Straddling Asia and Europe, Istanbul is a cultural melting pot and has long been at the heart of trade and commerce. The city’s vibrant cultural and commercial life attracts visitors from around the world eager to soak up the magic of Istanbul’s bazaars and stalls, hoping to take a piece of the Orient home with them. Before you head off, take a look at our guide to the best five markets in Istanbul.
With more than 5,000 shops, the Grand Bazaar well and truly lives up to its name. One of the largest covered markets in the world, it’s a hub of commerce and entertainment, with traders and tourists taking part in a daily display of bartering. Be sure to explore the 64 lanes for hidden boutiques and workshops where everything from jewellery to silverware is up for grabs. A trip here is a truly unforgettable Istanbul experience.
Grand Bazaar, Beyazit
For those looking for a slightly less frantic experience, Yeşilköy’s weekly Wednesday market operates at more of a relaxed pace. The market has a reputation for high-quality products, including everything from silk scarves to make-up products. Most of the 2,000 stalls accept credit cards, an added bonus, and there are also a number of inviting cafés in which to recover after a busy morning shopping.
Yeşilköy Market, Yeşilköy Halkali Caddesi, Bakirköy
If you are looking to pick up some edible souvenirs from Istanbul, we recommend heading to the Spice Bazaar. Specialising in spices – as its name suggests – along with dried fruits, nuts, olives and Turkish delight, the market has been supplying the finest gastronomic delights since 1664. Most vendors will supply vacuum bags, perfect for transporting your gifts home with you, while those looking for fresh food will enjoy the cavernous market just outside.
Spice Bazaar, Rüstem Paşa Mahallesi, Eminönü
The Wednesday market in the conservative area of Çarşamba occupies the narrow streets around the Fatih mosque. Favoured by locals, this sprawling affair is the place to find everything from fruit and vegetable to branded clothing. Thanks to its reputation for being one of the more boisterous markets, tourists tend to avoid Çarşamba – however, it is as exhilarating as it is exhausting, and a real must-see.
Fatih Çarşamba Market, Kirmasti, Fatih
Located in a multi-storey car park, the Beşiktaş Saturday bazaar is one of Istanbul’s smaller markets, yet has remained a firm favourite with thrifty visitors and locals looking to pick up some great fresh produce and factory seconds. The second storey is perhaps the more exciting, with unique jewellery and interesting trinkets available alongside the usual apparel and homeware. Makeshift food stalls also line the market, perfect for refuelling after a morning of bargaining.
Beşiktaş Market, Nüzhetiye Caddesi, Beşiktaş