Having visited the place several times for work and pleasure, I can tell you that Istanbul is very much a capital city that’s rich in culture and history. From one Istanbul shop to the next, the experience available is as exotic and luxurious as anywhere on the planet.
If you’re a lover of shopping, it’s certainly a place that offers a lot, with a blend of the contemporary and the traditional and as a huge metropolis, those travelling to the city will find some of the most amazing keepsakes and fashion items.
The city has everything to suit any style and every budget. It’s streets are regularly alive with carpet workshops, bazaars and outdoor markets around every corner. In this blog I offer a small amount of my experience in the city by giving you an idea about the best shopping areas to visit when you arrive.
Where Are the Best Istanbul Shop Experiences?
When shopping in Istanbul, you’ll find a mixture of traditional Ottoman-styled bazaars and modern malls – the kind of which you find in the US. So, whether you’re after clothes, haute couture, textiles, leather or authentic glassware, you’ll not be short of places to browse.
The Grand Bazaar
First we look at the Kapali Carsi which translates as ‘the Grand Bazaar’ and it’s something that really lives up to its name. It’s perhaps the most popular shopping location with visiting tourists and it’s an experience that you’ll absolutely not want to miss. Upwards of 4,000 separate merchants sell their wares in this location and you’ll find basketry, slippers, jewellery, dried fruits and pretty much anything you could think of.
The Ortakoy Markets
Held on a Thursday each week, the Ortakoy markets are certainly worth a visit. Whilst this isn’t strictly an Istanbul shop experience, there’s nothing quite like meandering through stall after stall and finding hidden treasures. Other markets of this kind are held regularly in Kadikoy, Bakirkoy and Besiktas.
A Wealth of Shopping Malls
What can’t be overlooked are the myriad of shopping malls in Istanbul. At last count, there were more than 200 and some are absolutely enormous. Amongst the most popular include Metrocity, the Kanyon and Akmerkez, as well as the Cevahir and the Istinye Park.
It goes without saying that these megastores offer much, so I’d visit them at some point, but it’s the bazaars and markets that contain those hidden treasures we mentioned earlier.
The Taksim Locality
Another amazing place to enjoy a rich Istanbul shop experience is in the area of Taksim. It’s one of the more cosmopolitan and modern areas of the city and the famed Istiklal street is a huge 2km-long line of amazing shops that sell varied products from hand-made ceramics to traditional fashion wear. When you’ve finished shopping, there are some great pubs and cafes in the locality too.
Let Your Feet Take You Around This Magical City
If you’re lucky enough to go to Istanbul, then I’d recommend taking your time doing it. There’s enough there to keep you occupied for every day of even a month-long holiday, but you should be sure to budget properly so that you don’t run out of money half-way through!
That said, you don’t have to go all the way to Turkey to enjoy the finest wares from Turkey, as I found when I came across a lovely online Istanbul shop called Little Istanbul Gifts. From bags, to jewellery to Turkish spices, their products are sourced directly from Turkey for a true traditional experience.
I hope that you do get to go to the city at some point, as it’s a sight to behold and a place that you should visit at some point in your life. It offers a lot more than shopping too.
Cruises down the Bosphorous, a visit to Palácio de Dolmabahce or a walk around Gulhane Park – the choice is absolutely yours. It truly is a timeless place that you can tell your grandkids about. That’s it from me.
I hope you enjoyed my blog.