İstanbul is the New Cool: Shopping at Its Best
With historical bazaars, world class designer boutiques and modern upmarket malls, every year İstanbul attracts millions of shoppers. Amazing colours, divine scents, stunning designs and impressive curiosities await you in one of the most beautiful cities of the world.
İstanbul is filled with an allure that has inspired for centuries. From traditional treasure hunters to fashionistas, the city is a paradise for every shopper. İstanbul offers a wide variety of shopping opportunities to the travellers –covered bazaars, beautiful markets, workshops that continue ancient craft traditions, shopping malls with all major local and international brands, departmental stores, and much more. Here, you can find something for every taste and budget. Let’s plunge in and get started!
First Things First: Grand Bazaar and Egyptian Bazaar
Often considered as one of the world’s biggest tourist attractions, the graceful Grand Bazaar offers a unique shopping experience. Founded in 15th century, the world’s largest and oldest covered market, expands over a total area of 30.700 m2. With 55 streets, 20 entrances and more than 4000 shops, the bazaar offers almost limitless choices for every budget from souvenirs to hand crafted jewellery. The shops in the bazaar present a collection of different tastes, smells, voices and textures –hammam supplies, ceramics and glassware, carpets and rugs, lamps and lights, copper work, leather goods and silk garments and all kinds of wearables. Stop by one of the traditional coffee shops to have a cup of Turkish coffee or tea to feel the dynamism and admire the daily rush of the bazaar.
The vibrant and colourful and Egyptian Bazaar is the perfect address for those who want to spoil themselves with a pleasure break. Follow the smell of the freshly ground coffee in the streets to find the entrance. Shop stalls are full of traditional indulgences such as Turkish delights and confectioneries for the sweet tooth, and a huge selection of multicoloured herb and fruit teas and infusions… Don’t forget to try out some of the dried figs, apricots and raisins –Türkiye is the largest producer of dried fruits in the world.
Fashionable Shopping Malls
Other than historical and street markets, İstanbul is also home to numerous modern shopping malls, regularly visited by locals. With around 120 shopping malls around the city, İstanbul has more shopping malls than many European countries does in total. All equipped with air conditioning, parking spaces and disabled facilities, these shopping malls offer countless products including luxury brands in many sectors varying from clothing to jewellery, entertainment and electronics, and besides being a place to shop, these centres are also considered recreational areas.
From world known fast-food chains to artisanal restaurants, the food courts within the malls have a wide range of choices and alternatives, whilst the cafés, often with outdoor terraces are just perfect for quick break of refreshment.
It is possible to find an answer to every need here, since malls also have concierge service, pharmacies, exchange offices and even locksmiths. Some malls offer various entertainment options such as aquariums, theme parks, kid’s attractions and movie theatres.
Located in various areas of the city, all of these malls are easily reached by public transport.
At the Very Heart of the City: Shopping Avenues
Some streets in the city centre are particularly renowned for the large concentration of shops. Taksim is the most cosmopolitan part of the city and hosts a wide range of shopping address with numerous big brands concentrated on and around the famous, 2-kilometre-long İstiklal Street. There are many famous neoclassical arcades having a variety of fantastic shops ranging from vintage clothing to handmade ceramics. The vibrant street offers also numerous restaurants, confectioneries, pastry shops and pubs.
As one of the most stylish areas of the city, Nişantaşı district combines luxury and authenticity. The neighbourhood is considered local designers’ headquarters and has numerous fashion houses. In addition to that, the best art galleries of the city are also based in this quarter. As the coolest shopping avenue of the city, Abdi İpekçi Street is lined with international luxury brands.
Another shopping address is Bağdat Avenue, the 14-kilometre-long outdoor shopping paradise situated on the Asian side of the city. The avenue offers a calmer yet enjoyable shopping experience in weekdays, and showcases a superb selection of national and international fashion brands. Bağdat Avenue is also home to a variety of outstanding restaurants and new generation cafés for a pleasurable lunch break. Numerous bars and pubs in the neighbourhood also offer great night out activities to enjoy a lively night in İstanbul.
Treasure Hunting at Çukurcuma
Not far from İstiklal Street, sandwiched between Galatasaray and Cihangir neighbourhoods, the small yet one of kind quarter of Çukurcuma hosts around 150 antique shops and offers a unique experience for treasure hunters.
You can have a chat with friendly and knowledgeable shop owners in the most sophisticated antique stores of the city. Actually a well-known centre by antique devotees, the neighbourhood is a gem especially if you are into vintage toys, Ottoman-style jewellery and accessories. You may end up finding that vase you've been dreaming of or adding another piece to your doll collection.
The Taste of the City: Kadıköy Historical Market
At the historical market of Kadıköy, you can discover the delicacies of the city. Combining colours and smells, the market is a real paradise for foodies. Locals frequent this colourful open-air market to get fresh fruits and vegetables as well as the freshest fish. Indeed, here fish is a big deal... You can have a look on the daily catch to choose the fish you would like to have for dinner in the restaurant next door, and they will cook it for you!
The market is also famous for its confectioneries and pastry shops that keep good company with numerous spice shops, old bookstores and linen drapers. Shops here offer a limited yet worthy collection of souvenirs, hammam items and ceramics.
If it’s coffee time, take a break at one of the traditional coffee shops. If you feel like grabbing a bite, try out delicious street specialties such as fried mussels with garlic sauce, stuffed mussels, rice with chicken or simit, Turkish sesame bread. If you are hungrier, head to the local restaurants that serve perfect examples of regional Turkish cuisine. And eat well to restart shopping tomorrow. Get ready for a shopping extravaganza in İstanbul!