The theft took place as the woman, from Derbyshire, who was on holiday in Stirling with her family, visited several charity shops in the city centre.
Police Scotland put the time of the theft as between 12.20pm and 2.45pm on Saturday.
The victim alerted security staff at the Thistles Shopping Centre after realising the bag was missing.
PC Sandy McIntyre, of the force's Crime Management Unit, said the theft was "very distressing for a lady who had simply come to the area to enjoy a holiday".
He added: "I would ask anyone with any information on this to contact Police Scotland on 101 or, alternatively, Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
"We would ask shoppers to take great care of their belongings. This is not the first time in the Forth Valley area that a woman has had her handbag stolen.
"In Falkirk recently, two women aged 77 and 53 were the victims of similar crimes, having also been shopping in charity shops."