Shopping in Istanbul: The 10 best shopping centres, markets & streets
Istanbul is a shopping paradise.
The choice in the city is huge.
There are dozens of large and small shopping centres on the European side of Istanbul alone.
Here I have collected the best shopping centres, street shopping and the most beautiful markets.
I will start with the shopping centres and continue with the markets and street shopping.
Shopping in Istanbul : 10 best shopping centres in Istanbul
There are dozens of shopping centres in Istanbul. Only a few of them are interesting enough for shopping during a city trip.
This is due to their accessibility from the city centre and the range it offers.
In addition, there are now too many shopping centres in Istanbul. Some even have vacant space in the city centre.
When choosing the shopping centre, I therefore opted for a good combination of accessibility, international and Turkish brands.
All the shopping centres on my list have stores selling clothes, accessories, homeware, restaurants, and entertainment for children. The shopping centres in Istanbul also have cinemas.
I’ll start with three shopping centres that are right next to each other.
List of shopping centres:
1. Kanyon Shopping Centre: is the best place to shop in Istanbul along with the following three shopping centres. The three shopping centres are next to each other near the M2 and M6 Levent metro station in the Levent business district on the European side of Istanbul.
2. Özdilek Park Shopping Mall: You can find national and international brands in Özdelik Park, 50 meters from the Kanyon Centre.
3. Metrocity: is just south of the Özdelik a shopping mall which concludes my top recommendations for shopping in Istanbul. You literally need a whole afternoon for all the shops in the three shopping centres (or maybe even more). Together with the Kanyon and Özdelik Centre, you have hundreds of shops to choose from.
4. Zorlu Centre: is the most exclusive shopping centre in Istanbul with luxury brands (Luis Vuitton, Gucci, …). The complex includes Raffles Istanbul, one of the best rated 5 star hotels in Turkey. The Zorlu Centre is close to the M2 Gayrettepe Metro, a taxi ride from the old town (Hagia Sophia) takes 30 minutes.
5. Akmerz: in Nispetiye Caddesi in Besiktas with 250 shops on 180,000 m². It is near the M6 metro station Nispetiye Istasyonu. This is one of the most important shopping streets in Istanbul with many other shops, good restaurants and cafes (more on this in the shopping streets).
6. Venezia Mega Outlet: mainly Turkish clothing brands and some international brands in the outlet centre on the western outskirts of Istanbul. A good plan to get there is on the website.
7. Forum Istanbul: According to the company, it is the largest shopping centre in Europe with an area of 495,000 m² and 292 national and international shops near the M1A M1B Kocatepe metro.
8. Istinye Park: is one of the two shopping centres in Istanbul with exclusive international brands (Gucci, …). The taxi ride from the old town takes around 45 minutes.
9. Palladium: the most popular shopping centre on the Asian side of Istanbul near the M4 metro station Yenisahra. The Watergarden Shopping Centre and the small Bulvar 216 Shopping Centre a 10 minute taxi drive from the Palladium.
10. Mall of Istanbul: a six-story shopping mall with 200 shops, restaurants and a cinema. Unfortunately there is no metro station near the Mall of Istanbul. Nevertheless, it is one of the most famous shopping centres in Istanbul (advertised in airline magazines). That’s why I’m mentioning the mall here, but I deliberately only placed it in 10th place.
Tips on shopping in Istanbul
Numbers: in shopping centres the price is written on the product. You are NOT trading with the price like you do at the bazaar !. Also keep in mind that shopping malls in Istanbul rarely accept euros. How to change cheap euros to Turkish lira.
The shopping centres are usually open seven days a week until late in the evening. The Turkish public holidays are excluded from this. I have linked all the shopping centre websites above. The exact opening times can be found there.
The markets and street shops in Istanbul are usually open seven days a week.
Turkish cinemas show international films mostly in English with Turkish subtitles. Entry to current Hollywood blockbusters costs only € 4-5 in Turkey.
7 best markets (bazaar) in Istanbul
Visiting a bazaar (market) is a must in Istanbul. The classic is of course the size bazaar, which is also one of the most visited attractions in Istanbul.
Of course, the Egyptian (spice) bazaar is still known.
Since the locals sometimes ask questions about typical markets in Istanbul, I have added a list of rather quiet places for a stroll through the markets.
These include easy-to-reach markets in the city centres and weekly markets that are typical for Turkey.
List of markets (bazaar):
1. Grand Bazaar in Istanbul: 4,000 shops, 30,000 workers and 500,000 daily visitors make the 15th century Grand Bazaar one of the oldest and most fascinating markets in the world. In the Grand Bazaar you will find all the interesting souvenirs from Turkey, antiques, food, gold jewellery, clothes, odds and ends, …
2. Egyptian (Spice) Bazaar: Baklava, sweets, Turkish Pastirma sausage, spices, nuts, street food, Turkish coffee, tea and more can be found in the Egyptian Bazaar near the Galata Bridge on the Golden Horn.
3. Arasta Bazaar: a small market with around 40 shops south of the Blue Mosque with souvenirs and restaurants.
4. Book Bazaar (Sahaflar Carsisi): 50 shops full of literature on Chartoprateia Square near the Grand Bazaar. Most of the books are in Turkish.There is also a small variety of books in English and German.
5. Besiktas Market: Street market with all kinds of goods in the Besiktas district on the European side of Istanbul. The nearby Ihlamur Palace is an interesting sight.
6. Fatih Çarsamba Pazari: local market on Wednesday with housewares, bed linen, clothes, soft toys, curtains, carpets, cosmetics, accessories.
7. Food market: Feriköy Ekolojik Pazar (Feriköy Öko Markt) on the Asian side of Istanbul and the Kastamonu Market on the outskirts have regional foods for the residents of Istanbul. The streets in the Kadikoy district on the Asian side of Istanbul are also interesting for fruit, vegetables, sweets, restaurants, bars and cafes.
Tips on the markets in Istanbul
When shopping for antiques, carpets and other old items, you have to pay close attention to Turkey’s customs regulations! The export of cultural goods is strictly prohibited in Turkey without a permit. Old stones from the beach can be a problem.
You can also get to know the markets and the food in Istanbul during guided tours.
Here is a recommended food tour in Istanbul including the Egyptian Bazaar and the food markets in Kadikoy on the Asian side.
In my Istanbul Street Food Guide you will find typical Turkish dishes, recommended locations and tips for eating in the city.
5 best shopping streets in Istanbul
Istiklal Caddesi, which ends at Taksim Square, is the shopping and nightlife heart on the European side of Istanbul. The 14 km long Bagdat Caddesi is its counterpart on the Asian side of Istanbul.
You can find individual shops with Turkish goods in the side streets of Istiklal Caddesi in the direction of the Bosphorus.
List of shopping streets:
1. Istiklal Caddesi (Europe): is the most famous shopping street in Istanbul. It starts in the south near the Galata Tower and ends in the north at Taksim Square. In between there are local and international shops, restaurants and bars in the evening. There are also many famous sights near Istiklal Caddesi.
2. Bagdat Caddesi (Asia): is the longest shopping street in Istanbul (14km). It starts in Kadiköy on the Asian side of Istanbul and runs along the coast to the east. Always plan a visit to Bagdat Caddesi in advance as the shops are all further apart.
3. Abdi Ipekci Street: one of the most exclusive shopping streets in Istanbul with international brands, chic cafes, restaurants and historic houses.
4. Nispetiye Street: international and Turkish brands in Besiktas, Akmerz shopping centre, popular with Turkish movie stars, with restaurants known in Istanbul such as P.F. Changs, Eataly and Wagamama.
5. Alleys in Beyoglu: the Atlas Pasaji (passage) is popular among Istanbul’s youth. There you will find alternative (cheap) t-shirts, dresses and accessories. The street from Istiklal Caddesi to the Galata Tower (Galip Dede Cd.) Is interesting for musicians, souvenirs and decorations. I also find the nearby Serdar-i Ekrem street with small boutiques interesting.
My conclusion on shopping in Istanbul
Which shopping centres, markets and shopping streets would I choose?
I would start with the Kanyon Center (because of the Özdelik Park and the Metrocity right next door). In the Grand Bazaar and the Egyptian Bazaar you can find almost everything that is available in other markets.
The price in the Grand Bazaar is higher than the average of Istanbul and it is busier. The Grand Bazaar and the Egyptian Bazaar are among the most interesting sights in Istanbul.
I like the back streets of Istiklal Caddesi in Beyoglu. The cafes in Beyoglu attract me at every opportunity. That’s why Istiklal Caddesi is my first choice among the shopping streets in Istanbul.
Bagdat Caddesi is interesting for locals and you need significantly more time because the road is 14km long. Therefore, use Google Maps to plan which stores are suitable for you in advance.
You can find more tips in my Istanbul travel guide. In it I have collected all the important questions for a city trip.
If you have any questions about shopping in Istanbul, your own tips or experiences, please write to me in the comments below.