Here is your guide on where to shop in Istanbul. We have all of the best shopping in Istanbul locations and list what you can buy while there.
Istanbul, the European Capital of Culture, is the largest city in Turkey. Intricated with beautiful jewels of historical architecture, the city had remained an imperial capital for around 1600 years, when after world war I, Ankara took its place as the capital of modern Turkey.
Historically known as Constantinople, Istanbul is one of the only cities on two continents, Asia and Europe. And the culture and traditions of this city depict both the modernism of Europe and the traditions of Asia.
Best Places To Shop In Istanbul For Souvenirs
Istanbul, a shopping hub, is a paradise for tourists in terms of shopping. While shopping in Istanbul, you can buy traditional crafts, Turkish carpets, tea cups, metalware, or even the world’s best spices. Whether food items or gift souvenirs, Istanbul is the right place to buy all kinds of stuff. Here is a list of some of the best places for shopping in Istanbul.
One of the best markets in Istanbul
The most famous market in Istanbul is the Grand Bazaar. Dating back to the 15th century, Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar caters to more than half a million buyers daily. In the Grand Bazaar, you must keep an eye out for buying world-famous Turkish carpets, gold jewelry, souvenir magnets, silk shawls, and metal wares.
Like a medieval mall, the market is a covered shopping area with around 3000 stalls. In the Grand Bazaar, you can buy Turkish and Middle Eastern, and Central Asian artifacts. Some of the most common of these international artifacts are embroidered textiles from Uzbekistan.
What souvenirs we brought home with us from the Grand Bazaar
Best shopping street in Istanbul for vintage clothing
Unlike any ordinary street, Istiklal jadesi, arising from Taksim Square, is a marvel that you should have on the best shopping in Istanbul list.
The road has been a famous shopping Istanbul destination since the times of the Ottomans and now has all the big brand names, perfect for clothes shopping in Turkey – and it also has many vintage items to bargain for.
Another reason why Istiklal Street is famous is its architecture – the buildings here are so beautiful. You can buy clothes in Istanbul while enjoying the historical atmosphere of the place.
Istanbul Spice Bazaar
One of the best Istanbul markets
If you are a spice addict like me, and you love to experience the flavors of different spices in your food, the Egyptian Spice Bazaar is where to shop in Istanbul for you!
The Egyptian spice bazaar is located yet in another building, which was made during the Ottoman Empire by the tax received from the people of Egypt.
Although named a spice bazaar, the place also deals with trading nuts, dry fruits, herbal teas, halwa, food products, lokum, and dried flowers. Some of the exotic spices sold here include Aleppo pepper and pomegranate molasses. With these spices, you can take the Turkish flavor back home. Honey sold here cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
What souvenirs we brought home with us from the spice bazaar
One of the very famous markets in Turkey is the Galata, located around the Galata tower in Istanbul. On the shores of the Bosphorus, this market is a rising star in selling small souvenirs to tourists from all over the world. This market is yet another Istanbul shopping place that is a piece of art, perfect for fans of historical architecture who also love to shop.
Built on the Italian architectural style, the Aznavur Passage was created by the Aznavur family in the late Ottoman period. The place is known for the large number of cafes and restaurants that it houses. Aznavur passage comprises a nine-story building that sells the most brilliant hats, bags, and ornaments. If you have kids with you, they will love this place because it sells terrific toys.
Arasta bazaar, located in Sultanahmet the tourist hotspot you have to head to. It is found close to the very well-known Blue Mosque. The bazaar’s history dates back to the reign of Sultan Ahmet Khan, who designed this bazaar to be part of the Blue Mosque. Its revenue was used for the mosque. If you want to buy Turkish handicrafts in a less crowded area than Grand Bazaar, Arasta bazaar is the place for you.
The place is home to the sellers of Turkish ceramics and textiles. The area is famous for the best quality ceramic wares in Istanbul. Hand-painted Iznik tiles constitute a significant artifact being sold here.
What souvenirs we brought home with us from the Arasta Bazaar
Tourists like to visit Balat for shopping because it is emerging to be one of the most popular Istanbul shopping spots. The Balat bazaar is famous for selling antiques. Besides visiting the Balat bazaar, tourists can feast in the Balat and Fener, neighboring districts, for delicious Mediterranean cuisines.
Most of the stalls and shops in this bazaar trade item on auction. You can visit this bazaar and buy a handful of antiques at auction at meager prices.
Ali Muhiuddin Haci Bekir
An affordable shopping in Istanbul spot!
Last but not least, Haci Bekir is a place for festive people who have a thing for sweets. Hands down the most famous Turkish shop for buying delights and lokum. There is a large number of shops, which will provide the tourists with traditional Turkish delights and candies. You can fill your stomach and take bundles of them in beautiful packing back home.
Here, You can find all varieties of lokum, including traditional flavors like pomegranate, mango, lemon, orange, peach, rose water, and pistachio. Some other famous confectioneries traded here include sugar-coated almonds and pistachio-stuffed halwa.
The place to be if you are staying in an apartment, as this is the place for fresh herbs, veggies, seafood, and all other kinds of fresh food. We loved the local honey and tried fruits the best! While there, you can also souvenir shop here for herbal & olive oil soaps and skincare.
The markets in Istanbul, Turkey, are not only there for buyers; they also are a fabulous feast for the eyes because of their Ottoman architecture. Tourists adore Istanbul for being a hub of traders and love to buy all sorts of stuff here.
So, if you plan to visit Istanbul soon, make sure you visit these bazaars and places to buy magnificent items for yourselves and your friends.
Tips For Shopping In Turkey
Be sure to get your haggle on. When you visit the colorful and rather loud bazaars and markets in Istanbul, you need to learn how to haggle to purchase anything. This means being a little cheeky but to the right point only!
Ask how much something is and then come up with a price you want to pay for it, avoiding robbing them blind. Somewhere in the middle should do it. The vendor will then wave their arms around and huff and puff a little (jokingly, of course) before you meet somewhere in the middle of the two prices. And there you have it – a bargain! Only try bargaining in markets, not stores, as they’re likely to tell you to leave!
Here is your step-by-step guide to haggling…
- Carry cash with you (Turkish Lira)
- Know the market and what they sell
- Check out several shops and ask the price at each to give you an idea of what the item is worth
- Do not show enthusiasm for the item
- Decide the maximum price you will pay (in your head, of course!)
- Let the seller tell you their opening price – look disgusted at his outrageous offer
- When the seller asks you what you will pay, offer 50% less than what you are prepared to pay
- Go back and forth until you reach an agreeable price – unless you don’t, in which case, walk away and try somewhere else. It may take you some practice
Now that you know where to shop in Istanbul, we hope you pick up all your souvenirs in Istanbul cheaply!