Famous open-air flea markets in İstanbul

Alara Benlier | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Istanbul has so many stores and shopping centers, but if you want an authentic experience of shopping cheap designer' clothes, you have to visit the open-air marketplaces. There are currently more than 200 flea markets in Istanbul, which pop up in the city every week in different locations. These marketplaces are called "Pazar" in Turkish. They offer everything that you can imagine; fresh produce, clothes, electronics, cosmetics, toys and so much more. Those markets are an old tradition, of course, which comes from the Ottoman times. There are some basic rules to shop in these markets. First of all, you should always bargain. You might not be successful, but it is still worth a shot. Secondly, do not let the item in your hand go until you have made up your mind. When you put the item down, someone will definitely take it. And lastly, shout at the stallholder to pay; otherwise, you will be stuck between zillion of people waiting to pay. So, if you want to shop in the best flea markets of İstanbul, here are my favorite ones! 

© iStock/denizbayram

Every Thursday, you can buy almost anything ranging from fruit, vegetables, and clothing, to all sorts of household materials in Erenköy Sosyete Pazarı. The locals usually shop for clothing here at rock-bottom prices. I should warn you, "pazars" are pretty crowded and loud places to be. You might lose your mind between disorganized stalls, and relentless sellers on table-tops with overflowing goods. But, you will find treasures like Mac cosmetics, Zara dresses, and the best fake Louis Vuitton bags- all of them very cheap. The items that are sold here are most likely original, and they are cheap because they are just the producer's surplus. I remember buying my first Victoria's Secret pajama set from here ages ago. So yeah, if you are looking for high street and trendy shoes, bags, unusual jewelry, and home textiles, you definitely have to check out Erenköy Sosyete Pazarı.

© iStock/denizbayram

If you are on the European side of Istanbul on a Thursday, you have to check out the Ulus Sosyete Pazarı. Here you can find fresh fruit and vegetables, honey, eggs, pastries, prepared meals, textiles, curtains, collectibles and many more! Like Erenköy, you can buy unusual jewels and cosmetics at irresistible prices. Ulus Sosyete Pazarı is known as a "high society market" because it has a wide variety of items, which are both fake and real brand products. You can shop brand products like Gap, Adidas, Fred Perry T-shirts, Abercrombie sweatshirts, Burberry boots, Ralph Lauren t-shirts, etc. PS. The prices of the items are a little higher than in the other open marketplaces in İstanbul.

© iStock/Irina_Timokhina

Every Saturday, you can shop for designer shoes, unusual homeware stuff, bulks of exquisite organic produce and gorgeous jewelry for almost no money in Bakırköy Cumartesi Pazarı! This marketplace is more textile-oriented, so don't expect an enormous amount of fresh fruit like in other markets. There are definitely bigger crowds in it though. If you are looking for a beautiful evening dresses, you have to check out this place. You can get the latest models of evening dresses for a very reasonable price. In addition to textiles, you can also buy cosmetics.

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