The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul – built in the 15th century – is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. Up to 400,000 visitors flock to over 3,000 shops and 61 covered streets on a daily basis. You’ll find everything from fashion and jewellery items to home interiors and classic Turkish ceramics – prepare to be amazed.
This labyrinth of market stalls is close to the main Mosques in Turkey’s largest city, so you can easily tie it into your sightseeing activities. It’s located in the Fatih district in the neighbourhood of the same name.
This district isn’t too far from the lively Ortaköy neighbourhood, where you can have a relaxing stay at the sophisticated Radisson Blu Bosphorus Hotel. Get a great night’s sleep and start the day with a convenient Grab & Run breakfast before heading out on a fantastic shopping adventure!
A Labyrinth of Discovery
The Grand Bazaar is open from 9.00 to 19.00 every day, apart from Sundays and bank holidays. As well as shops and market stalls, you’ll find a good selection of restaurants and cafes, so you won’t need to leave the bazaar to find a bite to eat (which is lucky, as once you’re inside, it’s quite tricky to find your way out)! Relax with a coffee and watch the busy shoppers pass by.
Be sure to take your camera along on this ultimate shopping trip, and give yourself plenty of time to explore. We don’t advise always sticking to what the maps tell you – an attraction like this is best when discovered anew! Even if you decide not to buy much, you will be captivated by the sights within the bazaar, so let your curiosity take over.
If you do eventually find yourself wandering with no sense of direction, head to the centre for some of the most awe-inspiring scenes. There’s a large domed hall there, and you’ll find the most valuable, antique items.
Try to stick with other members of your group. The area can become very busy, so it may be a good idea to settle on a meeting point before you head inside, just in case you lose sight of one another. It’s not advised to take small children along with you, but if you do, hold onto them tightly so they don’t get lost in the crowds. As with any market, keep any purses and wallets safely stored, and be aware of pick-pockets.
When it comes to payment, beware of credit card charges! Double check with the vendor before making the payment, and if there’s anything you’re unsure about – draw out some money instead and go back. You’ll find that there are plenty of ATMs to withdraw money from, should you need to.
Finally, make sure you polish up your bartering skills! You must have a good eye for a deal in order to get some bargains at the Grand Bazaar, so be firm on your offer. If things aren’t working in your favour, politely decline and walk away. If you’re lucky, some vendors will then accept your offer!
Now, get ready to shop ‘til you drop…