Personal shopping guide
“The Grand Bazaar was a highlight - could not have done this so well without Istanbul Tour Studio's knowledge and help going to all the best vendors and having a truly Turkish (insiders experience). Our guide not only made our stay so much more interesting and rewarding thanks to his knowledge and local secrets but also went beyond to assist with turkish bath and restaurant bookings (that were truly amazing), private car pick ups and drop offs and even sending parcels to my home in Australia! They were amazing!” Read more on Tripadvisor.
Shopping is fun when you know the right places! Due to its unique location, Istanbul has always been a gateway from the east to the west and vice versa, making it a very important commercial hub. Historically, Istanbul has always played a strategic role both for Silk and Spice trade routes. Thus the city is renowned for its bustling bazaars that have been standing since centuries. The famous Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar, as well as the backstreets and inns of Eminönü were meeting points of western and eastern traders where they exchanged goods and products.
The Grand Bazaar is a paradise on earth in terms of shopping. There are over 4000 shops in and around the market. From antiques to silverware, silk products to calligraphy, hand-woven carpets to gold jewelry, a huge variety of handicrafts are available at the bazaar. Let our expert guides lead you away from the tourist traps to see the real heart of this historic place. On this day, you will also have the opportunity to sit with locals at traditional tea houses and coffee shops and savor Turkey’s famous sweets. You will choose your lunch spot among delicious restaurants or local eateries.
Grand Bazaar: With its 66 streets and over 4000 shops, the Grand Bazaar is the biggest covered market in the world. Built in 1461 by Mehmed the Conqueror, the bazaar is also a historical landmark and an architectural masterpiece. From high-end jewelry to leather purses, kaftans, towels, scarves to copper work, Iznik tiles to calligraphy, a wide selection of products are available in the bazaar. In most of the stores bargaining is customary although there are fixed price shops as well. Among those 4000 shops, it is important to know which ones to visit based on your interest. Our guides know the bazaar inside out and can direct you to the right spots.
Zincirli Han: Hans, in the past, were places for traveler merchants to sleep and conduct their business. A han is built around a courtyard with a fountain in the middle for washing or purification, includes a kitchen or a coffee place and of course many shops and workshops. One of the most impressive sights to behold is Zincirli Han. This historical building was built in 1522 and is one of the oldest structures in Istanbul. Zincirli Han has been an important part of the city for centuries: its walls were once used as a prison and many political meetings have taken place within its walls. Inside Zincirli Han, visitors can browse a variety of shops selling all kinds of goods, from jewelry and carpets to antiques and souvenirs. This place is very authentic and lively. You can still find artisans at work, while the little coffee shop at the corner serves tea and coffee to its long-standing residents and curious guests.
Cevahir Bedesteni: Cevahir Bedesteni has been around since the 16th century and is known for its incredible selection of antiques from all over Turkey. Cevahir Bedesteni’s many stories are a testament to the age and history of the bazaar – the original architecture is said to date back to the 15th century, Visitors to Cevahir Bedesteni will find an array of antiques, from furniture to jewelry, carpets, tapestries and even Ottoman coins, while the most common product is silver. That’s why it is also known as the silver bazaar among the locals.
Spice Bazaar: Built in 1664, it is one of the most colorful bazaars of the city. In this place, you can find some of the best stops for spices backed up by generations-worth of experience and love for the procurement and sale of the finest products. This historic bazaar was constructed in 1660 by the Ottoman administrative division of Egypt as part of the New Mosque complex. Take your pick from the endless vendors and try some of the famous Turkish spices. Make sure to look out for sumac, a maroon-burgundy colored spice, dried red pepper flakes, Nigella seeds, nuts, dried fruits, Turkish delights, caviar and the fine strands of original Iranian saffron.
Backstreets of Eminönü: You will have a chance to visit the birthplace of Turkish coffee culture as well as the Turkish delight. You will taste some of the best Turkish coffee in town inside a historic han and taste some of the most delicious Turkish delights.
Various alternatives offered for lunch: a. Traditional lunch at a local's favorite restaurant b. An elegant restaurant, within an historic hamam with a menu of classic Turkish dishes made with locally sourced products (it also has a beautiful garden terrace) c. One of the best examples of Turkey’s most famous street food, doner, on the go! d. One of Istanbul's oldest and most iconic restaurants inside the Spice Bazaar.