When visiting Istanbul, shopping is a must. With textiles, homewares, food, teas, coffee, delicacies, desserts, cottons, ceramics, tiles, leather, silverware and more there is something for everyone. Shopping here is part of the culture and within the bazaars bargaining can be great fun. Try to get 40% off the price originally quoted and feign disinterest. The Grand Bazaar has over 4000 shops and is largely considered the worlds first mall. To see my weekend guide click here and for my top tips read on..
- Follow the Locals: There may be a bunch of stalls within the markets that are set up beautifully, just begging to be taken a photo of. These are wonderful snapshots for your album, however my tip is suss out where the locals are shopping. These are the shops that will be more likely to have better quality products and prices.
- Try before you buy: This is my favourite bit of advice as you get to try all the flavours on offer. In Istanbul vendors are very generous and allow you to try most of the goods on sale. Have a try of each nut variety and take up offers for tea. The thing I liked most is there seems to be no obligation to buying and vendors are very respectful.
- Go for High Turn over suppliers: This ensures maximum freshness as well as quality, as it means they are not only successful but reputable.There are key commercial districts for each specialised item so definitely ask your concierge or consult online for recommended retailers. If you follow the first step you won’t go wrong.
- Pay in Lira: Paying in local currency is actually said to be more beneficial for tourists. Whilst most places do happen to accept Euros or Dollars, the exchange rate is not regulated and often not in your favour.
- Vacuum wrap: I brought so many teas that if I hadn’t vacuum wrapped I would have lost a lot of freshness. It also makes it easier for transport and customs. This is a free service offered in most of the stores.