If you love shopping this is the perfect tour for you. On the Shopping Tour we will explore the lively bazaar and the bustling shopping districts of Istanbul offering an incredible variety of products. We will take you to the best shops, where you will have the chance to appreciate authentic and high-quality traditional products of Turkey (carpets, spices, pottery, tableware, leather goods, lamps, souvenirs, handicrafts ecc.) and buy whatever you wish getting a good deal.
Grand Bazaar (closed on Sundays)
Old Book Bazaar
Traditional Turkish tea-break
Street of Artisans (Tahtakale)
Duration: 4 h approx.
Included: Guide service, Tea and simit (Turkish snack)
Not included: Transport, Lunch
The GRAND BAZAAR (Turkish Kapalıçarşı, meaning “Covered Bazaar”) of Istanbul is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world.
It was built in 1461 by order of Sultan Mehmet II. Between the XVI and XVIII century, several fires and earthquakes damaged the structure which was repeatedely restored. The current building is deeply affected by the restoration works which underwent in the XX century.
Spanning over 30 hectars, it comprises 61 covered streets and over 3,000 shops which attract between 250,000 and 400,000 visitors daily.
Visiting hours: 8.30 – 19; closed on Sundays
Next to Beyazit Square is the OLD BOOK BAZAAR (Turkish Sahaflar Carsisi), an appealing courtyard where many book shops are located. This is certainly the best place in Istanbul to look for old books and engravings. Some shops will also exchange your old books in turn of new or old books for little money. Books are not the only items for sale here, there are also stalls of postcards, rosary, stamps and coins where collectors can find very good deals. It’s quite sure that if you visit this bazaar, you will end up buying something.
With a 600 years old past, dating back to the Byzantine age, TAHTAKALE BAZAAR is Turkey’s oldest surviving shopping center. Since the Ottoman conquest, the long and narrow street which we still see today has been hosting two lines of shops selling any kind of handcrafted products: kitchenware, textiles, lamps, wooden items, wicker chests, tea-sets, stoves, hardware etc.
This is one of few places in Istanbul which have little changed since Ottoman times. Walking elbow-to-elbow with the crowd of working-class customers will make you feel the pulse of the city and give you an idea of how daily life had to be in the past. Most of the buildings are quite shabby for the artisans preserve them as they have inherited them from their forefathers.
The SPICE BAZAAR is Istanbul’s second largest covered market, after the Grand Bazaar. This bazaar is known also as “Egyptian Bazaar” due to the fact that it was built with the incomes coming from Egypt, which at the time was a province of the Ottoman Empire. The building was completed in 1660 as integral part of the neighbouring New Mosque’s complex. In fact, in the past, the money coming from the rents of the shops were used to cover the expenses of the mosque. Originally, this bazaar was dedicated to the sale of spices whereas today, under its 88 vaults, many more products are being sold: souvenirs, sweets, food, lamps, pottery, kitchenware etc.