Summer travel is often an intimidating, serious business (you need to steel yourself for bathing suit shopping, and every spot is crammed with tourists), but May is the time for unscheduled larks. A proper spring holiday requires little more than a pair of sandals and a desire to meander in the warming weather. So this month, instead of structured tours or crammed itineraries, we’ve chosen two destinations that promise unlimited opportunities to wander, browse, and discover. And shop. We’re not kidding: pack light and leave space in your suitcase, because you’ll be coming home with some truly glorious finds.
The Grand Bazaar, Istanbul
Istanbul’s famous covered market was established in 1461, 30 years before Columbus landed in the Americas. It spans 60 streets, honeycombed with thousands of shops and stalls, and crammed with copperware, carpets, Turkish ceramics, amber prayer beads, glowing mosaic lanterns, rosewater, frankincense and myrrh, giant sacks of old coins, alabaster carvings, textiles … this list just scratches the surface. Book a spot at Hypnos Design Hotel. Its 11 rooms are individually designed, and the results are whimsical and intriguing: nothing like the generically sleek, beige boxes usually found in upscale hotels. Rooms start at $150 per night. Visit hypnoshotelistanbul.com for more information.