Cheap Supermarkets In Turkey (Tourist/Expat/Nomad Guide)

Turkey is an interesting country where despite persistent inflation, you CAN live cheaply if you know the right places to shop. It’s also true you can get ripped off a bit if you don’t go to the right places, so in this guide, we’re going to provide people new to the country with the best budget/cheap supermarket options in the country. The places where you CAN stock up on daily essentials fairly cheaply when converted to your home currency.

Here’s a summary list:

  1. Şok
  2. A-101
  3. BIM
  4. Carrefour
  5. Migros

The first 3 are your main budget supermarket options, but they’re often smaller branches that might not stock absolutely everything you want. So we’ll cover the Carrefour and Migros chains as well, as they can still be cheap and offer more selection in the bigger stores.

Let’s cover each one in a bit more detail.

Option #1 – Şok

Şok are a super budget option supermarket with branches all over Turkey. They have a distinctive blue, yellow and red branding, and if you’re in any major city in Turkey, you usually won’t have to walk more than a few minutes before finding one.

They’re actually my favorite budget supermarket at the moment in Turkey, as they’re great just for picking up basic everyday shopping essentials you need. Most of their stuff is processed, but prices are very cheap and they’re great if you need to save money.

Here are some typical things stocked at most Şok branches:

  • Processed read meat (sausages, salami etc).
  • Some packaged bread baps/rolls/loaves
  • Toiletries (shaving foam is especially cheap here)
  • Tea bags/coffee
  • Milk
  • Water (1.5l bottles for 3 TL)
  • Nuts, crisps and other snacks
  • Small amount of fresh fruit
  • Some stores have a small amount of chilled fresh mince/chicken for home cooking.
  • Alcohol is NOT sold in Şok stores

Overall, Şok are an excellent option to just find somewhere close by to stock up on most of the basic of what you need for a stay in Turkey. Most of their stuff is processed (not much fresh stuff), but there’s almost always going to be one round the corner no matter where you’re staying in Turkey. I’ve also always found any baskets I get to be cheap when converted to my own currency, so they’re a good budget option.

Option #2 – A-101

Another budget supermarket with lots of branches dotted around is the blue themed A-101 supermarket chain:

These are usually smaller stores, with much of the same daily essentials you can get from Şok, with a few extras as well:

  • Everything you can get from Şok, plus:
  • Pot noodles and add-water noodle packets
  • Rice and pasta
  • A better selection of nuts, crisps and snacks.
  • Canned tuna.
  • Some frozen stuff like pizzas in most branches
  • Ice cream
  • Eggs
  • Fresh and pasteurized (carton) milk
  • Some packaged cakes.
  • Some stores have a small amount of fresh mince/chicken for home cooking.
  • Alcohol is NOT sold in A-101 branches.

Again, any baskets of goods I’ve bought there have always been cheap, and they’re another excellent option just to get your essentials stocked up. As with Şok though, most of their stuff is processed as opposed to fresh, but prices are always cheap.

Option #3 – BIM

Another budget supermarket with distinctive red signage is the BIM chain:

Again, their stores are often cramped and laid out similar to the A-101 branches, and you’ve got much of the same stuff as you have in A-101/Şok.

Here are some standout extra things I’ve noticed:

  • Cheap bottled water (same as Şok – 1.5l bottles for 3 TL)
  • Decent amount of frozen stuff (pizzas, burgers, ice cream).
  • Soft drinks
  • General crisps, biscuits and other snacks.
  • Other daily essentials.
  • Alcohol is NOT sold at BIM branches.

A lot of the BIM stores also have packing shelves away from the counter like Lidl/Aldi, which I like. If you’re buying a lot, you can move your stuff onto these and take your time packing.

Option #4 – Carrefour

Carrefour are one of the larger chains that also have a decent presence in Turkey with mini and larger branches dotted around. They don’t specifically position themselves as a budget chain, but their prices can still be reasonable depending on what you buy.

Here’s what extra you can get from Carrefour stores, above and beyond the essentials you could also get from Şok/A-101/BIM:

  • Most stores have a larger selection of fresh red/white meat (there’s often a butcher’s section at the back).
  • Some stores have some nicely packaged fresh fruit outside (apples/pears) that’s excellent value.
  • Some fresh bread available.
  • Better selection of chocolate and confectionery.
  • Good selection of nuts.
  • Some more household/cleaning essentials stocked.
  • Alcohol IS sold in Carrefour stores.

Carrefour are not as cheap as the top 3 for some products, but they’re an excellent place to go for fresh fruit/meat/veg and also to stock up on alcohol.

Option #5 – Migros (3M)

Migros are another of big supermarket chains, but as a traveler, I’d also class them as budget, because I’ve always been able to get a healthy basket of goods for a good price when converted to my home currency.

They have distinctive orange signage, and you’ll often find them within shopping centers in Turkey. If you really want a supermarket with the most choice of stuff, find a larger Migros store – you’ll usually be able to get what you’re looking for in there.

Here’s some extra things sold in Migros stores:

  • Best and largest selection of fresh red/white meat. Large stores have a massive deli/meat section where you can get burgers/meatballs/mince/chicken – anything you want.
  • Large fresh fish section as well in big stores.
  • Massive bread section as well – fresh and packaged bread rolls/baps/loaves – again, anything you want.
  • Massive fruit and veg stalls – again, anything you want.
  • Large frozen sections as well (chips/fries, burgers, pizzas etc).
  • Baby food
  • Massive selection of soft drinks
  • Best selection of chocolate/nuts/snacks/crisps.
  • Large selection of teas/coffees
  • Household goods also sold – bedding, clothes, cleaning products, basic DIY stuff.
  • Alcohol IS sold in Migros stores.

Large Migros stores are the best place to go if you have a car and really want to do a big shop to stock up on a lot of things all at once, where you don’t have to go shopping again for a while. They’ll have most of what you need.

There are some smaller Migros stores dotted on some high streets, but they’re much more cramped and don’t stock as much. The bigger stores are better – search for shopping centers near you.

Where Can You Buy Alcohol In Turkey?

The sale of alcohol is more restricted in Turkey that some other countries – you can get it, but not so readily and easily as elsewhere. And it’s also not particularly cheap – you can now expect to pay around $2 (35-40 TL) for a 660ml bottle of beer, and around 32-35 TL for a 500ml can (wine is a bit cheaper per unit). You can sometimes find better per unit prices if you buy 4 or 6 packs of  beer, but prices seems to continually creep up for beer in Turkey.

Alcohol is sold at larger supermarket chains like Carrefour and Migros (but not in the real budget stores like Şok/BIM/A-101). And there are also some small off licences dotted around, often with a blue themed signage, but they’re not as commonly found as in other countries.

Where alcohol is sold, there are lots of wines usually available, but beer selection is often more limited to a few brands like Efes, Tuborg and sometimes some western beers like Heineken. Don’t expect as much choice as some other countries.

Also, the sale of alcohol is now banned in Turkey from 10pm until 6am, so there are restrictions, though these don’t apply to bars or clubs.So get your beer or wine in early in the evening if you want some!

Spending Money At Turkish Supermarkets Cheaply (Avoiding Bank Fees)

If you’re a foreigner visiting or staying in Turkey, you don’t want to be using foreign bank cards when shopping there, as you’re likely to get stung with high fees.

If you’re wanting a good option that allows you to spend on card fee-free in Turkey, look into the Wise Borderless Card, which I use whenever I shopping at any of the supermarkets listed above.

It allows you to open up, and spend, Turkish Lira balances for free on your card, as though you had a normal Turkish bank card.

Here’s what the Wise Borderless Card offers:

  • ZERO fee spending (contactless or Chip-n-PIN) on the card in Turkish Lira. Tap and spend as you do in your home country with no fees
  • You can also draw out up to $100 or £/€ 200 equivalent in TL in max 2 free ATM withdrawals per month (as long as you use the right ATMs). So you can have some cash on hand.
  • Can spend money online in Turkey using your TL balance with zero fees.
  • Can open up and spend in other balances as well if you’re traveling around.

See our full guide on using the Wise card to avoid high bank fees in Turkey, including which specific ATMs you can draw money out from for shopping without fees