Love to shop ‘til you drop? You’ve come to the right place, because shopping in Turkey is one of the big attractions in this friendly, sunny country. There are plenty of choices, whether you’re looking for a bargain in a bazaar, or prefer to go high-end shopping in an air-conditioned mall.
For centuries, traders on the Silk Road gathered here on their way between Europe and the Far East. Turkey is still the world’s market, so expect to find everything from traditional carpets and exquisite jewellery to famous-name brands and leather goods. Here’s our top pick of the best places for shopping in Turkey.
1. Grand Bazaar, Istanbul
This legendary place promises the ultimate Turkey bazaar shopping experience, and it doesn’t get much better than this. It’s been running since 1461, and today you’ll find a maze of 60 streets lined with over 4,000 shops and beautiful ancient architecture to admire. Take your pick from jewellery, leather goods, antiques, carpets, and so much more. When you’re ready for a spot of relaxation, pop into one of the many cafés and restaurants around the bazaar. Our top tip: get there early in the morning to avoid the rush.
2. Kemeralti Market, Izmir
This winding market runs from Konak Square right through to the ancient Agora, and it’s been here for around 400 years. Kemeralti Market is the oldest meeting point for traders in Izmir, and today these colourful streets are jam-packed with charming shops, coffee houses, tea gardens, artisans’ workshops, mosques, and synagogues.
3. Ulus, Ankara
The beautiful bazaars of Ankara are well worth a visit. You’ll find most of them in Ulus, lining the pretty cobbled streets. There are loads of traders selling traditional goods including handmade wicker baskets, soaps, olive oils, and lots of leatherwork.
4. TerraCity, Antalya
If you’re looking for a contemporary Turkish shopping mall, TerraCity in Antalya is just the ticket. You’ll find more than 180 stores here, including top name sports brands, plus a selection of shops selling more traditional Turkish textiles and tailored suits.
5. Egyptian Spice Bazaar, Istanbul
This is another popular spot for local shoppers and visitors in the Turkish capital. You can expect an exotic array of spices, jams, nuts, tea and coffee on offer, as well as tasty Turkish Delight in an assortment of flavours.
6. Oscar Bazaar, Kemer
The stunning seaside resort of Kemer is home to a bazaar, which you’ll find right in the heart of town. It sells everything from handmade souvenirs to dry fruits, but the highlight is the needlework crafted by the local women who sell their wares here.
7. Kaleici, Antalya
Kaleici is the name for the old town in Antalya, and the shopping in this part of the city has a historic feel, too. Make your way through the bustling streets, drop by the antique shops and chic boutiques; there are loads of interesting pieces here, including jewellery, candlesticks, handcrafted boxes and rugs. You’ll also find a few souvenir shops mixed in, so there’s something for everyone.
8. Nişantaşı, Istanbul
This is the most exclusive shopping street in Istanbul. It’s the go-to place for the city’s wealthy residents; they come here for the high-end cafés and restaurants, as well as designer boutiques by the dozen. While you’re in the area, take a stroll to the nearby Teşvikiye neighbourhood, a hip and very trendy shopping district.
9. Forum Camlik, Pamukkale
The spa town of Pamukkale may be best known for its thermal springs and pretty terraces, but you can indulge in a bit of shopping too. Forum Camlik is the principal place to go for a spot of retail therapy. You’ll find lots of local fabrics, semi-precious stones, leather goods and ceramics. While you’re in the area, you can also keep an eye out for the famous ‘Calkarasi’ grapes, which are local to the region.
10. Manavgat Monday Market, Manavgat
Head to Manavgat on a Monday and you’ll find a wealth of traders lining the streets. They come here every week from the mountain villages to sell their fruit, vegetables, spices and souvenirs. You’ll also find plenty of traditional Turkish mementoes, including leather goods and gold jewellery.
Top tips for shopping in Turkey
- Don’t be afraid to bargain at the bazaars. You can practice your haggling skills and you might be able to negotiate between 10% and 40% off the price. It depends on what you’re buying and who you’re buying from. However, only start haggling if you’re serious about buying: the store-keepers are not fond of time-wasters.
- Some of the best things to pick up in Turkey are Kilims (traditional rugs), silk head scarves, local textiles and traditional jewellery. Beware of rug sellers who claim that they must charge you VAT but that you can get a tax refund at the airport: that’s a scam to make you pay more.
- Flower teas, spices, honey, coffee and Turkish towels make brilliant souvenirs, so keep an eye out for these unique little treats while you’re out shopping in Turkey.