This guide is to help you pick the best Turkish souvenirs from Turkey for you and your loved ones.
Getting lost in the color and culture of the Grand Bazaar in Turkey is a truly enchanting experience. Thousands of stalls and tiny shops showcasing unique items and the mirage of a bygone era. An overwhelming choice of beautifully designed handmade products and delicious Turkish food that can make you nostalgic about a page in history that’s not even yours.
No matter where you go in Turkey, you will come across a supernova of amazing shopping opportunities to take advantage of. Enjoy, and thank me later!
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Our list of 20 unique Turkish souvenirs to buy
1. Turkish delight
I don’t really have a sweet tooth but whenever I walk by one of the Turkish delight shops I just can’t resist buying some. Turkish delight known as Locum in Turkish can be a great idea to take back home with you. You can buy an assortment of multiple flavors, shapes, and colors. Some are nut-filled, others are made with fruit and or spices. My favorite one is the red locum sprinkled with rose petals. It’s just so yummy!
Where to find Turkish Delight? Get the best Turkish delight from shops in the Grand Bazaars or any famous tourist area such as Istiklal street in Taksim. See Hafiz Mustafa
2. Turkish rugs
It goes without saying that if you are interested in buying a rug for your house, Turkish rugs are the most worthy souvenirs from Turkey. Handmade Turkish rugs are very costly though. You will have to come in the off-season (December to February) to get a good deal. Alternatively, you can opt for machine-made Turkish rugs which are much more affordable. When it comes to buying your epic Turkish rug, I would recommend taking your time to make sure you are buying an authentic Turkish rug before spending a fortune. But also, asking for help from a specialist you trust could be of great help.
Where to find good Turkish Rugs? Sultan Ahmet- near the Hagia Sophia, Grand Bazaar
3. The Evil Eye Protector Decor (Nazar boncugu)
The Evil Eye or Nazar Boncuğu in Turkish is a blue glass amulet believed to protect from the Evil Eye. This belief dates back to the Greek and Roman era but still many Turkic countries strongly believe in the power of the Nazar Boncugu. The evil Eye is among the popular Turkish souvenirs. This unique item is easily found in every corner of Turkey. While you want to buy it for protection and luck, Nazar Boncugu is an affordable Turkish souvenir. Unfortunately, I haven’t really tested its good luck power yet…
Where to buy your Nazar Boncugu? Souvenir shops, antique stores, Grand Bazaar. They are everywhere!
4. Turkish Baklava
Everyone’s favorite, I guess. Crusty from the outside and soft and sweet from the inside. Baklava is always a good treat to enjoy after your trip to Turkey. Baklava is a blend of Filo, nuts, and sweet syrup that results in a mouthwatering Turkish dessert. If you are thinking of buying Turkish Baklava as a souvenir, consider packing it nicely and carefully. If you visit Istanbul though seek out one of the Hafiz Mustafa bakeries for fresh and high-quality baklava.
Where to get Baklava? Available at most traditional bakeries and sweet shops. You want to get the freshly made ones, not the preserved ones found boxed in grocery stores.
5. Turkish coffee (Turk kahvesi)
“As black as hell, strong as death and as sweet as love”. As soon as I smell Turkish coffee I’m instinctively transported to Istanbul’s past and present. A good gift and souvenir for caffeine lovers. Turkish coffee has historically been considered and still is an important national drink for Turks after Turkish tea which is next on my list! Make sure to buy a Turkish coffee pot and a traditional coffee set. If you want to know where to drink and buy the best Turkish coffee in Istanbul, also how to make it at home, check out my Turkish coffee guide.
Where to buy Turkish coffee? You can’t go wrong with Kahve Dunyasi, which literally means the Coffee world. They stock quality Turkish coffee grounds and other filter coffee beans, sweets, etc. Their coffee can be found at their branches and in stores all over Istanbul. See their iconic packaging here.
6. Strong Turkish tea
The Turkish red drink is a more affordable alternative than coffee for Turks, since they drink it all day long without counting. Turkish tea is made in a double teapot and served in small Tulip-shaped glass. When you visit Turkey, be prepared to drink many cups of Turkish tea as you will be offered one whenever you visit a Bazaar shop. If you’re not a fan of the bitter-tasted tea add a little bit of sweetness and you might fall in love. If you do, don’t forget to bring it back home as a souvenir from Turkey.
Where to buy Turkish tea? Turkish tea is everywhere. You can get a good selection in any grocery store or local market.
7. Turkish tea and coffee sets
Turkish tea and coffee souvenirs can be complemented with a beautifully printed set of cups. Turkish tea is served in Tulip-shaped glass cups and colorful saucers underneath usually red, while Turkish coffee is served in matching ceramic cups and saucers.
Where to buy Turkish Teasets and coffee cups? You can pick up Turkish tea and coffee sets from the Grand Bazaar. Also, check out home stores in shopping malls like Karaca. You can even find tea sets in major supermarkets.
8. Handmade Ceramics
I personally think ceramics are one of the best Turkish souvenirs that can treasure the memory of your trip to Turkey. Ceramics and tiles play a big role in shaping Turkish architecture and art culture. This inspiring art form dates back to the Roman and Ottoman times. You can find ceramic art almost everywhere in Turkey from the Blue Mosque, Aya Sofia to the Traditional Hammams. But if you want a close look into this art check The Tiled Kiosk pavilion set in Topkapı Palace. For a souvenir to bring back home, you can find many small handmade artforms of ceramics such as bowls, cups, and house decorations.
9. Exotic Turkish Spices
Have you ever wondered about the secret behind the Turkish Kebab’s taste? It’s the spices of course! To make a delicious Turkish meal you will need a bunch of different spices and aromas which you can bring back home as a souvenir from Turkey, Yaay!
Where to buy spices in Istanbul? If you are wondering where to buy good quality spices, Turkey has a whole bazaar just for spices known as The Spice Bazaar.
10. Colorful Lamps and Lanterns
The Exquisite Turkish lamps and lanterns fit in different styles of environments. They are ideal to give an oriental touch in living and dining rooms. Turkish artisanal lamps also fit perfectly in vintage and classic environments. If you decide to buy a piece that can give an original and unique touch of color to your house, Turkish lanterns and lamps are a perfect choice. Make sure the shop wraps it up well to withstand the journey home.
11. Traditional Musical Instruments
When you visit Turkey, you’ll get the chance to witness amazing sounds and unique tones produced by traditional Turkish musical instruments. Some of the popular Turkish instruments to take home as a souvenir are the goblet drum (chalice drum), the saz, the Turkish longneck lute, and the kaval, a wood instrument popular with shepherds. Musical instruments, if not to play music with, are a great way to add a Turkish touch to your home.
12. Vintage Turkish antiques
There are many antique shops in Turkey, especially in Istanbul. If you have some time to spare, make sure to visit some of them. They are located in Cukurcuma, on Çukur Cuma Street. If you are an antique lover, you will be amazed at the absolutely gorgeous items displayed. Antiques are already famous among tourists as the best souvenirs to bring back home. Make sure to shop sensibly as all the items are worth the hassle whether it’s an original painting or a vintage armchair.
13. Quality Leather Goods
Leather goods in Turkey are known to be of high quality and affordable prices compared to Europe or America. You can’t go wrong with a leather jacket, purse, or jewelry. Leather products have always been a perfect and valuable choice of gifts for friends and family. There are many famous and trustworthy leather shops in Turkey if you are considering picking up a leather piece during your trip.
Where to buy leather shoes, jackets, and bags in Turkey? Check out the Grand Bazaar or any major shopping mall.
14. Healthy Dried Nuts & Fruits
Dried fruits and nuts occupy an important place in the Turkish culinary culture. In Turkey, Kuruyemiş or nuts are served during happy times and occasions. Some of the famous locally produced nuts and dried fruits in Turkey are hazelnuts, peanuts, pistachios, walnuts, walnuts, plums, and apricots. Nuts are a staple snack that play a big role in the country’s economy. So, if you are looking for a taste of Turkey to take as a souvenir, go for a collection of these different dried fruits and nuts. Also, they’re very healthy for a now and then snack.
15. Famous Turkish Lemon Cologne
When you spend some time in Turkey, you will notice the importance of lemon cologne to Turkish culture. Turks use lemon cologne on a daily basis for many purposes. In Turkey, lemon cologne is used to refresh and perfume clothes, also to ease the itching from mosquito bites.
Lemon cologne is considered a symbol of hospitality in Turkey. So, if you are given lemon cologne in a restaurant or when you visit someone as a guest just take it and welcome the gesture with a smile. Lemon cologne is sold everywhere for an incredibly cheap price so it won’t be a problem if you pick up a few small bottles as souvenirs from Turkey. Cologne can be also handy when traveling, especially now with the Coronavirus around.
16. Prayer Beads & Mats
Prayer mats and beads are very recommended as gifts or souvenirs from Turkey. Beautiful, affordable, and won’t take much space in your luggage.
Where to buy Prayer mats, hats, and beads in Turkey? You can find a variety of styles and colors in the Grand Bazaar. You can also find gift boxes of matching mats and beads that can include a praying outfit as well. You can also search for any Hac ve Umre market.
17. Turkish Hammam Scented Soap
After a decadent trip to Turkish Hammam, one might wish for another graceful bath with Turkish scented soap. So, why not bring back some of that experience home as a souvenir. The organic scented soap in Turkey is quite special. It comes in different scents and aromas such as olive oil, lavender, and honey. You can also buy Turkish black soap to exfoliate the skin.
Where to buy Turkish beauty products? Grand Bazaar, Spice bazaar.
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You will probably ask why gold is special in Turkey. Gold sold in Turkey is generally a higher carat than other countries and usually cheaper. Gold is important in Turkish culture. People give it on happy occasions. You can buy gold from anywhere in Turkey, but if you are looking for something specifically designed for you as a Turkey souvenir, head to the Grand Bazaar Gold Market. You will find many Kuyumcu (gold shops) who can produce the finest gold piece for you. Make sure to haggle to get a good deal.
19. Colored Nargile Pipes
Nargile, the Turkish smoking pipe found its way to Turkey during the Ottoman Empire. Hookah (Nargile) is an increasingly trending activity in Turkey with many coffee shops serving it with a variety of tobacco flavors including apple, raspberry, and watermelon. The exquisite pipe itself is a part of the experience. In time, however, nargiles became real art objects.
They come in different colors, shapes and can be crafted to hold your name initials. Nargiles are a great idea for souvenirs from Turkey if you want to immerse yourself in exotic Turkish culture through smoking. If not, you can always keep the pipe as an ornament.
20. Turkish Copper
The art of copper in Turkey which dates back as far as 3000 BC, is still alive and kicking. Turkish copper craftsmen produce not only kitchenware but also art pieces such as lamps, lanterns, and other decor items. Cooper coffee sets are widely used and famous in Turkey. I would recommend going for one of these as it is one of the practical souvenirs from Turkey, intended as a gift or to keep for your humble self.
Where to buy Turkish Souvenirs Online?
If for some reason you could not bring back a souvenir from Turkey and somehow you regret that, don’t worry. Anything can be bought online, even authentic and unique items including the ones made in Turkey. You can order souvenirs from Turkey through Turkish online shopping websites or the popular Amazon. To help you find authentic and made in Turkey souvenirs I have listed a link to the 20 souvenirs I mentioned above on Amazon, so you can be comfortable choosing the right items to remind you of your trip to Turkey.
- Turkish Delight: Turkish delight from Hazer Baba. Amazon shop is the best.
- Turkish Rugs and Carpets: Unique Loom store on Amazon that sells amazing Turkish rugs and carpets imported from Turkey.
- The Evil Eye Protector: You buy the Turkish Evil Eye decor from Amazon for as little as $4. You have a variety of styles to choose from.
- Baklava: For Baklava I wouldn’t recommend buying it online as it won’t be fresh but if you still want to try getting it delivered to you from Turkey, check out the Grand Bazaar website.
- Turkish coffee grounds: Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi Turkish Coffee is one of the best and highest quality coffee brands in Turkey. You can’t perfectly make Turkish coffee without a Turkish coffee pot. So, don’t forget to buy one.
- Turkish tea leaves: Get your Turkish tea leaves and a stainless steel Turkish teapot from Amazon.
- Turkish coffee and tea sets: These authentic Turkish coffee cups will make your coffee taste even better. But if you are looking for a set of Turkish tea glass cups, this one is amazing.
- Ceramics: These Turkish-style ceramic bowls are so cute and handy when you need them.