Grand Bazaar of Istanbul

The Grand Bazaar of Istanbul is a lot more than your average shopping mall. Shopkeepers are not shy about letting you know they want your money and will do their best to get it. Sixty streets covered with thousands of shops can be overwhelming if you are not a hard-core shopper.

What To Buy

Well, it would be quicker to list what is not for sale because there are millions of weird, wonderful and normal things to buy.  I did not spot any farm animals or day trip tickets to outer space. Streets are grouped according to the products they sell, which is a tradition dating back to the Ottoman times. Locals shop in the market as well, so you can find some household goods. Unfortunately, there is also quite a lot of junk.

How to Avoid Hassle in the Grand Bazaar

- Think about faking temporary insanity. Mutter feverishly to yourself and develop awkward twitches. Salesmen are scared of crazy people.

- Your second option is to roll around in the trash and sleep on the streets the night before, so everyone thinks you are a tramp with no money.

- Your third option is to kit yourself out with a burqa and a pair of soundproof earplugs

Bargaining Like a Pro in the Grand Bazaar

As mentioned before, the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul has a lot of junk for sale but if you find something you like, get your bargaining head on. If you do not bargain, you will be ripped off as the shop owner is expecting you to ask for a lower price, therefore has already put the price up. As a rule, whatever price he gives you, go back with 50% knocked off. He will laugh, tell you he is poor and has six children to feed, and then come back with another price. Repeat the process until you both agree on a price.

Opening Hours

The Grand bazaar of Istanbul is closed on Sundays but open every other day from 9.00am to 7.00pm. Yearly October the 29th is a bank holiday in Turkey, so it also shuts then. You should also check the opening hours during religious holidays that are Seker Bayram and Kurban Bayram (these occur at different times every year)

How to Get to the Grand Bazaar

It is located in the Beyazit district of Istanbul (near Sultan Ahmet) so ask your hotel for details of buses passing in that direction. If you are staying in the Sultan Ahmet, Beyoglu, Fatih, Eminonu or Taksim districts, it is within walking distance. Use Google maps to input the location of your hotel, the Grand Bazaar and it will give you the perfect route!

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