Istanbul owns a very diverse community of people who come from a plethora of ethnicities including modern European to an old classic Asian. Therefore you can get a lot of best things to buy in Istanbul that are classy and traditional. You must be a great bargaining freak if you want extra discounts on items in Istanbul. As there are some great souvenirs to buy in Istanbul that are rich in craft and prices but if you bargain you can crack a good deal of products here. The best fact about shopping Istanbul is you get a bunch of local places that are like the traditional complexes owning one particular item with numerous buyers of the same product all at the same place giving you an opportunity to get a desirable price. Here I have curated a list of top 10 things to buy in Istanbul so that you don’t miss out on the best of goodies this city offers.
List of Things to Buy in Istanbul
1. Nargile pipes
These are some of the famous souvenirs to buy in Istanbul which a lot of tourists love to take back home as their substitute for boring hookah pipes. Nargile is basically Hookah or water pipes that are prepared with love and skills in Istanbul. Their glasswork is super amazing and you can vividly see it in their work. It is one of the best past times you can spend with the old age uncles to get all the local folktales or secrets from their golden memories. Even if you aren’t into smoking, these towering pipes can help fire up a conversation among guests in your living room as well. With these ornate standing pipes coming in colourful motifs you can have a long conversation with anyone. You get these amazing pieces of artwork just for about 100 Lira per piece in the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul.
2. Turkish jewellery
There are lots of designs and accessories sold by any famous tourism city but spending expensive dollars just for a local piece of single ring that kiosks of jewellers sell it as their authentic traditional beauty. But do you really believe that? That’s why you must try the Turkish jewellery that isn’t slaved for being sold out at the big shopping malls. You can just walk into the souks(marketplace or bazaar) with displays of glittering gems, gold and silver accessories, which are the best thing to buy in Istanbul without any expensive hassle. Only for precautions remember to ask for a receipt bearing the gold’s karat, as well as the seller or shop’s complete name and contact details.
3. Turkish Delight
These are the sugar delights of Turkey that are sold all over the world in fact, it has made its special place in some movies as a perfect medium for the witches to hallucinate various boys! Well, I don’t know about you but watching their different colours and a long stretch of caramel fibres I am assured you must not think twice about what to buy in Istanbul? When you are standing in front of a confectionery shop in Istanbul it’s hard not to buy these sweet delicacies. This traditional Turkish Delight can meltdown anyone’s heart and body as well( if they have diabetes!) so be aware, it’s super sweet. You can get these at the famous kiosks inside the Grand Bazaar, where they even let you taste as a sample before purchasing.
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4. Spices and scents
It might be a stereotype but Middle eastern countries do own the best spices and herbs collections. Yes! Of course, because they have the best weather conditions to sustain these aromatic treasures. Therefore you must not miss these things to buy in Istanbul that not only keeps your kitchen aromatic but full of flavours as well. You can long-range of spices, herbs, perfumes, and other traditional aromatic products sold at the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. There is also a special section of Spice Bazaar if you want more variety ranging from Middle Eastern saffron, meatball spices, fermented flour, and curry powders everything is sold in neat packets, ready for you to take home. The pricing starts from just 20 Lira a packet so I don’t think it’s that expensive for any food lover. You can also get a custom-mixed perfume in these markets if you wait for a while and enjoy some Turkish tea with the seller.
5. Hammam Soap
With Istanbul, it’s impossible to complete the tour without going once for their hammam bath. But if you really enjoyed it, which I am sure you will, you can bring home a bit of that Turkish bath experience by purchasing hammam soaps in Istanbul. These are even the best souvenirs to buy in Istanbul as you get a perfectly packed set that you can use for many months. These popular items are sold at the Grand Bazaar and come in various aromatic scents and types that you won’t even imagine. They have olive oil, honey, lavender, and pure white ones for a soothing aroma lover too. But the top traditional soaps are Turkish black soaps, which help exfoliate the skin and come with a silky, buttery texture, from around 45 lira a pack.
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6. Kilim Rugs
Kilim rugs are not only representing the skilled craftsmanship of Istanbul workers but they present their long range of generations taking on this ancient craft for such a long period of time. The country’s ancient carpet-weaving craft has been well-preserved through generations and they show the best vibrant and intricate designs that are showcased all across the regions. Kilims are produced through traditional flat weaving techniques and come in varying sizes which you can use, as you like including a wall hanging decor or just a mat to chill out in the gardens back at home. The average price for this must-buy thing in Istanbul is around 600 lira a piece.
7. Turkish Lamps
If you have already explored the Nargiles of Istanbul then you will be well acquainted with their glasswork and charming colours of usage in their crafts. Therefore, you will find some spectacular designs of lamps in Istanbul. Irrespective of Glass items there are other items that come in a huge variety, ranging from small hanging lamps to chandeliers and vase-like desk lamps in different colours, motifs, and styles. You must not miss out these top things to buy in Istanbul where they light up your rooms with such an adorable and romantic guide. You can easily hand-carry most of the smaller items as they pack it very well still you must be aware while putting your bag for checking at the airports.
After exploring the Hagia Sophia or Blue Mosque you must be very well familiar with the admiring and dazzling ceramic work of Turkish people. If you want to take some of that 8th and 9th-century style home with you you must get these famous things to buy in Istanbul that every traveler is amused to watch. Iznik bowls and other Turkish ceramics are hot items that you can pick up at the Grand Bazaar. There are plenty of kiosks that sell colorful modern and traditional ceramics along with stunning ornaments, ornate plates, mugs, ashtrays, vases, and even cute animal figurines that will definitely rock your drawer cases.
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9. Backgammon Set
For all the old school guys who love to play chess or any other board games try this middle eastern one. Backgammon is a playing tavla that you play in the street corners of Istanbul. There is also a famous saying that when you lose the game, tradition dictates that you must take your board home with you, tucked under your arm so that everyone could see that you’ve lost. It’s up to you but this is the best souvenir to buy in Istanbul especially from Grand Bazaar that has a number of stalls selling handcrafted sets that combine mother of pearl and various woods in exquisite mosaics.
For having a relished present for your beloved wife, girlfriend, or anyone. You must explore the spoiling choice of scarves of various quality, colours and designs of this pashmina fabric. There is an old saying to check the authenticity of pashmina that it can pass from the ring no matter how long it is due to its fine weaving. The best quality that are popular souvenirs to buy in Istanbul is the pashminas, combining cashmere and silk fabrics. Their prices vary widely from 10TL for the cheaper ones (but still very beautiful) to the pure silk pashminas selling at 100TL and more.
If you are thinking of exploring Istanbul’s famous entourage of these splendid things mentioned above then be clear that they won’t let you get away with the fewer items as they have a lot of beautiful things to buy in Istanbul. As Turks are very emotional with their services so if you get to them they will try their best to tempt you with their best selling skills where you can get top souvenirs to buy in Istanbul. So get ready to stretch your pockets a bit more, to shop a bit of extra delicious treats and gifts from the mainland of Istanbul.