (although you are sure not to come away empty handed!)