Brimming with culture, Istanbul is without a doubt a hotspot for shopping. From alluring fashion items to delectable sweets and spices, you can find the most unique and attractive souvenirs in Istanbul. So if you’re planning to travel to Turkey, make sure to go shopping in Istanbul!
Without further ado, here are the best and must-visit shopping centers in Istanbul.
Historical bazaars in Istanbul
Shopping in Istanbul won’t be complete without a trip to world-renowned markets. Home to the oldest and largest markets in the world, Istanbul is best known for its historical bazaars. The Turkish city sprawls with bazaars that not only offer astounding products, but also sneak a peek of fascinating heritage.
1. Grand Bazaar
If there was just one bazaar in Istanbul that you had to visit, it would have to be the Grand Bazaar (Kapali Carsi). Being the oldest and largest bazaar in the world, the Grand Bazaar has thousands of stores you can check out. It offers a wide variety of products, including ceramics, fashion items, Hamam essentials, and must-buy trinkets.
2. Spice Bazaar
Right beside the Grand Bazaar is another top bazaar in Istanbul. Where the Grand Bazaar features the best quintessential Turkish souvenirs, the Spice Bazaar offers must-try Turkish sweets and spices.
3. Arasta Bazaar
Sitting behind the Blue Mosque, Arasta Bazaar is a great stop for when you’re touring the Sultanahmet. It houses products that highlight Turkish patterns and designs. If you’re looking for rugs and textiles, ceramics, carpets, or jewelry, the Arasta Bazaar is a good spot to visit.
4. Copper-smiths Market
As its name implies, the Copper-smiths market sells the best copper products in town. Merchants sell products that are manually made; it’s safe to say, the items here are high-quality and made with a certain Turkish touch. Sitting in Beyazit, the Copper-smiths market also draws in tourists for its historical look.
5. Old Books Market
Another historical bazaar in Istanbul, the Antique Books Market has stood in Beyazit since the 15th century. The quaint market specialises in secondhand books, antique collections, and diverse prints.
Street markets in Istanbul
If you’re watching your budget, I suggest that you invest in just a few classic Turkish souvenirs. As for the rest of your buys, head to Istanbul street markets. Various markets pop out in different areas of Istanbul, depending on the day. So keep in mind these best street markets in Istanbul — you won’t be disappointed.
6. Kadikoy Market
Every Tuesday and Friday, the Kadikoy district holds a farmers market where merchants sell fruits, vegetables, and other food items. Market goers can also score cheap flea finds in this humble trading hub in the Asian side of Istanbul.
7. Fatih Çarsamba Market
A local secret, Fatih holds a jampacked street market every Wednesday. In the Fatih Çarsamba Market, you’ll find all sorts of things — from fresh produce to affordable branded clothing. Do take note that Fatih is a conservative area, so it’s best to dress accordingly.
8. Ortaköy Market
If you fancy high-end brands, check out the Ortaköy Market every Thursday. This society market sells diverse fashion items, including Louis Vuitton bags, Burberry coats, and classy make-up products.
9. Besiktas Market
The Besiktas district holds a street market every Saturday. As it’s a popular street market with around 400 stalls, expect more crowded stalls selling dry goods, including home textiles and clothing, at budget-friendly prices.
10. Inebolu Village Market
Locals flock towards the Kasimpasa neighborhood every Sunday to score fresh goods at the Inebolu Village Market. This open-air food market is a great spot for foodies who want to experience the best of Turkish cuisine.
Shopping malls in Istanbul
While not as historic as the bazaars, some malls in Istanbul are still must-visits if you want to go shopping. Here are some notable shopping malls in Istanbul.
Towering in Etiler, Akmerkez stands four-stories tall. It’s considered the best shopping center in Istanbul. In fact, back in the days, the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) even hailed it the best shopping center in Europe (1995), before naming it the best shopping center in the world (1996).
12. Istinye Park
Istinye Park is not your regular shopping mall. This astounding shopping center in Istanbul spreads over 242,000 sqm of glass and greens, allowing an eco-friendly and inviting shopping experience for each guest.
Located near Taksim, City’s might be one of the first shopping centers in Istanbul that you’ll see once landing in Turkey. It’s a great place for clothes shopping in Istanbul, as it houses the most stylish stores — even cafés!
Shopping streets in Istanbul
There are several shopping streets in Istanbul. Each one impresses with a specialty, and you’ll definitely find something — whatever your taste is.
14. Serdar-ı Ekrem Caddesi
Lined with eccentric shops and designer stalls, Serdar-ı Ekrem is a shopping street you can’t miss! It’s trendy and quirky, and has some of the most eye-catching stalls in Istanbul.
15. İstiklal Caddesi
Bustling with shoppers, İstiklal Caddesi is one of the most famous shopping streets in Istanbul. It houses numerous Turkish brands, which makes it the shopping street if you’re looking for mementos or souvenirs.
16. Nuruosmaniye Caddesi
One does not leave Turkey without scavenging for a good Turkish carpet. Head to Nuruosmaniye Caddesi and you might find the perfect one for you. Aside from carpet shops, Nuruosmaniye Caddesi also houses stores that sell traditional crafts, local art, and jewelry.
17. Nispetiye Caddesi
The neighborhood of the world renowned Akmerkez, Nispetiye Caddesi sprawls with more local brands tourists can particularly enjoy.
18. Bağdat Caddesi
Bağdat Caddesi caters to the high society. Most of its stalls sell luxury items and global brands; so if you want to score branded items, this is the shopping street for you.
Outlet shopping in Istanbul
Planning to go on a budget clothes shopping in Istanbul? Don’t miss out on the outlet malls around the city.
19. Zorlu Center Mall
Zorlu Center Mall, an upscale complex, houses over 200 shops — most of which are mostly luxury brands like Burberry, Michael Kors, Louis Vuitton, Bulgari, Fendi, Dior, and Valentino. It also boasts of having the first ever Apple Store in Turkey.
20. Mall of Istanbul
If you’re traveling with kids or adventure junkies, you might want to drop by the Mall of Istanbul. This outlet mall has exciting attractions of all kinds — from the largest cinema complex in Turkey, to the largest indoor amusement park.
21. Viaport Outlet Shopping
Priding itself in being one of the most visited shopping centers in Istanbul, Viaport houses about 250 stores and welcomes hundreds of visitors daily. Having an open-air layout, the outlet mall sits beside a lake and receives natural life endlessly. Viaport is a great spot for recreation, as it has amusement centers for all ages.
22. Venezia Mega Outlet
Inspired by the city of Venice, the Venezia Mega Outlet boasts of picturesque canals and iconic Venecian attractions throughout the area. Guests can even ride a gondola and tour around the outlet store. More than its aesthetics, the Venezia Mega Outlet is also known for housing both local and international fashion brands.
Here are a few notable shopping centers and shops in Istanbul that you can visit.
- Zorlu Center houses international fashion brands, most of which are high-end.
- Atelier 55 boasts of beautiful local artisan clothes, artwork, and decor.
- Punto Carpets sells must-have high-quality yet economical Turkish rugs.
- Dervis (Grand Bazaar) is best known for their Turkish towels.
- Paşabahçe houses intricate glassware.
- Airfoglu (Spice Bazaar) sells the most affordable authentic perfume and fragrances.
- Bornn has made a global name for its world-class ceramic products.
- Mahmutpas street, which sits in between the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Market, has very affordable souvenirs.
What to buy in Istanbul
You should definitely keep your eyes out for iconic Turkish souvenirs when you go shopping in Istanbul. Here are some of the best things to buy when in the city.
- Traditional Turkish carpets are probably the best thing to buy in Turkey. They come in different sizes, colors, patterns, and prices.
- Turkish lanterns will light up your home with vibrant colors. They’re also sturdy to pack.
- Evil eye trinkets are believed to keep evil spirits away.
- Hammam Turkish towels are unbelievably soft and light, yet absorbent and high-quality.
- Pure olive oil soap is the Turkish secret to maintaining soft and supple skin. Since olive is abundant in Turkey, you can score olive oil soap at unbelievably affordable prices.
- Turkish coffee and tea and matching coffee and tea sets will allow you to bring the Turkish experience home.
- Spices are an obvious thing to buy from the Spice Bazaar, so load up on sumac, cinnamon, and paprika.
- Turkish ceramics sport eye-catching details and are made to last for years.
- Jewelry in Istanbul is very accessible. You can choose to buy affordable pairs of earrings or high-end jewelry made of expensive gems.
- Baklava is a Turkish dessert staple.
- Turkish delight can be bought in bulk from the Spice Bazaar.
Happy shopping in Istanbul!