Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar is a true cave of wonders; a labyrinth of exotic treasures, must-have trinkets and true Turkish Delights. You won’t want to leave this magical wonderland once you step inside.

However, it’s one of the largest markets in the world where up to 500,000 daily visitors fall for the charms of the smooth-talking merchants. 

Here’s how to outsmart their wily works and ensure you secure a fair price for your wares…

Istanbuls grand bazaar

Play It Cool

Don’t be too much of a keen-bean. Even if you have to have it’, these professionals can read all the signs of a definite customer – and there’s little or no hope of not getting charged tourist prices if you act like a walking wallet of Lira.

Couple in Istanbuls grand bazaar

We Mean Really Cool!

Haggling is all an act and you’ve got to be willing to play your role. They’ll throw one-liners at you, and they might even try and guilt you but don’t give in. Throw some charm right back at them – a smile goes a long way – but definitely play hardball. And when push comes to shove, be prepared to walk away. 

As you turn your back and even start walking out the door, there’s a good chance they’ll agree to a significant reduction. It’s an age-old trick but works nearly every time! And even if it doesn’t, there’s another merchant selling the same thing, so you can try your luck elsewhere.

Lamps in Istanbuls Grand Bazaar

Take Your Time

It’s simple: the more time you spend haggling, the more you’re likely to knock off. 

To throw them off a little, try looking at the product, shrugging, looking unsure – as if you’re trying to decide if it’s worth the price offered. Usually, if they know you want it but aren’t willing to pay their price, they’ll lower their offer.

Rugs in the Grand Bazaar

Do Your Research

If you know what your product is actually worth, you’ll be able to tell whether you’re getting a good deal or not. 

Make an offer around 30 – 50% off what the price actually is and then you’ve secured some negotiating room. They’ll never accept your first offer and you shouldn’t give in to theirs. If you give some wiggle room, there’s a greater chance you’ll succeed.

Sweets Grand Bazaar

There IS Too Much Of A Good Thing

When doing your research, make sure you try and find a way of telling whether you’ve found yourself the real deal, or whether you’re being charged silver for aluminium. It matters! 

And just because it’s a market doesn’t mean you haven’t found something authentic (though we’d steer clear of the Rolex’s). Marketplaces have hordes of trinkets– some trash and some real treasures, so if you’re putting down the big bucks then it’s important to know if you’re getting your money’s worth. It’s all too easy to get ripped off on expensive items.

Women in the grand bazaar

Give them a sneak peek!

A final effort of getting the price you want is to take out your wallet and show them how much you’re willing to pay – and literally pull it out and almost put it in their hand as you keep your hands on the goods.

Once you’ve given them your final price, stick to your guns and be prepared to walk straight out. Chances are, they want the sale as much as you and securing the deal right then is better than risking a sale altogether!

The Grand Bazaar is just one of Istanbul’s gems to discover! Explore more of Turkey’s old-world capital with our travel guides.

Choice Hotels in Istanbul