Istanbul Grand Bazaar Tour with Spice Market

Unravel the history of trade in Istanbul
From US$385 privately
Book a Tour
Tour Details
3 hours
Product Type
  • Spice Bazaar
  • Grand Bazaar
Photos & Highlights
  • Gain an understanding of Istanbul's position as a global crossroads, both historical and present
  • Led by a local expert
Select a date
Tour Description
Advantageously positioned at the intersection of two continents and two seas, Istanbul has played a key role in international commerce since antiquity. This 3-hour Grand Bazaar Tour, including the Spice Market and other areas of central Istanbul, provides a look at both modern and historic trade and commerce. Visiting the bazaar provides an understanding of how the past and present intertwine through the theme of making and selling. Along the way, we'll visit a number of local merchants and learn how Istanbul continues to occupy a central role in the production and trade of clothing, carpets, jewelry, and other crafts.

Grand Bazaar Tour

We will begin with the booksellers who occupy a small market near the university and look at how their presence through the ages has defined and been defined by, the role of Istanbul University. Winding through the maze of streets in this part of town, we'll arrive at the Grand Bazaar, arguably one of the more vibrant markets in the Middle East. As we trace this course, our expert will discuss how Istanbul's strategic position on the Bosphorus and along the Silk Road connects Europe with the East and has placed the city at the center of trade and commerce for the last 1500 years. This is still very much the case, with most Middle Eastern businesses setting up shop here in order to trade with the West. Of course, in the background, there is the Bosphorus, which continues to see several million tons of cargo pass through each year.

Take Aways

In the Grand Bazar, our expert will discuss the creation of this space by the first Ottomans, as well as its current life. Our walk concludes with a stroll downhill to the Spice Bazaar (or Egyptian Bazaar), which was constructed in the 17th century and became an important market for international traders and the Ottoman rulers. By the end of the walk, our expert will have drawn a vivid portrait of Istanbul as a crossroads of global trade and exchange, both past and present.


Is there a dress code for your tours in Istanbul?
The general Istanbul dress code for tourists, and especially women, is to cover legs at least past the knees, and cover the chest and stomach, but there is no requirement for anyone to be fully covered. Plan on bringing a tunic with you to cover your shorts if necessary.

We are traveling with our kids. Is this tour the right choice for us?
Yes, we can make this tour work for families with children.

Is this tour accessible for people in a wheelchair?
Yes, this tour is accessible for clients with mobility issues or that are in a wheelchair. There is an alternative itinerary that allows them to still see both bazaars.
Should we bring cash to the tour?
Please have local currency on hand, there might be some extra personal expenses at the market.

We arrive from a cruise ship, can we start the tour from the port?
The tour starts at the Bazaar. The distance from the Cruise Terminal isn't big, but it is not within walking distance. You can easily take a cab to the meeting point.

We are in Istanbul for a whole day, what can we add to this tour?
For a full-day experience, we recommend looking into our Topkapi Tour or our Hagia Sophia Tour in addition to the Grand Bazaar Tour.

I have food allergies, do I have to take any precautions for this tour?
During the course of this walk, you might taste some little samples of various foods. If you have a food allergy or other dietary requirements, please let us know in advance so that we can take this into account.

Can we shop on our own during the tour? 
Preferably, no. This walk doesn't include shop stops, carpet shopping, etc., and focuses on the historical side. Along the way, you'll visit a number of local merchants but this is not a shopping tour per se. After the end of the tour, you will be able to shop on your own at your pace.
Where You'll Start
(4.75) 48 Reviews

Reviews can only be left by Context customers after they have completed a tour. For more information about our reviews, please see our FAQ.

One note is it meet travelers at their hotels. It was very difficult to find the meeting location, and as travelers we didn’t know that the Egyptian and Grand Baazar where two different things. Therefore meet the travelers at the hotel and move to the location with them.
Nur was so knowledgeable, kind and we really learned about the culture and richness of the spices.
Reyan was incredible - truly connected us to the beauty of the culture ! We will surely take another tour with her!