What souvenirs to bring from Turkey
Dreaming of memorable souvenirs with a real oriental flavor? We tell you what you can bring from Turkey. Learn about the prices of popular gifts and souvenirs. Tourist tips on how to make bargain purchases.
A good gift to bring back from Turkey is local coffee. It is finely ground and differs in taste from the usual. It has to be brewed in a turk.
Prices . A pack of Mehmet Efendi Kurukahveci 100 g costs 3,5 TRY. This brand of coffee is considered the best.
Tip . If you want to buy quality coffee, go to stores, not the market. In Istanbul, we bought great freshly ground coffee next to the Egyptian Bazaar at Mehmet Efendi (Eminönü) – you’ll find it by the mind-blowing smell of freshly ground coffee and the long line!
Mehmet Efendi Kurukahveci coffee packs. Available at specialty stores in Istanbul (Photo: Lost in Anywhere / flickr.com).
Coffee Jelly Beaker
This wonderful device for brewing coffee is called a turkey. The turkish jug is shaped like a truncated cone with a wooden handle. There are small vessels for one serving and larger ones that are designed for two or three servings.
Price . A simple copper jug costs 12-20 TRY, with inlay and embossing 30-45 TRY.
Tip . The best jazz bowl is copper, embossed along the body and with a long handle that doesn’t get hot. Make sure you don’t get an aluminum one – the copper one smells like metal and is heavier. We bought it in a street shop behind the Egyptian bazaar in Istanbul. Haggle hard! The competition is high, the seller will give in.
A copper jeze bowl on a copper tray in a Turkish café (Photo: wikimedia.org / Michael Plutchok)
What, besides coffee, can you bring back from Turkey as a gift for a lover? Buy coffee cups. The most common ceramic cups and elegant white porcelain pieces with brass coasters, lids and saucers are on sale.
Price . A set of 6 cups costs 15-20 TRY.
Tip . If you are looking for a representative gift, get cups with silver-plated cup holders and chasing.
Coffee cup with cup holder, saucer and lid (Photo: pxhere.com)
In addition to coffee, Turks love tea. Popular varieties are black, green, and fruity, especially pomegranate and apricot. Herbs sold in bundles are melissa, sage, St. John’s wort and thyme.
Price . Packs of green and black tea weighing 100 gr are 2 TRY, 1 kg packs cost 8,5 TRY. A bundle of herbs is from 3 TRY.
Tip . If you want to choose a quality drink, buy Çaykur brand tea .
Çaykur tea packaging (Photo: C. Fountainstand / flickr.com)
Tea and water glasses
Turks drink tea from special glass glasses with an elegant “waist” – armuds . Thanks to its unusual shape, it stays hot for a long time. They serve cold water to the coffee in the same glassware. There are armuds on sale without painting and with fine designs on the glass.
Price . A set of 6 cups will cost 10 TRY.
Advice . Do not buy glasses with paper stickers. They can easily be washed away with water.
Armuds have a small volume – 100 ml, so tea in them is drunk freshly brewed (Photo: azerbaijani photographer / flickr.com)
Anise vodka raki
What to bring from Turkey of alcohol? Take a popular strong drink, which is drunk diluted with water. Turkish anise vodka is similar to Greek raki, but slightly different in taste. It has a strength of 40 to 55% vol. Like ordinary vodka, raki in a bottle is completely transparent. But it is worth adding water to the anise tincture, as it becomes whitish and cloudy.
Price . A 0.7 liter bottle will cost 80 TRY.
Advice . Keep in mind that no more than 1 liter of alcohol whose strength exceeds 40% is allowed to be imported into Russia. The most popular brand is Yeni Rakı .
Yeni Rakı bottle (Photo: www.yenirakiglobal)
Textiles and clothing from Turkey are known for their high quality and low price. Do not know what to bring from Turkey as a gift to the family? Get great knitwear for everyone in the family.
Price . Robe, pajamas or sweater from 58 TRY, leggings from 39 TRY, skirt from 46 TRY, dress from 77 TRY, tracksuit from 210 TRY.
Tip . To buy locally made clothes, not Chinese fakes, buy them at factory stores. Adilik specializes in fashionable things for young people, Sumak Xl Fashion – things for the fat and tall, and Oztаs соllestion – lingerie and clothes for home. For brand clothing is better to go to major shopping centers: in Istanbul or other large cities.
The Cevahir mall is the largest in Europe and one of the largest in the world (Photo: IbrahimArab / flickr.com)
Leather and leather shoes
Leather goods that are made in Turkey are known all over the world. They are of very high quality and inexpensive. One of the best manufacturers of leather products is considered a firm Punto. Tourists try to buy leather shoes brands Hotic, Helle, Nursacе, Үеѕіl, Shoe Tek, Pabus and Dеsa.
Price . A leather jacket costs from 425 TRY, a bag from 320 TRY, women’s boots from 680 TRY, boots from 580 TRY, and sandals from 215 TRY.
Tip . Leather goods are sold in factories without any extra charge, unlike in stores. If you buy on the market, make sure you don’t get a Chinese fake.
Pads for making shoes (Photo: unplash.com / @jeztimms)
The most popular company that makes gold jewelry in Turkey is Dilmener . Beautiful Byzantine-style jewelry in 22- and 24-carat yellow gold is not difficult to buy in markets. For example, at Istanbul’s Kapalı Çarşı .
Price . Turkish gold costs from 160 TRY per 1 g.
Tip . To avoid running into a fake, choose gold jewelry only in specialized jewelry stores.
Grand Bazaar (Kapalı Çarşı) in Istanbul (Photo: unplash.com / @omar_dc)
Although the whole world is getting rid of smoking tobacco, it’s still a long way from perfect. According to many tourists, a good solution is to bring a hookah from Turkey. Turks call it narghile . Hookahs are not a local invention, but they have become one of the symbols of the Turkish way of life.
In addition to hookahs, it is easy to buy any fruit tobacco, hookah mouthpieces, tongs to turn the coals and a special grate to protect the coals from the wind in Turkey. Go to bazaars rather than souvenir shops for these accessories.
Price . Small hookahs 30-45 high cost about TRY 20, popular hookahs 50-110 cm cost TRY 30.
Tip . From Turkey you can take out up to 2 kg of hookah tobacco, but in Russia you are allowed to bring only 250 g. And it can be done only by passengers who are 18 years old or older. It is allowed to take one or two hookahs. It is better to put a fragile flask in hand luggage, and a metal shaft – only in luggage.
Hookah with a hand-painted ceramic vessel – a great gift from Turkey (Photo: xalphas / flickr.com)
What to bring back from Turkey from food? Sweet eaters don’t miss the melt-in-your-mouth traditional sweet treat. Tender and sweet lukum are sold at any resort. Choose a treat with any filling – fruit, honey, nuts or rose petals.
Price . Lukum in 1 kg boxes costs about 50 TRY.
Tip . When buying be careful. Sometimes sellers give you a taste of pistachio and put in the box a cheaper version of the treat with peanuts.
Rahat-lukum (Photo: Kit Logan / flickr.com)
What else to bring from Turkey as a gift
Here are a few ideas of what else you can bring from Turkey as a souvenir to friends and relatives:
Top 25: Turkish souvenirs, or what to bring from Turkey
Sweet Souvenirs from Turkey: What to Bring from Food and Drink
Baklava, pishmaniye, Turkish Turkish delight, sherbet and other sweets.
The selection of Turkish desserts is enormous. You can find them in bazaars, pastry shops (such as Akdeniz Dondurma in Kaleici district in Antalya) and specialty stores (Yenigün or Sorbet). Be sure to try before you buy – just take a bottle of water with you. The best way to buy them is by the weight: they are fresher and cheaper by the kilo! The only exception would be pismania, it is better to take it packed, because it easily absorbs moisture and loses its airiness.
Turkish sweets on the Mediterranean coast
Rose jam and Mesir sweet paste
Unusual jams abound in Turkey. Not only from rose petals, but also from walnuts, bergamot, watermelons, eggplants, tomatoes… You can buy it in any supermarket. The most famous firms in Turkey, which make various jams, are considered to be Koska and Yenigün (it is an Anatolian brand, so look for such stores in Antalya). But the medicinal paste “Mesir” is similar not to jam, but to liquid honey, although it can also be found in a solid form, in the form of candy or lukum. This sweet souvenir from Turkey is on the list of Intangible Heritage of UNESCO. It contains 41 natural ingredients, including ginger, turmeric, bee milk, cloves, pepper, coriander, anise, saffron, cinnamon, cardamom, lemon zest … The easiest to find paste “Mesir” in the region of Manisa: here it was first made as medicine for the mother of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent. But even now it is eaten to improve the immune system and quickly cope with respiratory diseases.
Spices from Turkey
Spices can be bought anywhere: in supermarkets, markets, specialty stores … If you want to bring home such spicy souvenirs from Turkey, it is best to take them in the markets, where Turks buy spices too. The ideal choice is the Egyptian market in Istanbul, which is also known unofficially as the spice market. But if you are resting in the resorts of the Mediterranean Sea, look for special spice stores (Aktar and Baharatci). But the spices in the souvenir shops and tourist spots is better not to get, because there is a chance that you’ll buy a fake at a high price. We also do not recommend buying ready-made spice mixes, because their components are so minced that it is impossible to understand the quality and expiration date.
Turkish spices are better to buy at the market by weight.
Turkish pomegranate sauce
Pomegranate sour sauce is highly concentrated natural pomegranate juice without preservatives or other additives. The only thing that is added is some spices in small quantities. Such a sauce goes perfectly with meat and fish, salads and desserts, and even ice cream. It is sold in supermarkets or at the market. The best choice is the one marked “Nar Ekşisi” or “Ev yapımı Nar Ekşisi” (homemade pomegranate sauce) if you buy it at the market. But if it says “Nar Ekşili sos” on the bottle, it means that sugar has been added, which makes the sauce sweet but not natural.
Raki is a Turkish anise vodka (strength 40-45 degrees). It has a characteristic taste and resembles a cough medicine, and the aroma of anise enhances this similarity. One of the most popular brands is YeniRaki. This vodka has a good quality and quite democratic price. Another quality brand is TekirDag, which may well be a bright souvenir from Turkey. The elite varieties of anise vodka include Alinbas: its price is much higher, and it is considered prestigious to drink such raki.
Traditional Turkish glass (chaybard)
Turkish tea, coffee and tableware
Turkish tea and tea utensils
Tea in Turkey is often sold in large quantities (half a kilogram rather than 100-200 grams, as we are used to), and this is easy to understand if you know about Turkish tea culture. They drink a lot of tea here, and it is very different. Conventionally all tea can be divided into three kinds: black tea leaves, herbal tea and powder tea. The most popular brands of black tea are Çaykur and Doğadan. This tea is not what we are used to drink, and not everyone likes it, so before you buy a big packet as a souvenir from Turkey, try it. Herbal teas (for example ada tea, or sage tea in Russian) are better to look for in the markets, ideally at the Egyptian market in Istanbul. And take it by weight, so as not to buy a pig in a poke. But it is better not to buy powdered teas (apple, pomegranate and others that Turks treat tourists to), because they are a chemical mixture based on sugar, citric acid and food essences. To preserve the Turkish flavor, tea as a souvenir you can add tea utensils – a special Turkish samovar teapot (“chaydanlyk”), tea cups (“chaybardy”) with saucers and small spoons. You can buy it all at the market, in supermarkets, in souvenir shops, or even in gas station stores (we once bought our first tea set there).
Souvenir tea utensils
Turkish coffee and coffee utensils
Turkish coffee is distinguished by its fine grind, rich flavor, and light creamy crema. It is better to buy it at a grocery market or in large supermarkets, or if possible go to Istanbul for it. There, in the oldest store “Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi”, located on Tahmis Street behind the Egyptian market, you can buy fresh roasted coffee or vacuum-packed fine ground coffee. It will be a great souvenir from Turkey! We only advise you to take a few small packs instead of a large pack, so you can better preserve the aroma and thus the quality of the drink. Coffee utensils are also an excellent option from the list of “What to bring from Turkey,” because Turkish coffee is better to drink from the Turkish coffee cups. Take also cups of water for coffee: this feature of “coffee drinking” – wash down each sip with cold water to enhance the taste – is known to everyone who vacationed in Turkey. Do not forget to buy and jezuzu (turkey).
One of the Turkish ceramics
Tobacco and smokes
Hookahs in Turkey come in two varieties: regular ones, which are smoked, and souvenir ones, which are used as a decoration. In souvenir shops the latter are most often sold. Among Turkish hookah tobacco we recommend Serbetli and Nakhla. Another souvenir from Turkey can be Meerschaum pipe. Meerschaum, or sea foam, is a light material formed from the remains of prehistoric sea creatures. It is mined only in one place – in Turkey, in the neighborhood of Eshkishir village, located 200 km away from Istanbul. Meerschaum is perfect for making cigarette pipes: it does not become too hot, does not burn and perfectly absorbs moisture and resins. Decorated with a thread, such a pipe can cost quite decent – from 75$! But if you dare to buy this souvenir nevertheless pay attention to the fact that the tube is marked “Block Meerschaum” or “Solid meerschaum”: this means that it is made from a single piece of sea foam and not from a pressed one, which means that this is not a fake but a quality author’s product.
Cosmetics, perfume and not only
Hammam set and handmade soap
In the hammam kit, usually consists of a special towel (peshtemal), a hard sponge-mitten (kese), natural soap and sometimes oils. The set can be purchased in the hammam, especially if you go there on a “tour” in Turkey, at the drugstore or in a supermarket. Or you can assemble it yourself by buying everything separately. Just know that in the city apartment set for the hammam is absolutely useless – you need a sauna for it! But handmade soap from Turkey will come in handy in the bath. Most often it is made on the basis of olive oil. The label indicates the percentage of oil: good soap contains at least 80%. It is best to buy Turkish soap in pharmacies, perfume shops or in aktari, choosing products from trusted manufacturers. One of these companies is Dalan. But in the souvenir shops there is a high probability to buy a soap substitute, where is added a cheaper palm or coconut oil (it usually also contains various fragrances and dyes).
Pumpkin souvenirs are very reminiscent of our matryoshka dolls.
Turkish Limon Cologne and rose water
This perfume is not used to disinfect hands and extend hospitality. It is wiped on hands and spritzed on palms, during meals, in buses and toilets, and offered to guests when they cross the threshold of the house. Kolonyası is not only found in Turkey with a lemon scent, it can smell of orange, lavender, walnut and even tobacco. This cologne is sold in stores, markets and pharmacies. Girls also recommend to pay attention to the Turkish rose water. This natural cosmetic replaces lotions and tonics for the face and will be a wonderful souvenir from Turkey. Rose water moisturizes the skin, making it supple, eliminates dark circles under the eyes, soothes and refreshes. It is better to buy it in pharmacies or cosmetic stores. The most famous Turkish brands are Rosense, Şelale, Otaci, Gülşah, Idil, Efe. Purchasing rose water, pay attention that on a package it is written 100 % doğal gül suyu (100 % natural rose water).
Pillow with woolen blanket
Other Turkish Souvenirs: What to Bring Home
When choosing a rug, look at the back side: perfectly straight knots prove that the rug is not woven by hand, but by machine. Also pay attention to the number of knots: the more of them per square centimeter, the higher the quality of the rug. If you buy a rug, find out if it has a little lead seal – it means that the item can be taken out of the country. Also, of course, take the seller’s receipt of payment to get a VAT refund when you leave the country.
Turkish textiles and leather goods
Textiles – do not look for quality textiles at a reasonable price neither at the spontaneous markets (there are only cheap consumer goods), nor in those stores, where you will be taken on a tour from the hotels. Good towels, linens, tablecloths, scarves and bright scarves are better to choose in large shopping centers (such as M5 Migros, Deepo and TerraCity in Antalya). Pay attention to Turkish textile brands such as Taç, LC Waikiki and Ozdilek. Their goods are of high quality and affordable prices. And the popular T-shirts with the Turkish flag or the inscription “I love Kemer!” You can also buy in the bazaar – such souvenirs from Turkey are worn only there or a couple of weeks after returning home. Leather goods in Turkey – belts and wallets, gloves, bags and jackets – are better to look for in the Zeytinburnu area in Istanbul or at Ataturk jaddesi in Antalya.
Turkish gold on the market in Kayseri
“Turkish gold and not only
Turkish jewelers are world-famous for their craftsmanship, so if you find a “gold” jewelry you like in Turkey, buy it as beautiful costume jewelry, without particularly thinking about whether it is real gold (and if you are sure that you are not allergic to various alloys). There is no quality cheap gold in Turkey! In general, the purchase of “Turkish” gold is a great lottery: you may be lucky in a small shop on the corner, or may not be lucky even with a proven kind of jewelry brands (Altinbaş, Jival, Favori, Koçak Gold, Minyon, etc.). But despite this, gold souvenirs from Turkey are very popular among Russian tourists. And also note the designer Turkish silver!
Amulet “Eye of Fatima” or “Nazar Boncuk”.
Turkish amulet is made of blown glass. To protect against spoilage and negativity (if you believe in it), it must be in view, so the Nazar is pinned to clothing (it is also a stylish piece of jewelry), hung in cars and over the door to the house. Many believe that the “blue eye” – an attribute of Islam, but it is not quite true: the amulet is very popular in Russia, and you can even find nazar with the image of Christian saints.
Charm with amulet “Nazar bonjuk
The fez is the national Turkish men’s headdress. However, nowadays no one wears it in Turkey, except for tourists: the fez was banned in the country in the 20s of last century, when Ataturk was introducing the fashion for European clothes. There was even a fine for wearing it, and this law is still in force. So the fez is now a souvenir! From Turkey they are often taken as a gift.
Ceramics can be quality and souvenir. The first will last a long time, and the paint will not come off over time. The second, like a beautiful picture, will decorate the interior, but is not very practical in everyday life. To distinguish the first from the second, knock on a plate or a mug, for example, pencil. The sound will be ringing, like porcelain. The drawing should be with clear lines, with no undertones. Also, real Turkish ceramics, unlike souvenir ones, are heavy because they have a higher quartz content.
Turkish chess and backgammon in a souvenir shop in Antalya
Backgammon and chess
Hand carved chess pieces and backgammon boards with bright patterns are exclusive souvenirs from Turkey. Everyone loves to play here and at any time. You can see it yourself walking along the streets of the city.
Kits for painting in the ebru technique
The art of drawing with paints on water came to Europe from Istanbul. Here in Turkey you can buy high-quality watercolor kits in specialized stores. Most of them are located in Istanbul: Ayan Ebru (address: Kadırga Liman Cadet, 153, Kumkapı), Hakikat (address: Ankara Caddesi, Cağaoğlu Yokuşu Saadet Han 42/1, Cağaloğlu) and Karin Sanat Malzemeleri (address: Fevzipaşa bulvarı, Sofular MH. Kızanlık caddesi, 6 B Kıztaşı, Fatih).
How do I book hotels during the sanctions?
Now the Russian equivalent of Booking is the hotel search engine Ostrovok. On this site you can pay with Russian bank cards.