Excitement and joy of getting lost in Istanbul markets

Turkey provides travelers an experience unlike any other. The only country to be part of two continents (Europe and Asia) either side of the river, traversing through Turkey can be an alluring experience.

For example, let us examine Istanbul. Although the capital is Ankara, Istanbul is a favorite for many travelers and has become synonymous with Turkey. You cannot think about Turkey without including Istanbul in the equation.

Istanbul offers the best of both worlds - on one hand you have large shopping malls with dozens of designer outlets offering all that money can buy. On the other, you have a host of markets crammed on the streets.

We will have a look at some of the best ones. Whether you’re looking for apparel or medieval spices, you are in luck. Istanbul has many interesting bazaars that have these in abundance.


Spice Bazaar

One of the most popular markets in the city is known as Spice Bazaar (Bazaar means market). A short walk from the Grand Bazaar (another market we will discuss below), the Spice Bazaar is a 17th century market that is open seven days a week for locals and tourists alike.

Since 1664, the market has been known for selling dried fruits and nuts, spices, Turkish delights, various types of oil and many other edibles. If you are looking for dates or raisins, look no further than Spice Bazaar.


Grand Bazaar

The origin of the aptly named Grand Bazaar dates back to the 15th century (1461 to be precise). In total, there are in excess of 5000 shops in the market. That makes it one of the largest markets in the world in terms of area.

Naturally, Grand Bazaar is one of the foremost destinations and must see places for wide eyed tourists. If you want the best oriental shopping experience in Istanbul, then you must visit the Grand Bazaar.

There are hundreds of sellers beckoning visitors to purchase impeccable textiles, spices, jewelry, souvenirs and what not. Some of these items are a must have for tourists, which is why a trip to the market is an absolute necessity.




The third bazaar we will look at is called Besiktas. Situated in a district that is best known for its eponymous football team, Besiktas market also hosts a weekly market every Saturday. Although it does not attract as many tourists as the aforementioned market places, it is still a treasure trove of fresh foods.

Whether you’re looking for fresh tomatoes or cucumbers, Besiktas is the ideal market for you. Vendors also offer other items like clothing and jewelry. If you want to recharge your batteries, then there are small cafes in the market as well.



Sahaflar is the best market for books. Located between the Grand Bazaar and the Beyazit Mosque, this is a 15th-century market where authors and poets once resided in the 20th century. In present day, it is home to nearly two dozen bookstores. Stationary, calligraphy, novels and literature are all available at Sahaflar.