A vast shopping destination in Istanbul, Turkey, the Grand Bazaar is an iconic covered market. On record, it is considered one of the biggest and oldest of its kind in the whole world. It spans 61 streets, featuring more than 4000 businesses that sell a plethora of goods, from home decors, art & crafts, clothing, accessories, gold, leather, pottery, and even culinary delicacies. Exploring the area should be on your itinerary when you visit Istanbul, and your cash should be ready at all times because surely, you are most likely to get overboard with your shopping. Worry not because haggling is part of the trade tradition in this vast covered market. Indeed, Turkish bazaars and chic boutiques are a testament to the country’s vibrant trade industry. For shopaholics and regular tourists who want to score some fabulous souvenir items, here is a guide to Grand Bazaar, Istanbul. Feel free to browse below.
1. Things to do / highlights
Once you get into the bustling and vibrant Grand Bazaar, you might be overwhelmed by the multitude of businesses that you’ll find there. Each one showcases an aesthetically pleasing presentation of their goods, in an effort to attract as many shoppers as possible. If you have your shopping list and your pockets ready for the biggest shopping escapade you’ll get to experience in Istanbul, remember this list of things to do for a more smooth and hassle-free experience.
The Grand Bazaar is famous for being one of the largest covered public markets in the world. With its over 4000 shops, surely, you will never run out of products to check out and delicacies to try. Also, you will be exposed to the art of Istanbul and be immersed in its fascinating culture.
If you want an authentic taste of the delicious Turkish cuisine in Istanbul, Grand Bazaar has numerous Turkish restaurants that are ready to fill your tummy with palatable food that you will never forget. One of them is Havuzlu Restaurant. It features a modern contemporary design with traditional Turkish art accents. It has a cool and airy ambiance as well for a cozy dining experience. Plus, aside from their food being flavorful, they are priced reasonably without breaking your bank.
Kilisli Kebapçı Ali Usta
Another delightful restaurant that you should try while in Grand Bazaar is Kilisli Kebapçı Ali Usta, right close to the retail stores and other businesses in the public market. It features a traditional Turkish interior design with a rustic accent and colorful decor. Plus, aside from meals on the menu, you’ll find displays of local delicacies in the restaurant, inviting you to try them.
2. What to eat
Have a taste of Turkey and complete your food crawl escapade by trying out these flavorful eats while in the Grand Bazaar.
This is considered a dessert that is popular around the world. The Turkish people have one of the most authentic Baklava recipes. It is a sweet semi-crunchy fare that is made from layers of filo. These filos are filled with nuts, candied fruits, and syrup for additional flavor.
If you have a soft spot for grilled delights, you should definitely try the Kebab of Turkey. Kebabs are known for their juiciness and tender meat that can be made from pork, beef, veal, lamb, and even chicken. Grilled in a horizontal rotisserie and cut in chunks, this meat can be eaten with pita bread or rice.
A tasty meatball that oozes with flavors from herbs and spices, a kofta is made with ground meat (can be chicken, pork, beef, and lamb) marinated in spices, especially lots of garlic and onions.
3. Things to buy
Here is a list of things that you should not forget to buy while in the Grand Bazaar.
As with any other country, tea is exceptionally famous in Turkish culture, especially Chai tea. Some people like to consume it with milk, the most traditional way to enjoy it is brewed and black. Some ceramic vendors in the Grand Bazaar offer chai tea to their customers.
Coffee pots in Istanbul are made from ceramic and porcelain. Hence, making it fragile, more aesthetically pleasing, and very valuable. Each pot is designed with Turkish art with various images and designs.
The glass lamps in the Grand Bazaar are designed intrinsically and accentuated with lots of colors, showcasing the vibrant art scene of Turkey. Lamps vary from colors, designs, and sizes. One can go from a bedside lamp size to a tall standee.
Carpet and rugs
Carpets grace every Turkish home. It is a symbol of royalty in the Turkish culture, and even regular families accentuate their homes with cozy carpets for an elegant touch.
4. Travelers tips
Have a smile ready at all times
Whenever you’re going to bazaars, it is always a must that you are polite, courteous, and you should always have your smile ready at all times. Turkish people are kind people and they are also generous. You are most likely to avail discounts if the vendors find you likable and warm.
Bring only essentials
You are going shopping, so you have to have your hands ready for all the shopping bags that you will be carrying at the end of the shopping spree. In order to do so, avoid bringing multiple hand-carries that are filled with things that you do not need during your shopping.
Guard your belongings
Even in most progressive cities, pickpocketers are present, especially in crowded places. It’s no different in Istanbul. So, you should check your valuables at all times. You wouldn’t want to lose some items while your goal is to obtain fantastic finds.
5. How to get there
Hail a Taxi
Just like other cities in the world, Istanbul’s traffic has a fair share of taxis. Tourists will find it easy to transfer from one destination to another by hailing a cab for a metered fare.
Book an Uber
Uber is an international ride-hailing app that is more convenient than a taxi as it will pick you up from your point a few minutes after you book a ride. Plus, you can monitor your estimated time of arrival, your route, and the price is fixed.
Take the tram
If you are on a tight budget, you will surely save some cash by taking the public tram. Operated by Metro Istanbul, tourists who are bound to the Grand Bazaar should take the T1 Kabatas - Bagcilar tram in downtown. The tram stops at the drop-off point in front of the Grand Bazaar.
6. Grand Bazaar information
Address: Beyazıt, Kalpakçılar Cd. No:22, 34126 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Official website: Grand Bazaar
Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 9am - 7pm (closed on Sun)
Istanbul: Grand Bazaar Shopping Experience with a Local
Duration: 4 hour
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