Built in the 17th century, the covered Egyptian Spice Bazaar is Istanbul’s fragrant central market for all things flavorful. Piles of pepper, saffron, teas, and dried apricots sit next to shops selling colorful Turkish delight, silk scarves, and glass mosaic lamps. Take time to chat with vendors, sip tea, and haggle for the perfect price.
Smaller than the Grand Bazaar but still sprawling, the Egyptian Spice Bazaar is a feast for the senses. Built originally as part of the New Mosque complex, the bazaar is a popular central place to purchase herbs, spices and spice mixes, tea, dried fruit, dried meat, and other delicacies.
Many private and small-group tours of Istanbul combine a visit to the Egyptian Spice Bazaar with stops at the Grand Bazaar and other places in Sultanahmet, including the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, and Topkapi Palace.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Egyptian Spice Bazaar is a must-visit for all first-time visitors to Istanbul, especially foodies.
- Wear comfortable shoes to wander around the bazaar.
- Some vendors accept major credit cards but have some cash on hand.
- Don’t be afraid to haggle—in fact, it’s tradition and expected.
How to Get There
The Egyptian Spice Bazaar is located next to the New Mosque in bustling Eminonu Square, which is a transit hub and easily reachable by many forms of transportation—take a taxi, bus, ferry, or tram to the Eminonu stop. The bazaar is walking distance from key attractions in the historical neighborhood of Sultanahmet and the Grand Bazaar. Eminonu Pier is one of the city’s main ferry piers, making the bazaar and square easily accessible from the Asian side of Istanbul.
When to Get There
The Egyptian Spice Bazaar is open every day from 8am (9:30am on Sundays) to evening, typically around 7:30pm. The Spice Bazaar is popular with locals and visitors alike, so arrive early in the day to beat the crowds.
How to Haggle
Haggling for a better price is expected in the Egyptian Spice Bazaar. Decide in advance what you would like to pay and suggest a price that is lower than that, as the vendor will try to haggle it up. Always be willing to walk away from a purchase. Often the vendor will bring down the price as you are leaving.