Shop until you drop in Turkey - tips on what you can get where
A visit to Turkey would not be complete without a shopping trip or two. From historic bazaars, to local markets, designer boutiques and huge shopping malls, there is a shopping experience to suit every taste and budget.
Where to shop
Istanbul – the city offers the greatest variety of shopping choices in the country. Sophisticated boutiques are popping up amongst the traditional bazaars and as well as all the famous international brands there are many contemporary stores featuring local Istanbul designers. This city’s unique position on an ancient trade route between East and West means that there is a huge range of Oriental goods available for a traditional take on Turkish design. Nestled with this are the concept stores of modern Istanbul, where you can deck out your home and wardrobe with edgy, cool pieces.
Antalya – this is a great place to find souvenirs such as traditional Turkish knick-knacks popular with tourists. Here you will find great gifts of textiles, gold and copper work, carpets and leather goods.
Bodrum – Shopping centre opened in June 2012 and is the biggest shopping mall in the area and includes and indoor and outdoor cinema, dining area and many different brands of shops.
Fethiye – Great for textiles and picking up bargain curtains and cushion covers. It’s easy to while away the day shopping and having lunch at this market with its range of refreshment stalls and fresh fruit and veg.
Every major city in Turkey will usually have a modern shopping mall. Here you can pick up goods from international brands together with well-known domestic labels. Most of the malls are open seven days a week and offer entertainment and dining as well as shopping.
Bazaars and markets
Istanbul is famous for its bazaars and many other parts of Turkey have regular and much loved local markets where you can pick up a wide range of locally produced goods. Bazaars are undercover and offer a range of different shops selling a wide variety of products. There will be places to stop and eat to recharge your batteries because it is easy to spend a day wandering round finding all sorts of goods and haggling over prices.
The legendary Grand Bazaar, near the historic centre of Sultanahmet, in Istanbul is a vast labyrinth of 61 covered streets. Here you will find everything from fashion to homeware and although still very popular, not as overcrowded as it once was.
The nearby Egyptian Spice Bazaar is great for foodies wanted to try the exotic spices, jams, dried fruits, nuts, tea, coffee and of course, Turkish delight.
What to buy
Turkish carpets: many people feel that a trip to Turkey is not complete unless you buy a Turkish carpet or kilims (flat-weave rugs). These are renowned for their quality and have a very long history. They are wool, silk or a combination of both. The higher the silk content, the more expensive the rug but beware any carpets that seem suspiciously cheap, they are probably Chinese, not Turkish.
Jewellery: Turkey is a great place for jewellery because both gold and silver are sold by weight, rather than craftsmanship. Gold in particular can be very good value and remember that both sterling silver and gold should have a hallmark
Leather: the leather industry was originally based in western Anatolia, but today İzmir and İstanbul have the largest workshops. Great purchases are jackets, although prices will vary depending on the brand and shop.
Spices: Turkey is known for its huge variety of spices. Popular ones include saffron, sumac, a ground-up purple leaf for sprinkling on barbecued meats and salad onions, pine nuts and olive oil.
- Do your shopping in the morning when it’s less busy and you may be able to strike a better bargain.
- Bargaining or haggling is normal. Do your research and find out roughly what the item is worth and hold back your real offer for as long as possible.
- Start your offer at about half the starting price but once the price has been agreed, you are ethically committed to buy.
- For expensive items, to be on the safe side, ask to see a certificate of guarantee and if buying silver or gold, look for the maker's hallmark.
- Unless you have discussed the payment method, assume it will be in cash. Banks charge between 2% and 6% to clear a credit card transaction.