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Grand Bazaar

Photo credit: justinschier / Foter / CC BY
Grand Bazaar
  • (worth a trip)
  • 3-5 km
  • Moderate
  • Average
  • 3 hours
  • 3 3

A Labyrinth of colourful and vibrant shops

Beyazıt Mh., İstanbul, Turkey
Lots and lots of eating joints around the bazaar. I was at the Grand Bazaar twice during my trip and tried two different restaurants. Both had very different menus and I couldn't pick one. So here are my two favourites. First day I had lunch at the Buhara Ocakbasi Restaurant which is famous for its kebabs and breads. It has a very traditional Turkish feel. The staff here is friendly and they also consider your food preferences. On our way into the market on day two, we spotted a banner of this restaurant and decided to give it a try. We were so hungry and overwhelmed by the shopping that we had to refuel ourselves as fast as we could. We entered the Aslan Restaurant & Cafe and the aroma of authentic home cooked food just instantly pepped up my mood. Although this place is a bit pricey, you should definitely try their fish dishes, meet stew and their kebabs.
1) My number one tip before you step foot in the market is to be ready to bargain. It is practically unavoidable because you are going to get that feeling of being overcharged for something anyway.
2) If you are not very good at haggling, then you could consider buying items in bulk to get a more discounted price.
3) The shops at main entrance areas are always more expensive than the ones further inside. Don't settle for the very first shop, exploring the interiors would give you a better picture of whats selling.
4) Not everything is cheap, after all its a handmade art. So do not hesitate to ask around.
5) Be nice to the sellers, who knows you might just bag a great deal :) 


The Grand Bazaar, as its name suggests, is one of the world’s largest covered markets based in the heart of Istanbul. It is filled with over 5000 shops located on nearly 60 narrow streets inside the market sure to take your breath away.  One can find almost anything and everything, ranging from gold & silver jewellery, leather, ceramic pots, handcrafted candle stands, glassware and much more. There is almost a complete different section for clothing making you spoilt for choice.

 

One the best things about the bazaar is the colourful and vibrant vibe it gives you once you enter. The heavily patterned glass lamps, the beautifully woven rugs, ceramic ware, all made me reach out to them and pick one for myself.

 

On an average, an avid shopper like me couldn’t do less than 4 hours because I had a huge list of items I had to buy for myself and my friends and family. I mean, who wouldn’t want those pretty colourful tea cup sets, right ?

 

However, if you are looking for something really antique then head towards the centre of the bazaar to buy things like copper ware, mother-of-pearl mirrors, furniture and old coins.

Opening hours

Mon- Sat from 09:00 to 19:00
Closed on bank holidays & Sundays.

How to get there

You can access the Grand Bazaar from any of its 4 main gates located at the intersection of its southwestern junction. It is at a walking distance of about 15 mins from the Blue Mosque or Aya Sophia. Alternatively, you can take a tram to Beyazit, University of Sirkeci.

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