Located at the crossroads between Europe and Asia, the former capital of great empires such as the Byzantine and the Ottomans, Istanbul is a city with great cultural and historic value. Filled to the brim with architectural and natural beauties, it also offers great places to shop whatever your desires.
1. Forum Istanbul
If you’re looking for a modern option, with 286 brands under one roof, Forum Istanbul, the “biggest mall in the city”, is the place to go. Located in Bayrampaşa, it’s easy to get to on the metro from Atatürk Airport, or using the 32M (Cevatpaşa-Mecidiyeköy), HT5 (Gaziosmanpaşa Devlet Hastanesi-Kocatepe Metro) or HT6 (Cebeci-Kocatepe Metro-İstoç) bus lines. Other notable shopping areas with a large selection of local and international brands alongside restaurants and cafes are Istinye Park, Cevahir and Kanyon shopping centres.
2. The Grand Bazaar
If you’re in the mood for a place with a bit more history behind it, then you should try the Grand Bazaar. With its exotic colours, unique atmosphere and over 4000 shops, the Grand Bazaar, located in the neighborhood of Kapalıçarşı, is the world’s oldest covered bazaar. Its construction dates back to shortly after the conquest of Istanbul in 1453. Visited by over 250,000 people a day, you can find many things for sale such as traditional outfits, hand-woven carpets and rugs, a variety of ornaments and jewellery, and handmade stained glass lamps which make great colourful gifts. The Grand Bazaar is one of the best places in Turkey for a glimpse back into the Ottoman Era.
Open Hours: 08:00 – 19:00
Location: Beyazıt, Kalpakçılar Cd. No:22, 34126 Fatih/İstanbul
Phone Number: (0212) 519 12 48
3. The Spice Bazaar
A popular stop in Eminönü is the Spice Bazaar, with its many fragrant spices, different kinds of Turkish delights, dried herbs, honey, nuts, dried fruits, and even caviar. Built in 1664, it’s referred to as the Egyptian Market (Mısır Çarşısı) by locals as it was built with the revenue from what, at the time, was the Ottoman state of Egypt. On the western side of the market, there are many stalls selling fresh foods from all over Turkey, including a large selection of cheeses. The most famous coffee supplier in İstanbul, “Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi”, established over 100 years ago, is also located in this bazaar. As well as the edibles and spices, items such as jewellery, fabrics, cooking utensils and souvenirs can also be found.
Open Hours: 08:00 – 19:00, Saturdays 08:00 – 19:30, Sundays 09:30 – 19:00
Location: Rüstem Paşa, Erzak Ambarı Sok. No:92, 34116 Fatih/İstanbul
Phone Number: (0212) 513 65 97
If you’re looking for somewhere with a more European feel, Nişantaşı should be one of the first places to visit. Home to many high-end designer stores from Gucci to Armani, Louis Vuitton to Prada or Cartier, Nişantaşı is a great choice for any shopaholic. The avenues and side streets of the district are also popular for their many charming cafes and restaurants.
Location: Teşvikiye Şişli/İstanbul
One of Istanbul’s most memorable sights, the Galata Tower, located in Beyoğlu, offers a spectacular view of Istanbul and its historical peninsula. Its construction dates back to the 6th-century Byzantine era. After taking in the sights at the top of the historical tower, it’s worth a leisurely stroll around the surrounding areas to check out the local designer stores. But it’s not all about the designer stores; you’ll also find eye-catching boutique shops selling colourful clothing and various antiques. And there are plenty of cafes for when you need to wind down and take a break.
These are only a few of the most notable areas that come to mind when considering places to shop in Istanbul. In truth, the huge number and variety of shopping places that Istanbul has to offer mean you are limited only by the amount of time at your disposal.
You can also view our The Best Places to Go Shopping in Istanbul Foursquare List.