When in Istanbul, a trip to their famous Grand Bazaar is an absolute must! The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul is one of the largest and oldest roofed bazaars in the world. The Grand Bazaar is made up of 4,000 shops spanning across over 60 streets and alleys that covers 30,700 square meters. The famous Grand Bazaar was originally completed in 1461 and over the span of many hundreds of years, the market has evolved into the remarkable attraction we see today. Shopping in Istanbul’s daunting Bazaar comes with its perks, but be careful as many shop owners will be out to trick unsuspecting tourists out of there money. Our comprehensive guide will teach you how to safely shop in the market without getting ripped off.
Learn to navigate
Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar is massive so be sure to learn your way around the market. You can do this by using a satellite maps app on your cell phone, or alternatively, an information kiosk or tourist center should be able to provide you with a printed map of the market. Remember the market contains over 60 streets and alleys so it’s always best to avoid getting lost.
Don’t feel rushed or pressured
The shop owners in the Grand Bazaar are expert salespeople, they know all the tricks in the book to capture our attention and pressure us into purchasing their products. Always keep your cool and take a deep breath when going into each shop. If you feel pressured by the store owner, politely ask them to give you some time and space to look around. If that doesn’t help simply leave the shop and move onto the next one.
Bargain, bargain, bargain
You will notice that almost every shop in markets such as the Grand Bazaar do not put any pricing on their products. This is to enable to store owner to push for the best price that they can get from the customer. It is important to note that there will almost always be wiggle room on the price so never accept the initial offer the store owner gives you. Counter the price the owner gave you or make a reasonable offer that you are willing to pay and see if the owner accepts this. In some cases, the owner may reject the offer. If this happens, just leave the store, in some cases, this will trigger the store owner to compromise a price closer to the counter offer.
Don’t stop shopping
If you find a product that you really like but the store owner won’t agree to a more reasonable price, don’t worry. The Grand Bazaar has multiple stores offering the same products. If you and the store owner are unable to compromise on an amount, simply leave the store and continue shopping until you find the same products at another store. Try the bargaining step again at the next store and see if the owner will compromise closer to an affordable price.
At first glance, Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar seems to be daunting and scary, but most of the store owners are friendly people just looking to make some sales for the day. If you keep your cool and stay focused, shopping at the Grand Bazaar market will be an experience you will never forget.