Shopping Istanbul : Best Shopping Places in Istanbul
Akmerkez is located in Etiler, a neighborhood of the Beşiktaş district and one of the favorite areas among Istanbul’s elite. In 1996 it was recognized as the best shopping center in the world, moreover it also received the International Design and Development Award. Akmerkez is a unique shopping center,
Istinye Park has brought a new dimension to Istanbul’s shopping concept. Green, eco-friendly, humane and eye for details is how you can best describe Istinye Park. There are three waste collecting centers and a waste oil collector.
Shopping center has 160 stores among which Turkey’s and the world’s most selected brands, gourmet restaurants, cafes, a health and sports club and movie halls.
Kanyon was awarded with the 2006 Cityscape Architectural Review Award in the “Commercial Built” category.
In case you enjoy being in the center of fashion, let alone shopping, you have got to see City’s in Nişantaşı, part of the Şişli district and very close to Taksim. City’s is a shopping center which blends in with the historical texture of the area.
City’s concept is described as a Life Style Center. It sure deserves this stylish title, considering the variety of the stores, cafes, restaurants and the vital 24 hour six-storey parking service it provides to the populous area.
This is not a shopping center, but a district within walking distance of Taksim known for committed shoppers in search of sophistication.
There are very few places where you can see a reflection of Europe. Istanbul is one of them. With its intellectual inhabitants, some historical buildings, and marginal cafes and restaurants, Nisantasi reflects European style very well, either. You will definitely enjoy by spending your time in these kinds of places.
Four avenues forms Nisantasi mainly: Rumeli Avenue, Tesvikiye Avenue, Valikonagi Avenue, and Abdi İpekci Avenue. Abdi İpekci Street is regarded as the center and the heart of the neighborhood. It has so many boutiques and cafes and you had better not only see those cafes but eat in them. Tesvikiye Street which is located on the other side includes more traditional products and it is mostly possible to see Turkish labels there.
Nişantaşı is the posh “Upper East Side” of Istanbul, home to the priciest designer boutiques and old-fashioned couturiers, especially along Teşvikiye and Abdi İpekçi streets. Beymen department store was Turkey’s first luxury retailer and remains a one-stop shopping destination for international and Turkish designers; take a seat outside its sidewalk café to see the fashionable set preen. For a peek at the old-money Istanbul chronicled in Orhan Pamuk’s book The Museum of Innocence, find Hak Pasajı, a shopping arcade just a few steps from the City's Nişantaşı shopping center. Along with jewelry stores, stationers, and shoemakers, you’ll find Orlando Carlo Calumeno's shop, a veritable treasure trove of authentic Constantinople relics ranging from French postcards of the old Pera district to museum-quality Ottoman army items.
Located on the seaside of the Ataköy suburb, Galleria was built on a covered area of 77.000 sq meters.
It has several elite stores, restaurants, movie halls, a bowling hall and an ice skating rink. Galleria was recognized as the world’s most outstanding mall in 1990 by the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) for sophisticated blueprint design, rapid construction, and unique structural features.
Zorlu Shopping Mall put the focus on gourmet, with shops and restaurants such as Eataly, Jamie Oliver’s Italian, Tom’s Kitchen and Morini, as well as local restaurants such as Köşebaşı, Günaydın, Far East and Welldone.
It would be fair to say that Beyoglu, which used to be known as “Grand Rue de Pera”among the Istanbulites, is becoming more and more popular thanks to its neighborhoods such as Galata, Cihangir, and Karakoy.
With its high ceilings, frescoes, and golden leaf, the building stands out as one of the most beautiful buildings of its age. The building was used as PTT (Post Office Department) Head Office for the time being and it houses Atlas Cinema (Movie Theater), clothing shops, and souvenir shops today. Here, you can find authentic clothes, bags, and retro sunglasses.
If you look carefully enough, you will see a medal on the front side of the building. The walls of a fortress in the middle of this medal represents Halep Fortress. As you can imagine, Mr. Hacar was from Halep and he included a symbol from his country on this building.
The base floor of the passage houses various shops such as silver, ornament, book, oil painting, frame and poster shops. Moreover, you can take a break and enjoy a nice meal on the same floor at Munhasir Restaurant. Additionally, the lower floor of Halep Passage serves as Beyoglu Movie Theater today.
Highly valuable merchants of the non-Muslim community in the Ottoman Empire had businesses in this passage. One of the well-known figure, world-famous photographer Ara Guler’s father, ran a pharmacy shop in this passage too. In the past, all the hat orders for the marriages to be held at churches in Beyoglu were ordered to be made here and this shop named Sapkaci Katia sells nostalgic women hats today. There are 40 shops in Hazzopulo Passage where you can find perfumes, bags, ornaments, bookshops, and many more. The most important feature of the passage is that it connects Istiklal Avenue to Mesrutiyet Street.
This passage was built by Aznavur family in 1893 and it reflects the Italian architecture style. Famous novelists of the late Ottoman period used to spend a lot of time in this passage that housed the best cafes and restaurants of its time.
Aznavur Passage is a 9 story building where you can find ornaments, hat, toy, and bag shops. Furthermore, there are nice places to spend time such as cafes and a billiards hall in this passage.
Avrupa Passage is a place that even most people who have been to Istiklal Avenue several times don’t know. As the entrance of the passage is through the Fish Market in Beyoglu instead of the main street, only people who know the place beforehand visit it.
The big Beyoglu fire in 1870 caused a big change in the neighborhood. Avrupa Passage began to be built in the reconstruction phase of the neighborhood and it was completed in 1874. The building is 56 meters tall and it houses 22 shops.
While you are in the passage, you can and should enjoy some amazing sculptures at the entrance of the shops. Moreover, the passage connects Beyoglu Fish Market to Mesrutiyet Street.
Beyoglu Fish Market and Flower Passage
In fact, Cicek Passage is the first place when it comes to the passages in Beyoglu. However, Cicek Passage is a place full of various fish restaurants and meyhanes. And if you plan to do shopping in Beyoglu, you may want to take a meal break in the nostalgic atmosphere of Cicek Passage.
Beyoglu Fish Market, on the other hand, is next to the passage and it reflects the nostalgic characteristics of the neighborhood perfectly. While you are in the Fish Market, I strongly suggest you visit Uc Yildiz Sekerleme. You will definitely find yourself in a very nostalgic Turkish movie atmosphere.
Beyoğlu Business Center
Beyoglu Is Merkezi (Beyoglu Business Center) feels like getting bigger when you walk in it. You will surely feel like you are in a labyrinth in Beyoglu Is Merkezi where export leftovers are sold in more than 200 shops. Therefore, you can find all sorts of things here, be it clothes, underwear, accessories, bag or shoes.
Serdar-ı Ekrem Street
This street stretches from Galata Tower to Cihangir direction and it houses shops that sell some specially designed products. These places present goods that are used in daily life in creative ways and they will definitely attract the attention of shopping fans. Moreover, some of the best cafes in Istanbul can also be found on this street.
Büyük Hendek Street
The tradition of bringing the shops selling the same type of products on the same spot began in the Ottoman era and it’s still kept alive in today’s Turkey. Therefore, you can come across places like Hirdavatcilar Carsisi (Hardware Market) or Mefrusatcilar Carsisi (Furniture Market) in the historical neighborhoods of Istanbul. And Buyuk Hendek Street is packed with shops that sell lighting products in the same way.
Antique Shops in Cukurcuma Neighborhood
Cukurcuma is a special neighborhood of Beyoglu. This neighborhood also houses the Museum of Innocence created by Nobel prize winner novelist Orhan Pamuk as a companion to his novel The Museum of Innocence.
In fact, this neighborhood is famous for its antique shops and it’s such a fun activity to visit the antique shops lined up on Cukurcuma Street and do shopping. And if you love taking photos, you will find great opportunities to take some amazing shots here.
Cukurcuma and Cihangir are two of the best neighborhoods to take a walk in Istanbul. Moreover, you can end your day on Cezayir Street to rest and enjoy your day even more.
Shopping Places in Karaköy
This port neighborhood was always active in any period of Istanbul’s history and it blossomed completely in the 19th Century Ottoman era. Back then, Karakoy turned into a spot where all domestic and foreign businessmen of the city made investments. Therefore, you can also come across works of arts in Karakoy such as Minerva Han. In today’s Karakoy, the shops that sell outdoor products are the most popular ones. There are some good quality shops with many options to choose from. One of these shops, Atlas Outdoor, which is also one of my personal favorites for winter clothes, is in Karakoy too.
Silky fabrics and spices from India used to be brought to Egypt via caravans for long years and they would be sent to Istanbul by ships. Then, these valuable trade products would be exported to Europe via Venetians and Genoese.
And some of these important trade products would be sold to the public at Spice Bazaar. Spice Bazaar stands next to New Mosque, in the heart of Eminonu and it is still a center of attraction among both domestic and foreign visitors and you can’t even walk around the bazaar on weekends due to its huge popularity.
Uzuncarsi Street has always been one of the shopping areas in the Old City since the Ottoman era and it’s the street that stretches from the Eminonu coast to Grand Bazaar. You can find various business centers, shops, restaurants and cafes on this Street.
If you wish to experience the nostalgic feeling of the Old City, I recommend you to visit this street. Moreover, you can buy a lot of shopping items for cheaper prices than some other places if you visit Uzuncarsi Street.
The bazaar that starts from Grand Bazaar’s Mahmutpasa Gate and taking you to Eminonu’s backstreets is a steep road. This is the first place that comes to mind when people want to do shopping for engagement, wedding or circumcision events.
Mahmutpasa Bazaar is a unique place where you can buy kids’ clothes, adults shirts or even underwear at really cheap prices.
Places to Do Shopping in Sirkeci
Dogubank Business Center (Technological Gadgets)
Dogubank is located in the heart of Sirkeci and it has always been a popular spot for people who want to buy cheap mobile phones and technological devices. You can buy spot products at this place. You can also trade your old phones and buy new ones. Therefore, Dogubank offers a good alternative to do shopping.
Hayyam Passage (Photography Products)
As we all know, photography products are really expensive. Products of big giants like Sony, Canon, and Nikon are sold at really high prices at techno shops today. And Hayyam Passage is the first place to look for cheaper camera and camera lens options in Istanbul. Many photography product shops are lined up one after another in this passage and, therefore, you can examine and compare the prices of the products you would like to buy at this passage.
Best Shopping Places in Sultanahmet
It was a tradition in the Ottoman era to build a bazaar next to a new mosque. Therefore, the resources to keep the mosque functioning, administrative and maintenance costs were met via the rents collected from these shops. In the same fashion, Spice Bazaar was built next to New Mosque in Eminonu. That’s the reason why these two buildings were constructed in the same year.
And Arasta Bazaar next to Blue Mosque was built to serve the same purpose in the 17th century. As the bazaar adjacent to Great Palace Mosaic Museum today, it attracts the attention of, especially foreign visitors. Souvenirs sold in this bazaar will surely attract your attention if you want to buy something that will remind you of Istanbul.
Moreover, there are some famous shops in the bazaar, so much so that some of them have been mentioned in world-famous travel magazines like Jennifer’s Hamam.
This street connects Sultanahmet to Grand Bazaar and it’s packed with tourists, especially in spring months. There are various office blocks, business centers, and coffee shops on this street. Additionally, you can find some luxury carpet and jewelry shops on Nuruosmaniye Street. Although this street is an expensive one to do shopping, you can chill at one of the cafes on the street and watch people from all around the world doing shopping.
Grand Bazaar is the collection of numerous separate shops that have come together in hundreds of years. There are many sections of the bazaar and it’s composed of 67 streets and more than 3000 shops. Therefore, it’s inevitable to get lost at Grand Bazaar if that’s your first time but getting lost in a huge bazaar as Grand Bazaar is what makes shopping much more fun.
Naturally, there are many entrances and exits of the bazaar. Nuruosmaniye Gate (Gate Number 1) on Nuruosmaniye Street is the Main Entrance Gate of the bazaar. Also, Beyazit Gate (Gate Number 7) is one of the most popular entrances of Grand Bazaar.
The street that lies between these two gates is called Kalpakcilarbasi Street and it’s regarded as the main street of Grand Bazaar. Therefore, in order to find your way in the bazaar, you are recommended to remember the direction of this street.
Antique Shops and Auction Places in Balat
Fener and Balat are highly popular neighborhoods in Istanbul recently. The best part of visiting these neighborhoods is that you can enjoy restaurants, cafes, cultural tourism, and shopping in the same area.
After you start your day with a nice breakfast at a café nearby Phanar Patriarchate of Constantinople, you can take a walk on Vodina Street that connects Fener and Balat and visit some amazing retro shops in the area.
When you enter Balat Bazaar, you will see some shops holding auctions on both sides of the road. In these shops, you can buy antique goods at ridiculously low prices. And that’s why you can also see people pouring out of such shops due to high demand.
In order to take an unforgettable trip to Cibali, Fener and Balat, you can read Fener Balat Walking Tour and Breakfast Places in Balat articles.
Best Shopping Places in Kadikoy
While visiting Istanbul, take an afternoon trip across the Bosphorus to Kadiköy to stock up on food, sweets, and tea. The prices in this Istanbul neighborhood are at least half of those in the touristy Grand Bazaar and Spice Market. You'll also feel like a local as you wander the narrow streets hopping from shop to shop. But tourist beware, haggling doesn't happen as much here. So take the prices at face value.
Kadikoy Coast and Fish Market Area
The most attractive thing about Kadikoy for foreign visitors is the atmosphere of Fish Market. Foreign travel writers who visit Istanbul recommend visiting Fish Market as it thoroughly represents and preserves Istanbul’s neighborhood culture and traditional shopping style.
Indeed, Kadikoy dock and Fish Market are the reflections of hundreds of years of history. And some cool details that you may not realize on the European side due to the crowd and chaotic style, can be seen in Kadikoy’s Fish Market more clearly. For example, traditional dessert shops such as Tatlici Erol, Baylan and Haci Muhiddin Hacibekir make the bazaar colorful. Moreover, various second-hand book and clothes shops and souvenir shops on the way to Moda may attract your attention too.
You can find everything you need regarding Istanbul on the backstreets between Fish Market and Bahariye Street. Culture and art centers, bars at Kadife Street, and Rexx Movie Theater are some other things worth visiting.
Bahariye Street and Moda
Bahariye Street is one of the best places to take a walk in Kadikoy. This street stretches from Kadikoy’s famous Bull monument to Moda and a nostalgic tram passes through the street like the one on Istiklal Avenue. And there are some other nostalgic elements on the street such as Sureyya Opera.
Opera Onur Carsisi is an ideal passage to do shopping cheaply. If you need a nightgown or daily sportswear, you can find similar stylish products like expensive brands.
Bagdat Street continues to be a center of attraction like Istiklal Avenue. Its 7km length makes Bagdat Street the longest shopping street in Istanbul with its luxury brands’ shops.
Bagdat Street starts from Bostanci and continues to the center of Kadikoy. Especially, Saskinbakkal, Caddebostan, Goztepe, and Selamicesme areas offer nice shops, cafes, and parks. Also, wedding dress shops, nightgown shops, and plates studios can be seen on the top floor of apartments on the street.
Handmade Sweets in Fatih: Altan Candy
Mustafa Altan owns this candy shop with his son where they make the most delicious Turkish Delight and hard candies just above the shop. I came back twice to pick up more rose Turkish Delight and cinnamon candies for gifts.
Turkey has a strong textile tradition: carpets, of course, but also tapestries, pillows, and clothing. Cocoon boutique has a beautiful collection of these goods, along with embroidered suzani fabrics from Uzbekistan and Central Asia, felted wool and silk hats, and colorful travertine tiles. Also look for oya, intricate flowers made with an ancient needle-lace technique. Some pieces are vintage and others are made new for the shop, but all are fit to be heirlooms. Their showroom near the Arasta Bazaar in Sultanahmet is also a good source for olive oil soaps and cotton peştamal (towels).
These traditional gourd lamps add a touch of beauty to any house. Turkish artists decorate and hand-craft the lamps with unique designs, which are dried and drilled with holes of varying sizes and shapes into intricate designs. Afterwards they are adorned with colored beads, and the light shining through them creates a beautiful atmosphere.
Book lovers and bazaar hunters will revel in foraging through the Sahaflar Çarsısı (Beyazit Book Bazaar) for new titles, secondhand books, historical maps, the Quran (in various languages), ancient texts, and other rare finds. The bazaar, between Beyazit Mosque and the Grand Bazaar, was built in 1954, but the site is a historical literary landmark where the Chartoprateia—a Byzantium book and paper market—existed. During Ottoman times, the site became a center for printing and literary trade, drawing many intellectuals and writers to the Beyazit and Grand Bazaar area.
Some historians will say Sahaflar Çarsısı is where the first book was printed in Turkey in 1729. Whether this is fact or fiction, the statue in the middle of the courtyard is that of Ibrahim Muteferrika, an Ottoman diplomat who, among many titles, was the publisher responsible for the first book—a two-volume Arabic-Turkish dictionary.
The entrance to the bazaar is off Çadırcılar Caddesi (Road), just down from the Grand Bazaar's Beyazit Gate (Gate Number 7).
Tribal Art Home
Located one street back from the tram line in Sultanahmet, Tribal Art Home's owner Nihat and his assistant Yekta will help you browse their extensive range of hand-crafted ceramics, mosaic lanterns, candle holders, waterpipes (nargile), and textiles—wall hangings, cushion covers, and handbags. The bargaining is minimal as the prices quoted are already reasonable.
The guys here can pack and wrap your purchases for safe transportation home. If you’re concerned about the weight of your suitcase, door to door delivery via international post can be organized. Do know that parcel post from Turkey can be expensive, so check the prices by weight before committing.