What to bring from Turkey?
Returning from a vacation, you want to take a piece of the country as a keepsake and bring something as a gift to your loved ones. What to bring from Turkey as a necessary and interesting souvenirs? Here are some ideas for useful gifts to remember yourself and your loved ones.
Turkey is a country that knows everything about trade. Huge bazaars, markets the size of blocks and souvenir shops are everywhere – from beach resorts to the centers of large cities. There are no problems with the choice and search for goods. The main thing to remember not to buy everything, because many of the souvenirs with no trinkets will just collect dust on the shelves in the future.
What to bring from Turkey out of the food
Probably no one who would not have heard of Turkish sweets. Very popular souvenir, which, moreover, is easy to bring from Turkey, because sweets can be packed in compact boxes. Rakhat Lukum, baklava, halva, sherbet and kozinaki – whatever you like.
The main thing is that the sweets should be fresh, so do not buy pre-packaged food. It is better to go to the market or a specialty store and choose on weight what you like. So, you can taste and be sure that the product is fresh.
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In Turkey there is a very tasty cheese at a nice price. As a souvenir you can bring goat cheese, sheep cheese, smoked cheese, braided “pigtail” – in general, whatever you like. Buying cheese is on the market, where you must be given to try it.
But buying cheeses in the so-called brine as a gift is not worth it, after all in the suitcase it all can spill and spoil things.
Coffee is a great souvenir and a gift that will remind by its aroma of the country, where they love and appreciate it so much. In Turkey, most often they drink black, strong and sweet coffee. For true connoisseurs of this drink is a great gift of coffee, prepared by special grinding technique Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi in the famous factory Mehmet Efendi.
Spices are a great souvenir to bring from Turkey for every home. The spices can be bought in the markets by weight as well as in supermarkets already packed. In Turkey the selection of spices is huge, everyone will find something to their liking. In Turkey people bring black and sweet ground pepper, hot pepper, cumin (Zira), thyme, cloves, sesame, nutmeg, cinnamon (ground or sticks), saffron and much more.
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5. Dried fruits and nuts
You will find a large number of dried fruits in local markets, and their taste is really different from what you can buy in Russian supermarkets. From Turkey you can bring as a gift or yourself dried apricots, figs, raisins, hazelnuts, almonds, dates or a package of mixture, which will be all at once a little bit.
6. Turkish tea
Tea in Turkey is not just a drink, it is a part of the culture of this country. Having been in Turkey, you will get used to the fact that you will be offered tea literally everywhere. Given that in Russia we also drink tea quite a lot and often, it will be a great souvenir to bring. In Turkey you can buy as a classic black tea with bergamot, and various herbal teas. Only do not buy powdered instant teas – it is a complete lie, and there is nothing else in them except chemicals and dyes!
7. Olives and Olive Oil
Turkey is one of the large and important producers of olives and olive oil. Olives can be tasted and bought at the market by weight, and the oil is easier to buy in the supermarket. The main thing is to choose Extra Virgin – the highest quality, such oil is perfect for dressing salads and will please your family. It is also a fairly versatile souvenir that will suit the taste of every family.
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8. Pomegranate sauce
An original souvenir to bring from Turkey to the table. Pomegranate sauce has a sour-sweet taste and pairs interestingly with meat. And some use it in salads – in general, to taste and color. In any case, such a gift will be useful for any home .
9. Turkish fruit wine
Despite the fact that Turkey is a Muslim country, it has vineyards and produces wine. Among the unusual drinks you can bring as a souvenir from Turkey fruit wines: cherry, strawberry, pomegranate and many others.
By the way, some souvenirs you can buy even if you just have a long layover in Istanbul and want to take something to remember about Turkey.
What cosmetics to bring from Turkey
10. Argan oil, soaps and cosmetics containing rose
Turkey is not the country where people go for cosmetics, but you can find some useful souvenirs in pharmacies and specialized stores. For example, cosmetics containing rose – facial tonics, serums or rose water would be a good gift.
You can also buy handmade olive soap, coconut oil and argan oil – just do not buy it by hand, there are also many fakes!
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Turkish textiles and leather products.
11. Jackets, Belts and Bags
A leather jacket or a good bag is an expensive gift that can be brought from Turkey, but something really good you have to look for. In bazaars and markets in tourist spots can easily buy a low-quality goods, and even at exorbitant prices. However, Turkey is famous for leather goods, and many are really worth looking at.
In specialized stores you can sew a custom leather jacket or buy a good souvenir bag or belt. Choose carefully and look at other people’s opinions before you spend any money.
12. Home Textiles
Turkey is one of the largest producers of cotton, so there is a wide range of home textiles that you can bring as a gift or buy yourself. Bedding, bathrobes, towels and more. So as not to overpay, buy in shopping malls and stores where Turks buy themselves, not at tourist markets.
Souvenirs from Turkey for your home
13. Turkish Ceramics
In any bazaar or market you will find a huge amount of beautiful dishes – plates, cups, salad bowls, and more. The amount of pottery literally catches your eye! You must give credit to the local sellers who know how to pack your souvenirs so that they will reliably get you home.
14. Copper dzhezve (turkey)
Another interesting and useful souvenir you can take back from Turkey is a coffee brewing censer. They come in copper and aluminum. Size does not matter, the bigger the jug, the more coffee you can make at once. But the material makes the difference – copper brewers are much more expensive. Be careful at the markets, because often unscrupulous sellers try to pass off the aluminum distillers as copper ones. The product is worth smelling: copper has a peculiar smell, which is difficult to confuse with other metal.
15. Lamps and lamps made of glass and beads
In almost any bazaar, amazing Turkish lamps made of colored glass and beads attract attention. Such a gift can be a great souvenir from Turkey and complement the interior. Just think in advance whether this element of the oriental fairy tale will fit in your apartment or house, so as not to bring from far away not the most compact thing for nothing.
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What not to bring from Turkey
Each tourist at least once in your life was struck by “uncontrolled shopping”, when you start buying all sorts of things as a souvenir, not even thinking whether you need it. In Turkey there is a good chance that this will happen, because the local markets and bazaars are really eye-catching. We have made a list of souvenirs from Turkey that travelers brought and never used or were disappointed with the quality.
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So, the useless things that you should not bring from Turkey :
- Jewelry – a very high risk of counterfeiting Turkish “gold and silver”. You should buy only at well-known jewelry stores.
- Amulet against the evil eye – many years ago, when Russian tourists began to go to Turkey, such a blue eye was in every home – someone brought for themselves, and someone gave them as a souvenir of friends and relatives. In practice, few people believe in them and use them
- hookahs and tobacco – most hookah connoisseurs say that the quality in Turkish markets is many times inferior to good hookahs you can buy in Russia. The same goes for tobacco, so again, if you buy – only in a specialized store and very good quality (then is it worth it to take it so far?)
- cheap clothing – in Turkey at markets sells a huge number of cheap t-shirts, jeans and all sorts of clothing. The only problem is that after 1-2 washings they fade and absolutely lose their shape.
- Low-quality fakes – the very first time we came to Turkey many years ago we were amazed at the number of fakes of anything! Turks are real masters in this business, and not always fakes mean bad quality. But still, there is a huge range of counterfeit brands of clothes, jewelry, handbags, shoes and appliances sold in the markets – be careful and do not overpay for absolute garbage that will break or fall apart after the first use.
Do you have more useful tips and ideas for what to bring from Turkey? Share in the comments!
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
There is a lot of unusual jam in Turkey. Not only from rose petals, but also from walnuts, bergamot, watermelons, eggplant, 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, bees’ 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 ground 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
Sour pomegranate sauce is highly concentrated natural pomegranate juice without preservatives or other additives. The only thing that is added to it 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 buying 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 to buy 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 smoking materials
Hookahs in Turkey come in two varieties: ordinary, which are smoked, and souvenir, which are used as a decoration. In souvenir shops most often sell the latter. 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 very hot, does not burn and perfectly absorbs moisture and resins. Decorated with a carving, 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
The hammam kit usually includes a special towel (peshtemal), a stiff washcloth (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 backside: perfectly straight knots, proof that the carpet is woven on a machine, not by hand. Also take note of 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 small lead seal – it means that the product can be taken out of the country. Also, of course, take the seller’s receipt of payment so you can 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 (hand painted)
There are quality ceramics and souvenir. The first will last a long time, and the paint from it will not come off over time. The second as a beautiful picture, decorate the interior, but 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 painting with paints on water came to Europe from Istanbul. And it is here, in Turkey, in specialized stores for artists you can buy quality materials for ebru. Most of them are located in Istanbul: Ayan Ebru (address: Kadırga Liman Cad., 153, Kumkapı), Hakikat (address: Ankara Caddesi, Cağaoğlu Yokuşu Saadet Han 42/1, Cağaloğlu), 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.