Exotic Istanbul offers a variety of fashion, crafts and souvenirs. Buy the items your heart desires at a nice price in a historical shopping landscape.

While on holiday, one of the best ways to get to know the city is sightseeing through shopping. A beautiful and historic city like Istanbul manages to combine ancient buildings and unique architecture with modern shopping facilities. Here you can find almost anything, but you’ll get best value for your money when buying clothing, fabrics and leather. Over the years the city has also developed a taste for retail, with many international fashion houses present.

Check out these shopping musts:

Grand Bazaar – Old Town

When in Istanbul, you cannot miss out on the Grand Bazaar. The trip wouldn’t be complete without a stop here. It is one of the largest and oldest roofed markets in the world and consists of 61 covered streets and over 3 000 shops. It comes as no surprise that it attracts up to 400 000 visitors a day. Not only does this spectacular place offer a wide range of shops, you can also indulge in a variety of restaurants and cafés serving delicious Turkish coffee.

You don’t even need to be the keen shopper to enjoy a visit to the Bazaar. It’s like an adventure just visiting for the architecture and history alone. This labyrinth of streets and shops has been here, in the heart of the Old City, for centuries. The core construction of what was to become today’s Grand Bazaar started up in 1455 and has developed over the years.

Demirören Shopping Mall, Istiklal Street

In the heart of the city, you find this beautiful white building which looks like a grand castle. In reality, it’s one of Istanbul’s many modern shopping malls. Side by side with elegant architectural artwork and spectacular archways are a variety of shops, entertainment centres, cafés, restaurants and bookstores.

Demirören Shopping Mall offers a selection of European and American prestige brands, from GAP to Sephora, plus some local names as well. Together with a rocking soundtrack, family entertainment and interesting art and fashion exhibits you can’t go wrong visiting this place.

Istiklal Caddesi Shopping Street – Beyoglu District

This busy but pleasant pedestrian street in the Beyoglu district of Istanbul is one of the most famous avenues in the city. For as far as the eye can see you will find various boutiques, music and books stores, art galleries, cinemas, theatres, libraries, cafés, pubs, night clubs, historical patisseries, chocolatiers and restaurants. 

The street was formerly known as the “Grande Rue de Pera” – Independence Avenue, and was Istanbul’s most elegant street and home to the city’s upmarket shops, various embassies and churches, as well as fashionable residences and tea-houses. This was the kind of street you wouldn’t dream of taking a stroll down wearing an ordinary pair of jeans or your old every day dress.

Istinye Park – Sariyer District

In the Istinye Quarter of Istanbul, you’ll find this enormous shopping centre with 291 stores spread out over an area of 242 000 m². Istinye Park has brought a new dimension to Istanbul’s shopping concept. Here you will find everything under one glass roof including the fashion district, side-street shopping, and The Bazaar, inspired by historical Turkish architecture. Outdoor areas include a green central park, filled with restaurants and cafes. Furthermore, there is a kid’s entertainment centre, sports club and let’s not forget the 12-screen movie hall also including IMAX 3D. This vast, unique shopping centre is green, eco-friendly and beautiful, with no less than four levels of underground parking.

The Egyptian Spice Bazaar – Eminonu Quarter – Faith District

This is one of the largest Bazaars in the city, and the second largest covered shopping complex after the Grand Bazaar. It was, and still is, the centre for spice trade in Istanbul. However, over the years more and more other kinds of stalls are replacing the spice shops. You will still find a lot of delicious treats here, like nuts, figs, Turkish delights, dried fruits together with potions, lotions, soaps and the sultan’s very own aphrodisiac.

This hectic but charming marketplace was constructed in the 1660s as a part of the New Mosque complex. It is an Ottoman imperial mosque, and one of the famous architectural landmarks of the city. The rents from the market stalls, together with charitable activities, all contribute towards its upkeep.. It was called the Egyptian Market because it was most famous for selling goods that were shipped in from Cairo.

For a true shopper these countless markets and shopping centres in Istanbul are like a piece of heaven. Yet you don’t even need to like shopping to enjoy them. Going to a shopping centre in Turkey is like stepping into history itself, quite unlike anything you’ve seen before. Sit at a small café and enjoy the sights of historical buildings, watch the crowd and take in the authentic Turkish atmosphere. Strategically placed in the Golden Horn’s Taksim district, you find the city centre Radisson Blu Hotel, Istanbul Pera, ideally situated within walking distance to the Sishane Metro station and the city sights.

What is your best shopping tip for Istanbul?