No doubt you’ll be rather taken by many of the things you see and experience in Turkey and want to bring home some reminders. Here’s a list of the best gifts from Turkey that you can bring back either for yourself or as gifts for others.
At the end of the post, I’ve listed some of the best places to do your souvenir shopping too.
Popular Turkish Souvenirs
You’ll find lots of these items around Istanbul and the rest of Turkey since they’re favourite gifts to bring back from a visit to the country.
Turkish Blue Evil Eye Amulet
The Nazar Boncuk is potentially the most popular souvenir from Turkey, you’ll see this evil eye on everything. Said to bring good luck and ward off evil and bad luck, it’s printed on bags, t-shirts, scarves and more.
You can buy the ornaments to hang in your home and it’s really common to see evil eye bracelets and necklaces too. Since they’re cheap and easy to transport, the bracelets and small hanging ornaments are some of the best things to transport easily.
Evil eyes make some of the best Turkish souvenirs
One of the most traditional souvenirs you can bring back from the Middle East is a carpet/rug. For high quality Turkish carpets, you might need a guide to help you navigate what’s on offer.
Traditional Turkish Carpet Shop
Turkish Smoking Pipe
Also known as Nargile Pipes these are engrained in Turkish culture. Social gatherings often centre around these water pipes since they’re a fun alternative to drinking culture.
You’ll see gift shops set up solely to sell backgammon sets or chess sets. The variety of materials used is quite interesting and you’ll have a lot to choose from.
I’m not convinced pashminas are specifically made in Turkey, but you’ll see them all over the place. I got a bright salmon-coloured one on a day trip from Rhodes about 10 years ago and it’s been my most used accessory ever.
I always get compliments whenever I wear it and it’s super practical. So pick one up and it’ll give you good mileage.
Simple and straightforward these are easy gifts to bring home from Turkey. If you’re someone who picks up a new fridge magnet from every country you visit you’ll definitely want to get one here.
Hot Air Balloon Merchandise
If you’re in Cappadocia for the hot air balloons you might want to bring back something that depicts your adventure. Around Cappadocia, you’ll find hot air balloons on t-shirts, cotton bags, fridge magnets and ceramics.
Turkish Cuisine Gifts
Some of the best Turkish delight comes from Hafız Mustafa 1864. What makes these Turkish sweets such good quality are the natural ingredients they use. Instead of artificial colours, the brand uses beets to get the colour and flavour.
You can find stores across Istanbul (do a quick search in Google Maps for locations near where you are) including Istiklal Street and Galataport
Get Your Turkish Delights and other goodies from Hafız Mustafa 1864
Haci Bekir shop chain is also a very established brand to buy from. The store has been around since Ottoman times and is now classed as a living museum thanks to being registered as a historic confectionery shop.
Baklava sweets made from layers and layers of flaky filo pastry, laced with honey and nuts are absolutely divine. And they make a very good gift. You’ll find baklava in sealed boxes that you can take back with you on the plane.
I’m not a coffee drinker but I know Turkish coffee is popular for its strength and aroma. Like Greek coffee, it’s made unfiltered in a little pot on the stove (called a cezve).
If you or someone you know is a coffee aficionado this is an easy-to-carry gift to buy in Turkey. Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi was the first brand to sell coffee to the public in Turkey and I understand it’s still the most popular brand today.
Everywhere you go you’ll be offered tea as a sign of hospitality, it’s ingrained in Turkish culture. Normally it’s black tea (Çay) served in little Turkish tea glasses. (The tea is strong so it’s served sweet, in small doses.)
Apple tea is one of the famous things to buy in Turkey when visiting. But it was created for tourists so although it’s a popular choice of Turkish souvenir, it’s not really that authentic. I’m not even 100% sure that there’s even any actual apple in it (flavouring only!).
You’ll find mounds of other herbal teas on sale in the markets too, so you can take your pick from lots of varieties.
It was only when I was walking in Andros that I discovered saffron comes from the crocus flower. I saw crocuses while hiking on the island and wondered why they looked a bit more colourful than usual. It suddenly dawned on me what the red stems were.
Anyway, the types of crocus that saffron comes from are abundant in the Black Sea town of Safranbolu. And it’s where most Turkish Saffron comes from.
You can pick up some of these special Turkish spices for an affordable price, much less than you’d pay in the USA or UK. And it’s a real treat to be able to use in your cooking.
Turkish Dried Fruits
Along with spices, you’ll see piles of dried fruit in the markets too. Maybe a healthier alternative to all the scrummy sweets if you’re buying for someone who’d be concerned about that!
Staying on the sweet foods Turkey has a thriving chocolate industry. I always find it exciting to see chocolate in square packaging, reminds me of going to France.
Anyway, that’s a fun little thing to bring back. You can get it in several flavours nuts and mint and high coca varieties too.
Turkish people love their Raki and like Greek Ouzo, it’s sipped with meals, even when it comes in shot glasses. (So not knocking it back in one go!) If you like the aniseed flavour then pick up a bottle or two while you’re away.
When I was in Cappadocia I ate at Pumpkin Restaurant. They served me an amazing local white wine which I immediately bought a bottle of to take home.
Wine’s actually quite easy to transport. You can buy specific cases/bags for it on Amazon. But I’ve always found it does quite well in the middle of my suitcase wrapped in jumpers. (Just make sure it goes in a checked bag.)
Perhaps not as renowned worldwide for its olive oil as Greece, Turkey’s oil can still be a good buy. Look for ones with labels showing awards they’ve won like some of the bottles here on the second shelf.
One of my favourite type of gifts is to get something practical that I can use throughout the year. I think buying things from other countries that you use in your daily life builds an interesting home.
Turkish Coffee Sets
If you’re taking back some Turkish coffee you might want to get a coffee set to accompany it. You’ll be able to make it in a cezve, the Turkish coffee pot. Just make sure the pot you get works on whatever you’re going to make it on.
Living in Greece I discovered most people make their coffee on little gas camping stoves. I tried to boil some water in the coffee pot I bought (I wanted one instead of getting a kettle) and it didn’t work on my induction hob.
Lots of others I’ve used in various Airbnbs have worked though. So perhaps double-check if you’re buying one in Turkey.
Turkish Tea Set
If like me you’re a tea drinker instead then you could take home one of the Turkish tea sets instead. They come with the traditional double teapots and little glasses. You can find them in other materials too.
You can also get sets with the antique-style pot which can be used to serve either tea or coffee. These ones are just for decoration to present the drinks nicely, you can’t use them on the stove.
I picked up a couple of drinks coasters at the airport on the way back from Istanbul the last time I was there. I’d been keeping my eyes open for some I liked since I needed some anyway. Just before I left I found some lovely ones with a Galata Tower watercolour and I’ve used them all the time since I got them.
Turkish Bath Towels
Turkish bath towels are actually really useful to have since they dry so quickly. The hammam towels are lightweight so good to travel with. And they’re easy to keep in your bag for beach days.
Turkish mosaic lamps are so pretty and another very functional item to use at home. You can get them in all different sizes and different pricepoints. I’ve even seen workshops on Airbnb where you can make your own to take home.
Turkish Lamps on Display at a Shop in the Grand Bazaar
I never know whether it’s a good idea or not to put leather products on these types of lists. I know there are vegan options on the market these days. But a lot of them seem to end up harming more animals in the long run than leather does. So make up your mind for yourself.
What I’ll say is that Turkey is known for its leather products. So if you’re after a long-wearing jacket or bag it could be the place to pick one up.
If you’re in Istanbul there’s a whole section of shops with leather goods. Otherwise, you’ll find leather shops across the country. And some guided day tours will include a stop at some kind of leather factory shop too.
If you have a soccer/football fanatic in the family then maybe they’d like to receive one of the Turkish kits. On my first visit to Istanbul, the Nike Shop on Istiklal Street was packed out with fans getting shirts for a match that day.
Artistic Souvenirs from Turkey
You’ll find all sorts of crafts to buy as souvenirs from Turkey. Literally everything from embroidered items to paintings.
You’ll see colourful plates and bowls everywhere. In specific regions like Cappadocia, you’ll also see ornamental ceramics of things like the fairy chimneys in the area.
Not the lightest thing to cart back in your suitcase, Turkish ceramic tiles are nonetheless a vibrant addition to have in your home. Unless you’re just buying one or two you might want to look into options for getting tiles shipped to you.
There’s a huge variety of jewellery available in Turkey that you might like to bring back as gifts or souvenirs. Traditional jewellers sell beautiful pieces in silver and gold.
Modern designers also have boutique showrooms for something really unique.
And semi-precious gems are also popular. In Cappadocia, I visited an Onyx showroom which is a popular stopping point on some of the day tours.
There’s also Zultanite, the colour-changing stone which is found exclusively in the Anatolian Mountains.
Again, there’s a lot of shared history between Greece and Turkey and worry beads are something I’ve seen in both cultures. Worry beads/prayer beads are massively popular with men in Turkey and Greece. They’re used to pass the time, not generally as a religious thing these days.
The beads are made of all sorts of materials from cheap to semi-precious stones. You can pick up cheap ones all over the place and there are dedicated stores with more specialist, good-quality beads.
Not necessarily the easiest or cheapest things to bring back, musical instruments can be a special gift from Turkey for some talented person. Flutes, fiddles and lute derivatives are things to look at.
New Year Decoration
If you happen to be in the country around Christmas and New Year you could pick up a decoration to take back. Some are good luck talismans for the coming year. Others are made for the Turkish New Year Trees so they work with Christmas trees too.
Beauty Gifts from Turkey
Like other European countries, Turkey uses natural ingredients in many of its skincare products. Commonly you’ll see the ones below and they make great gifts.
You’ll smell lemon cologne all over Greece. From people using it as hand sanitisers to barbers spraying it on their clients.
Turkish cologne isn’t like eau de cologne, it’s more or less made with just alcohol and natural fragrance. You can get these colognes in all sorts of floral and fruity scents now, but lemon’s the original.
You can buy rose water made solely from natural products and it’s great for all sorts of skin issues. It’s lovely to use a hydrating toner.
Rose water is also added to loads of products. If you’re specifically after natural items just check the ingredients on the packet. Many of the other skin products are normal chemical-based ones, just with the addition of the natural rose water.
Olive Oil Soap
If you want some gifts to just have tucked away in a drawer to pull out when you unexpectedly need something, olive oil soaps are a great idea. Again look for something natural ideally, as there’s a wide variety of products around.
Best Places to Find Your Gifts / Turkey Souvenirs
Honestly, some of the best souvenirs I got from Turkey are from the airport. There’s a great shop there with a really good range of products. So while it can be a good spot to pick up anything you’ve forgotten or anyone you’ve missed, it might not be ideal to leave your shopping until the last minute!
Plus it’s nice to contribute to the local economy via family-owned businesses locally.
While you’re out and about you’ll see gifts in the touristy areas you visit. If you see something ideal that you really love, I’d go ahead and get it. Lots of Turkish souvenirs are similar. But if you find any unique items you particularly like I wouldn’t bank on finding them again so buy them when you see them.
There are endless local shops stacked with products tourists like to bring home. Any popular tourist destination will have shops and stalls selling the types of items listed above.
Turkish souvenirs on display in a shop near Galata Tower in Istanbul
Most places you’re likely to visit will have local markets nearby. If you’re around on the days they run you’ll have no trouble finding things to pick up.
The old town part of locations you’ll visit as tourists will have authentic items that you might want to bring back as gifts. For example, in Fethiye’s old souk you’ll find plenty of places to buy spices, ceramics and practical items like tea and coffee sets.
Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar
This is one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions and a great place to pick up Turkish gifts. Generally things are a reasonable price although some can be a bit higher than you might find elsewhere.
Spice Bazaar in Istanbul
Another of the big covered markets is the Spice Market. In Turkish, it’s called Mısır Çarşısı which means Egyptian Bazaar. Anyway, the place is a riot of different colors and smells coming at you as soon as you enter. I love it!
These days the stalls are very much geared towards tourists although you can still find some more authentic ones like Malatya Pazari Palanci.
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