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Grand Bazaar

One of the world’s oldest and largest covered markets, Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar is the ultimate shopping spot.

TravelCurious Tip

Don’t be afraid to haggle! This is the norm - zealous merchants will expect you to drive a hard bargain, and you can often pay less than half the asking price.

Stalls upon stalls

A thriving market since the 1460s, the Grand Bazaar is today reckoned the world’s number one tourist attraction: in 2014 it saw over 91 million visitors. Its 61 covered streets house around 3,000 shops, selling everything from leather and fabrics to jewellery and lanterns.

Before 1894, when Istanbul’s great earthquake forced a renovation, the Bazaar’s stalls were rather different to what we recognise today. Each merchant occupied a space around six feet wide and four feet deep, and would sit in front of his wares on a wooden divan. The stalls were shut behind drapes at the end of the day, and the Bazaar’s gates placed under guard; theft was extremely uncommon. One notable incident occurred in 1591, when a Persian musk seller stole 30,000 gold coins: the city was scandalised, the market shut for two weeks, and suspects tortured until the culprit was found and hanged.


Market value

Today, such drama is thankfully still rare. A culture of mutual respect and social security, inherited from the Ottoman days of guild systems, fixed prices and Islamic ethics, survives among the merchants despite the westernization of Turkish society.

There are four main gates into the market, leading down roads that are named after the professions historically concentrated there: Kuyumcular Carsısı sells gold bracelets, carpets can be found on Sahaflar Caddesi, leather goods are sold along Perdahçılar Caddesi. Take a day trip to get lost in its maze, and come home with some wonderful souvenirs.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Istanbul
Blue Mosque
A beautiful and elaborate place of worship, the Blue Mosque is the most important legacy of a roguish Ottoman Sultan.
Hippodrome of Constantinople
The ancient pleasures of Constantinople are brought to life in this stunning historic site.
Istiklal Street
Istanbul’s ‘Independence Avenue’ is a popular promenade filled with galleries, bookstores, cafés and more.
Süleymaniye Camii
Located on the Third Hill, Süleymaniye Camii is the largest mosque and one of the most distinctive sights in Istanbul.
Spice Bazaar
An indoor market built in the 17th century, famous for its fantastic herbs and spices.
Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum
Once the palace of Ibrahim Pasha, this museum houses a unique collection of calligraphy, tiles and rugs.

Related Tours

Explore Istanbul's Exotic Markets
Explore the sights, sounds, and smells of Turkey's cultural heart.

  • Start your tour visiting the colourful Grand Bazaar.
  • Explore the scents and tastes of Istanbul's markets. 
  • Browse the Turkish Spice Market.
The Grand Bazaar

On this three hour walking tour you will journey into the exotic world of Istanbul’s historic markets and bazaars. Your first stop will be the colourful Grand Bazaar, built by Mehmet the Conqueror in 1461, it expanded to eventually cover the vast labyrinthine treasure trove you see today. You will feel immersed in the ancient marketplace exploring your way through narrow lanes to watch craftsmen and artists at work and stopping off for an obligatory cup of traditional Turkish tea. 

As you wander the vast alleys of the Bazaar, your expert city guide will be happy to discuss the fascinating history of the area and the significance behind Istanbul’s strategic geographical position near the Bosphorus. Do not fear, your intrepid local guide will be able to direct you to the best hidden gems the market has to offer.


Historic Spice Market

Your next stop will be to the famous Turkish Spice Market where you will be able to peruse some of the best herbs and spices imported to Turkey from all over the world. This is sure to be a treat for the senses as you experience sights, sounds and smells you are unlikely to have ever come across before. Bustling with energy, the delightful market streets will satisfy your intellectual curiosity, as well as satiating any hunger pangs!

Travel Curious Tip: Politely ask market sellers to wrap your fragile craft gifts to ensure they survive the journey home.

We created this tour 
so that visitors can experience a local and immersive tour through Istanbul's markets.
The Best of Istanbul in Half a Day
This whistle-stop tour of Istanbul's highlights is great for those who wish to cover a lot of ground in a short space of time.

  • Wander through the mesmerising Blue Mosque.
  • Learn about Byzantine architecture and iconic Hagia Sophia.
  • Conclude with the colours and scents of Grand Bazaar.

Note: The Blue Mosque is a religious place of worship, so please dress respectfully. Shoulders and legs must be covered, and head coverings are available at the mosque entrance for free. You will also be given a bag at entry in which to put your shoes.


The Best of Istanbul

In this amazing half-day highlights walking tour of Istanbul, you will have the chance to be fully immersed in the history and culture of this great city. Your first stop will be to the absolutely stunning Blue Mosque, the 17th century triumph of Sultan Ahmet I, and one of the most beautiful buildings in Istanbul. Look out for the mosque's unique undulating exterior featuring myriad domes and six slender minarets. Gorgeous blue Iznik tiles adorn the interior, giving the building its unique name. 

Venturing forth to the Hagia Sophia, commissioned by the Byzantine emperor Justinian, consecrated as a church in 537, converted to a mosque by Mehmet the Conqueror in 1453 and finally promoted as a museum by Atatürk in 1935- you will find exquisite artistry of Byzantine architecture and rich history of the region than this great temple.

Divine Beauty 

As you enter the Hagia Sophia you can not help but be awestruck by the utter beauty of the extraordinary architecture and sense of the divine that will envelop you inside. The walls are covered with astonishing biblical images that miraculously have survived a tumultuous history. Do not feel overwhelmed, as your expert city guide will be talking you through the fascinating history of the building as well as the significance of the iconography and art you will find there.

Your final stop will be to the colourful Grand Bazaar, built by Mehmet the Conqueror in 1461, it expanded to eventually cover the vast labyrinthine treasure trove you see today. You will feel immersed in the ancient marketplace, exploring your way down narrow lanes to watch craftsmen and artists at work, whilst stopping for an obligatory Turkish treat and cup of mint tea. 

Travel Curious Tip: 
If you politely ask market sellers, they will wrap up fragile gifts for your flight home.

We built this tour because it allows visitors to appreciate the architectural beauty of Istanbul. 
The Best of Istanbul in Half a Day: Blue Mosque, Hagia Sofia & Grand Bazaar
This whistle-stop tour of Istanbul's highlights is great for those who wish to cover a lot of ground in a short space of time. On your private tour, you will:

  • Enjoy the personalised attention of your private licensed guide.
  • Marvel at the elegance of the Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Blue Mosque), famed for its 6 minarets and beautiful blue decorative tiles.
  • Take in the the grandeur of Hagia Sophia as you enjoy a fully guided tour of one of the most important Byzantine structures in the world.
  • Expertly navigate through the Grand Bazaar and learn about Turkish trade and local traditions. 
  • Step away from the beaten path as your local guide introduces you to his/her favourite local cafe and artisans! 
  • End the tour tasting lokum Turkish delights and taking in the vibrant colours and scents of the Spice Market. 

Note: The Blue Mosque is a religious place of worship, so please dress respectfully. Shoulders and legs must be covered, and head coverings are available at the mosque entrance for free. You will also be given a bag at entry in which to put your shoes.

In this amazing half-day highlights walking tour of Istanbul, you will have the chance to be fully immersed in the history and culture of this great city. Your first stop will be to the absolutely stunning Blue Mosque, the 17th century triumph of Sultan Ahmet I, and one of the most beautiful buildings in Istanbul. Look out for the mosque's unique undulating exterior featuring myriad domes and six slender minarets. Gorgeous blue Iznik tiles adorn the interior, giving the building its unique name. 

Venturing forth to the Hagia Sophia, commissioned by the Byzantine emperor Justinian, consecrated as a church in 537, converted to a mosque by Mehmet the Conqueror in 1453 and finally promoted as a museum by Atatürk in 1935- you will find exquisite artistry of Byzantine architecture and rich history of the region than this great temple.

As you enter the Hagia Sophia you can not help but be awestruck by the utter beauty of the extraordinary architecture and sense of the divine that will envelop you inside. The walls are covered with astonishing biblical images that miraculously have survived a tumultuous history. Do not feel overwhelmed, as your expert city guide will be talking you through the fascinating history of the building as well as the significance of the iconography and art you will find there.

Your final stop will be to the colourful Grand Bazaar and Spice Market. You will feel immersed in the ancient marketplace, exploring your way down narrow lanes to watch craftsmen and artists at work, whilst stopping for an obligatory Turkish treat and cup of mint tea. 
Private Istanbul Full Day tour (all tickets included)
With this full-day highlights tour of Istanbul, you will gain a culturally-rich experience of both European and Asian traditions. On your full day tour, you will:

  • Enjoy the personalised attention of your private licensed guide.
  • Hear stories of the Ottoman sultans as you wander through the Topkapı Palace (tickets included).
  • Visit the recently renovated Harem section of the Topkapi Palace (tickets included). 
  • Learn about Istanbul's rich and exciting history at the Hippodrome of Constantinople.
  • Marvel at the elegance of the Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Blue Mosque), famed for its 6 minarets and beautiful blue decorative tiles.
  • Take in the the grandeur of Hagia Sophia as you enjoy a fully guided tour of one of the most important Byzantine structures in the world.
  • Pause for a traditional Turkish meze lunch (not included in price).
  • Descend beneath the city into otherworldly Basilica Cistern, with its 336 columns, mood lighting and carved head of Medusa (tickets included).
  • Expertly navigate through the Grand Bazaar and learn about Turkish trade and local traditions. 
  • Step away from the beaten path as your local guide introduces you to his/her favourite local cafe and artisans! 
  • End the tour tasting lokum Turkish delights and taking in the vibrant colours and scents of the Spice Market. 

In this full-day highlights tour of the great city of Istanbul, you will have the pleasure of visiting some of the most iconic attractions of the city, accompanied by your knowledgeable expert city guide. Starting with the the Hippodrome of Constantinople, once used as an ancient Roman running and chariot racing track, and the epicentre of Byzantine life. 

You will then head to the absolutely stunning Blue Mosque, one of the most beautiful buildings in Istanbul, which was the 17th century triumph of Sultan Ahmet I. Look for the mosque's unique undulating exterior, featuring myriad domes and six slender minarets. Gorgeous blue Iznik tiles adorn the interior, giving the building its unique name. 

Venturing forth to the Hagia Sophia, commissioned by the Byzantine emperor Justinian, consecrated as a church in 537, converted to a mosque by Mehmet the Conqueror in 1453 and finally promoted as a museum by Atatürk in 1935- you will find exquisite artistry of Byzantine architecture and rich history of the region than this great temple.

You will be pleased to pause for a delicious traditional Turkish meze lunch (not included in price), after which you will be immersed in the fascinating history of Topkapi Palace. Extremely opulent, it was once the residence of countless Ottoman sultans from the 15th to the 19th century. Look for the palace's fabulous pavilions, unbelievable Treasury, formal rooms and don't miss the magnificent Harem rooms!

You will then venture underground to the awe-inspiring Basilica Cistern, where you will learn about its impressive construction. You may even find two Medusa faces- just don’t stare into their eyes! Finishing off this once-in-a-lifetime tour, you will visit the colourful Grand Bazaar, which was built by Mehmet the Conqueror in 1461. Explore the narrow lanes to watch craftsmen and artists at work, whilst stopping for an obligatory cup of traditional Turkish tea. 
Private Tour of Istanbul's Grand Bazaar, Spice Market & Turkish Hans
Step into the best part of exploring any city –its local markets. Here, mix and mingle with the locals, while your guide helps you navigate the circuitous markets like on an expert. On your tour, you will: 

  • Explore the sights, sounds, and smells of Turkey's cultural heart.
  • Enjoy the personalised attention of your private licensed guide
  • Expertly navigate through the Grand Bazaar and learn about Turkish trade and local traditions 
  • Step away from the beaten path as your local guide introduces you to his/her favourite local cafe and artisans! 
  • Visit one of Istanbul's famed Hans, built by the Turkish Ottomans, these impressive buildings still serve today as accommodation, storage and sale points for artisans and traders. 
  • End the tour tasting lokum Turkish delights and taking in the vibrant colours and scents of the Spice Market. 

Travel Curious Tip: Politely ask market sellers to wrap your fragile craft gifts to ensure they survive the journey home.

We created this tour so that visitors can experience a local and immersive tour through Istanbul's markets.
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