One of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world, the Grand Bazaar dates from the 15th century. Having more than 4000 shops, the Grand Covered Bazaar is visited by the tourists and the citizens regularly.
The most important historical shopping center of Istanbul is the Grand Bazaar, which has gates opening to many areas of the Historic Peninsula. First time visitors to the Grand Bazaar will be astounded by its splendor and size.
Grand Bazaar in Numbers: The bazaar is just like a gigantic labyrinth with its vast area that contains 4400 authentic shops, 25000 full time staff, 61 covered streets, 18 gates that open to various points of the city, mosques, fountains, 40 rest houses, and looks as much to the present as it does to the past. Its high ceiling is covered with a dome that has hundreds of windows.
No wonder it is one of the most popular shopping areas in the world. The number of daily visitors reaches half a million people during the peak summer months.
The 554 year old Grand Bazaar is one of the world's most exciting shopping experiences. This is the perfect place to end your visit by shopping for some souvenirs for beloved ones back home.
The world famous handmade carpets and kilims of Turkey, some of the most beautiful examples of Turkish silver art, souvenirs and decorations made of copper and bronze and high quality ceramics, onyx, and leathergoods are for sale. In the jewelers' shops, filled with gold, silver and precious stones, you can find all sorts of valuable handicraft accessories, from antique jewelry to modern pendants.
A walk through the Bazaar is a journey amidst enchanting scents of spices, dazzling colours, hypnotizing sounds, beautiful handicrafts, and of course the tempting smell of Turkish coffee.
A sparkling shopping experience awaits you at Grand Bazaar, one of the oldest covered market in the world.
A short walk from the Grand Bazaar, the 17th-century Eminönü Egyptian Spice Bazaar, open seven days a week, is another favourite of the camera-wielding, souvenir-seeking tourist. A bustling gastronomic paradise since 1664, this is the best place to pick up dried fruits and nuts, spices, olives, Turkish delight, oils and essences of the finest order. Bronze curios glint in the sun, torpedo-sized dates are stacked to the rafters, and the decadent scent of freshly ground Mehmet Efendi coffee merges with the aroma of fresh fish, with surprisingly non-toxic consequences. Marriage proposals should only be entertained if they involve free Turkish delight.
Istiklal street, running from Taksim Square all the way to Tünel, is one of the city’s main shopping streets and is always crowded. You’ll find every brand imaginable, from local to international names. İstiklal also has some very interesting side streets and small pasaj (arcades), so when you see something interesting make sure to take a detour. Definitely check out the Beyoğlu Balık Pazarı (open air market) for some serious food shopping, and then wander a few more steps next door to the famous Çiçek Pasajı, a famous historic arcade opened in 1876. If you get tired of walking, take the historic red tramway that runs up and down the street.
The Nişantaşı neighborhood is known for its luxury, whether it’s the atelier and showroom of a local designer or the boutique of a world famous brand. On Abdi İpekçi Caddesi you’ll find everything from Prada to Louis Vuitton, as well as Vakko and Beymen, Turkey’s premier luxury brands. If you’re a bit more conscious about what leaves your wallet, then you can simply take a detour and walk to Teşvikiye Caddesi, where more moderately priced stores such as Zara, Massimo Dutti, and Scotch & Soda are located. You can also visit the City’s Shopping Center for more store options, including imports like Banana Republic and Gap.
Zorlu is the newest addition to Istanbul’s shopping mall scene. It is built on 105.000 m² of land, including a 10.000 m² main court. There is also a second court of 12.000 m², and a leasable area of 70.000 m², home to about 180 stores.
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.
Located in the Istinye neighborhood of the Sarıyer district, Istinye Park has brought a new dimension to Istanbul’s shopping concept. Spread out over an area of 242.000 sqm, the shopping center offers a variety of outdoor and glass roofed indoor sections such as a green central park, Fashion District, street side shopping, a kids’ entertainment center of 1.500 sqm, Hillside Sports and Leisure Club, The Bazaar — an area inspired by historical Turkish architecture — and 12 movie halls, one of which being IMAX 3D.
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. Wheelchairs, lockers to leave your valuables, baby buggies free of charge and immediate tax refund are only some of the thoughtful services provided.
This little cobble-stoned street near the historic Galata Tower is probably one of Istanbul’s coolest shopping streets. You definitely won’t see any big name brands, because this street is known for its cool boutiques. Check out the cool T-shirts at Les Benjamins, souvenirs and curiosities at Lunapark, the showroom of Turkish designer Arzu Kaprol, antiques at Kashif Sofa, and the elegant boutique Atelier 55 at the very end. Once you’re done perusing, take a seat at Mavra for some coffee and delicious homemade chocolate cake. If you happen to be wandering around at a cocktail-friendly hour, definitely drop by the terrace of Georges Hotel for a delicious drink with a great view of the city.
Beşiktaş pazarı offers most products you’ll find elsewhere, such as shoes, bags, unusual jewellery and home textiles. However, the focus is definitely on clothing. The market starts building up at dawn and stays until dusk.
On the Asian side of the city and roughly parallel to the shore of the Marmara Sea, Bağdat Avenue is a rather green and glossy 14 km long high street. The first residential steps in the area were the luxurious wooden chalet mansions built after 1870’s. Some still exist and contribute to the wealthy look of the upper-scale residential area. As well as the shopping exuberance, Bağdat Avenue is famous for international and local cuisine restaurants, pubs and cafes.
Bagdat Avenue scored 83 out of 100 and became 4th (!) on a ranking list of the world’s most famous shopping streets made by a Paris-based market consulting company in 2012.
The criterias of the mystery shoppers were:
Appearance (cleanliness, lighting)
Welcome (staff greetings, courtesy, availability)
Atmosphere (garbage cans available, open space, clean pavement)
Contact with passers-by (friendliness, helpfulness to people passing through the store)
The outstanding line for shoppers is the 6 km long stretch with one-way traffic from Bostancı to Kızıltoprak. You can track down most of the shopping malls and fashion stores in the direction westward between Suadiye, Şaşkınbakkal, Erenköy and Caddebostan neighborhoods.
I recommend you to get to Bostancı and then walk back towards Kadıköy – in the direction of the traffic flow. You will easily spend a full day in the Bağdat Caddesi.
Çukurcuma is Istanbul’s main antique-hunting street and the beautiful neo-classical houses all around this neighborhood are very befitting of the whole nostalgic theme. Walk up and down the winding streets and check out the amazing antique and vintage boutiques as well as the Museum of Innocence, which (also quite befittingly) is a giant showcase for a past, but not forgotten, Istanbul. The best stores around this area include A La Turca, Modern Tarih, Objects of Desire, and Aslı Günşiray. When you’re done wandering around and shopping, definitely get a snack at Café Cuma – we recommend the pancakes.