Ever curious about what a local market looks like for us in Izmir, Turkey? Look no further than the Bostanlı Pazar!
In this article, I cover:
Here we go!
Depending on one’s love of crowds, the weekly outdoor market of Bostanlı Pazar competes for one of the best or one of the worst parts of Turkey. The empty covered parking in a matter of hours is filled to the brim with a surprisingly organized array of stands that sell fruit, vegetables, nuts, clothes and household items. The sellers can be heard in the distant calling out for buyers and sharing how scrumptious their products taste.
The Bostanlı Pazar, established in Karşıyaka’s (literally “the other side”) Bostanlı neighborhood, exceeds the normal neighborhood bazaar by being the largest market in Izmir. Not overly touristy, sights and sounds of daily life in Turkey engulf visitors as they enter the market. But unlike other smaller markets, tourists can still find more traditional Turkish items for sale such as Turkish towels and antique dishes. In addition, local vendors with shops downtown bring their rugs, purses and handcrafted jewelry to the market.
However, the experience is not for everyone. The market can be loud and very busy, especially in the afternoon and evening. Exploring the market in the morning will allow for a more relaxed experience. While the items are a bargain, quality items are rare. Bargain vendors sell clothes with minor defects, such as dresses/shirts with small holes in them or t-shirts with a slight offset in the print.
This famous Bostanlı Pazar is only open on Wednesdays.
How to get there:
The Bostanlı Pazar attracts visitors from all over the city. After taking a bus or ferry to the Bostanlı Iskelesi, the market is an easy 10 minutes walk. Several buses also travel from Karşıyaka and Bostanlı by the Bostanlı Pazar on their way to Mavişehir. Otherwise, for around 10 lira you can grab a taxi for a quick drop off right by the entrance.
Traveling by car presents a slight difficulty because the parking is difficult and hard to come by the later it gets in the day. The 6 lane seaside road between the Bostanlı Pazar and the coast becomes 4 lanes as visitors start parking in the side lanes. There is a small parking lot to the east of the market but it is usually packed with the seller’s vehicles.
What to bring:
- Cash: Some vendors that sell higher priced items like rugs may have a credit card payment option. However, cash will usually get you a discount since there is no fee required for the payment.
- Rolling cart: For larger purchases or hungry eyes, bring a rolling cart to make the trip home easier to manage! The kilos of fruits and vegetables quickly add up!
- Camera: If you are touring the markets on vacation, bring your camera to take pictures! After checking the locals’ approval for a photo, you may find the seller calling you over to their stands to pose for a shot!
What to eat:
Of course, the vendors always offer up samples of their food but make sure to leave room for the gözleme stands outside of the covered Bostanlı Pazar. Gözleme is like a Turkish quesadilla except not as much cheese and thiner dough (see video below!) With several stands to choose from, order a potato, spinach, cheese or eggplant stuffed gözleme and drink an ayran (salty yogurt drink) and relax with your meal in the provided chairs and tables.
How to navigate the market:
If coming for the experience and not for a weeks supply of food, start the tour from the west side where the clothing and household items are sold. The middle section is full of vegetables and fruits that are in season, nuts, pickles and fresh herbs. The last section on the far east is reserved for cheese, olives, and seafood. Many varieties of cheese from different parts of Turkey can be found in these cheese stalls. Come hungry as vendors are eager to let you sample their products.
What to buy:
Some of the items that you see are priced about the same as what you would get from a local market, but other items, such as shawls and women and children’s clothing, can be found at ridiculously cheap prices (as low as 5 TL or less). Make sure to try the dried fruit and nuts (“kuruyemiş”).
Visiting with the family:
The market spans a large area and even regular visitors find themselves lost among the ever-changing stalls. While it is possible to come with young children, it can be difficult. The crowds are tricky to navigate and they can easily get lost. Children who grow tired of shopping can enjoy the seaside park across the street.
A final note:
If you really want to experience a market in Izmir and you miss the Wednesday market in Bostanlı, there are other markets in nearby Karşıyaka on Sunday (only food) and Tuesday (only clothes and household items).
Note: This article was originally guest-posted for Yabangee.
I would love to hear from you! Comment below or on the video answering one of the following questions:
2. What tips do you have?
3. What did you find interesting from the video?