Shopping in Istanbul

Shopping in Istanbul

Prepare for your visit to Turkey. 

Listen to this podcast to learn about shopping in the country. 


Written by Anastasiya Sklyarenko

Voiced by Vera Sokolova

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Shopping in Istambul. Introduction

Where to go
Have no ideas what to do at weekends or where to go for your next vacation?
I've got some tips for you on how to spend your leisure time efficiently and excitingly. Where? In one of the largest cities in the world: Istanbul. Everything you are looking for is right next to you, for it'll take you only 1:35 minutes to get there by plane.

When to go
First, let me say that my trip to this amazing city took place in May, and I must point out that there is no better time to visit it than spring or the beginning of summer. The maximum temperature was 24 degrees, which was very comfortable for sightseeing and a lot of walking around the city. It means you can avoid sweating and getting tired easily. Standing in the line also caused no problem at all. Be ready to do this a lot though because of an enormous number of tourists in Istanbul. July and August are also okay as Turkish summer is a moist one with 30 degrees on average.

It often rains from October till December, and nights are cold in early spring.

Shopping in Istanbul
Shopping in Turkey, and Istanbul in particular, can be both exciting and challenging.

The biggest and the most famous of all Turkish markets is the “Grand Bazaar” (“Kapali Carsi”). You won't need to run up and down the city to find it. It's situated almost at the very center of the historical district, joining together many popular sights. Haggling for the goods is a tradition here. If you have little money or no money at all – it is still worth visiting this market for it's a “juicy” place. Around 400,000 people come to this major landmark daily. Endless rows of shopping stalls can engage you easily and you won't even notice how the time has passed. You can spend here the whole day if desired. Just don't forget to take enough money with you.

The diversity of goods found in Grand Bazaar will surprise you; buying everything, from souvenirs to clothes and jewelry, is a piece of cake. You won't find very extravagant or luxurious goods here, but you will definitely indulge yourself with the most delicious baklava and some Turkish delight. After shopping around for a while you can surely get a bargain and buy a few wonderful things made in Turkey, not in China.

Some goods are definitely overpriced there and you should be aware of that. So if you are not good at bargaining, better stick to shopping malls. Go for as lower price as possible. (The very process of bargaining is a game here). As a part of sales tactics you can be served a cup of Turkish tea and involved into a nice conversation. I must admit that you should be in the touristy shopping mood to get what you want, and enjoy your stay there.

I recommend buying the following things in Grand Bazaar: pashminas, various kinds of crockery, Turkish tea sets, spices and sweets. Based on my experience the quality of these things is rather good.

Istanbul's Grand Bazaar is one of the world's most exciting shopping experiences. The place is unique and worthwhile seeing.

Other than this you can also try the Old Bazaar and the Spices (Egyptian) Bazaar. They might be more to your taste.

As for the other places to shop there are plenty of modern boutiques scattered all around the city.

Perhaps you'll be lucky to get a discount there and treat yourself to a day-shopping tour.


Shopping in Istambul. Vocabulary.

sight – anything worth seeing

to haggle – to bargain over the price of something

shopping stall – a booth, cubicle, or stand used by a vendor at a market

extravagant – unreasonably high

luxurious – costly, very expensive or comfortable

to indulge oneself – to allow (oneself) to do something that you like or enjoy 

baklava – а dessert made of paper-thin layers of pastry, chopped nuts, and honey

Turkish delight – a candy usually consisting of jellylike cubes covered with powdered sugar 

to shop around – to go from store to store in search of bargains 

to get a bargain – to pay a lower than usual price for something 

overpriced – charging or charged at too high a price 

shopping mall – а shopping center with stores and businesses facing a system of enclosed walkways for pedestrians

to get a discount – to pay less than the original price because the seller lowers the price

to treat oneself to – to give (someone or oneself) something pleasurable