Istanbul is a marvelous city, filled with history, delicious food, and sights to enjoy, however, did you know that you can also make great deals while shopping there?
Yeah, you probably did. Istanbul is known as an international destination for shopping fanatics, however, one could easily get lost trying to find the best market and the best products.
Well, fear no more, I am here to be your guide in your adventure, I will list the best places to shop, help you find them, and give you some tips on how to hassle for the best prices.
“Let’s get started, shall we?”
Bazaar, from the persian Bazar,means market, and the Grand Bazaar is Istanbul’s largest covered market, with a number of stores, estimated at 4000, you can shop for everything, from apparel, to carpets, to home decorations, and when hungry, you can try some authentic turkish food at the countless restaurants scattered all over the Bazaar.
This place is also great for sight-seeing, like the Divan Yolu, the avenue linking Sultanahmet to Beyazit Square, the large square located near the Bazaar, which also should not to be missed.
Feel free to bargain your way around the Bazaar, as it is the status quo around the area, and make sure you read until the end of this article for bargaining tips, as well as a color-coded guiding map for where to find what you want to buy.
Also, don’t be afraid to let yourself get lost in the market, just make sure you don’t have a confused look on your face, as it can attract the attention of some dangerous fellas, just relax, and enjoy your surroundings, and stop worrying, you will always find your way out.
Egyptian (Spice) Bazaar
This is the place for food snobs, spices, dried fruits, Turkish delights or Lokum, sausages, cheese, are only a few of what you can find here, and you can check them out at any day you want, as it is open all week, and the entrance is free.
Located only a few blocks away from Rustum Pasha Mosque, at the southern end of Galata Bridge, and right next to the New Mosque, locating this market shouldn’t be a tough task, so make sure you stop by if you are in the area, especially since it wouldn’t take more than an hours to check out what it has to offer, and remember to walk on the Hasırcılar Caddesi street, the market’s most colorful and busiest street, with many stores selling spices, snacks, and housewares.
Arasta refers to the shops built near or beneath a mosque, these shops are rented by locals, and the rent pays for reparations of the mosque. This should tell you, that this market is located near a mosque, it is indeed the Blue Mosque, one of the most famous sights of the city, so it should be easy to locate this Bazaar.
This market offers a variety of products, from carpets and Turkish tiles, to apparel and souvenirs, and at the northeastern end, you can find coffee shops and restaurants, where you relax and unwind, while enjoying your turkish coffee or tea.
Beyoğlu district’s busiest street, with Taqsim Square at one end, and the Galata Tower and Tünel Station at the other, this streets is one of the most popular streets in Istanbul, with turkish and international brands lined alongside it, shoppers are sure to find what they please.
Dedicate an entire day for this 14-km-long street, filled with shopping malls and luxury shops. Located on the Anatolian side of Istanbul, it is Europe’s longest shopping street, boasting international brands such as Michael Kors and Tommy Hilfiger, and turkish brands like Vakko and Beymen as well.
The best place is a stretch between Bostancı and Kızıltoprak, where you can take a stroll, or get your coffee to go from the countless coffee shops there, and enjoy on one of the benches scattered all alongside the street.
Not to mention, book lovers will be delighted to find out that there is a small spot where they can enjoy a book (or two) at D&R, where you can find a variety of books in english and turkish.
Other notable streets to shop in are Abdi İpekçi Caddesi, in the Nişantaşı neighbourhood, which is often compared to other european cities such as Paris… and the Nispetiye Caddesi, located near Akmerkez, one of the largest malls of Istanbul.
1- Allow yourself to know the market, don’t start buying from the first shops you come across, get familiarized with the price ranges before you reach for your pocket.
2- Don’t be generous with your reactions, if you like something, make a little happy dance on the inside, and act cool on the outside, remember, the key is to play hard to get, and while you’re at it, don’t be afraid to walk away from a shop if you don’t like the price, worst case, you avoid an expensive purchase, best case, the salesman follows and makes you a deal.
3- Insist that the shopkeeper gives you the price, instead of asking how much you’ll give for it, and if you end up buying several products, ask for a decent discount.
4- Don’t feel obligated to buy something, if the price is high, drop what you’re holding and walk away.
Grand Bazaar Guide Map
Since the Grand Bazaar is pretty big, one could easily get lost in it. Luckily for you, Istanbul Trailway has prepared a map to help you not only find your way around the Bazaar, but also find what you are shopping for. The map is also color-coded, making it even easier to use.
Leather (brown on the map)
Gold Jewelry (yellow on the map)
Silverware (yellow on the map)
Antiques (orange-brown on the map)
Copperware (İç Bedesten)
Carpets (orange-brown on the map)
Handbags, Briefcases & Suitcases (pink on the map)
(Cheap) Clothing (Sandal Bedesten)
Fabric (purple on the map)
Belly-dancing costumes (pink on the map)
Ceramic & Souvenirs (pink & green on the map)
Click here for an even clearer version of the map.
And there you go, a complete Istanbul shopping guide to satisfy the shopaholic within you, so don’t forget to share with us what you have found in these spots, or tall us if we failed to mention some location.
Have a Look at Other Destinations Travel Guides
Istanbul is a shopping paradise, but it's just one of the many shopping paradise destinations in the Mediterranean. How about reading our Montenegro travel guide ? It is a wonderful place to visit, too!!
Have fun making it rain.
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