GoWithGuideFind your perfect tour guide at GoWithGuide. Relax and cherish unforgettable tours with loved ones. Create personalized tours for a truly memorable trip!
GoWithGuideFind your perfect tour guide at GoWithGuide. Relax and cherish unforgettable tours with loved ones. Create personalized tours for a truly memorable trip!WithGoGuide
GoWithGuideFind your perfect tour guide at GoWithGuide. Relax and cherish unforgettable tours with loved ones. Create personalized tours for a truly memorable trip!

Top 5 Shopping Spots in Istanbul

D

by GoWithGuide travel specialist:Denise B.

Last updated : Oct 12, 20228 min read

Shopping

Istanbul is the commercial center of Turkey and an important gateway for trade between Europe, Asia, the Mediterranean, and the Black Sea. For centuries, the city’s merchants have sold their rich variety of wares to its cosmopolitan visitors. There is something for everyone in the ancient bazaars, modern malls, and high streets of Istanbul. 

GoWithGuide has seasoned guides who know just how to administer the correct dose of retail therapy. Whether you are looking for luxury goods or are hooked on haggling, shop in comfort with one of our customisable private city tours.   

Grand Bazaar 

blog imageIn the historic heart of the city lies the Grand Bazaar. It was established shortly after the conquest of Constantinople, now Istanbul. For 450 years it was the center of trade for territories under the control of the Ottoman Empire. Goods from the Middle East, Northern, and Eastern Africa found their way to this market. In 1985 it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Today, the bazaar’s focus is almost exclusively on the plethora of Turkish products available. The country is a manufacturing powerhouse and the Grand Bazaar is its showcase. Turkey is one of the world’s leading producers of denim and gold products, meaning jeans and jewellery are popular purchases. You will also find high quality ceramics, textiles, lamps, and leather goods. It’s best to have your wits about you though, as bargaining is standard practice here. To ensure you don’t get a bad deal, one of our local guides can assist you with your retail negotiations.

The 7.5 acre covered market has four main gates and a total of 21 entrances. Shops are clustered according to the products they sell, with streets named for the professional guilds active in each area. There are 61 of these old city streets, lined by more than 4,000 small shops. The vaulted walkways, domes, and tiled ceilings make this a delightful excursion in all seasons.   

During the days of the empire, it would not have been unusual to spot the Sultan and his family shopping in the market. As women were not allowed to linger outdoors, provision was not made for eating establishments. You can however purchase Turkish coffees and teas, and delicate sets in which to serve them. The Grand Bazaar is a 10 minute walk from the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque situated in the old European part of the city. It is open from 08:30 to 19:00 all year round, except for Sundays and religious holidays.   

Spice Bazaar 

blog imageThe Spice Bazaar is just a 10 minute walk from the Grand Bazaar. It has several names, initially being documented as the New Bazaar, as it was built almost 200 years after the Grand Bazaar. Then the name was changed to the Egyptian Bazaar (Misir Carsisi) because construction was funded by revenues from Egypt, a former province of the Ottoman Empire. The word ‘Misir’ also means ‘corn’ in Turkish so it is sometimes referred to as the Corn Bazaar as well. Tourists know it as the Spice Bazaar. 

The rich colors of the Mediterranean are found in the fresh pomegranates, figs, and olives laid out next to piles of exotic spices in autumn hues, and the soft pastels of Turkish Delights and other candies. It is a sensory overload of fragrances, aromas, and tastes. For added ambience, scented candles and soaps are also on offer.  

Linger at the kiosks while you savor the smooth, rich local coffee or tea, accompanied by an array of sweet and nutty baklava desserts. Local inhabitants frequent the Bazaar to play board games and generally relax. The bazaar is open between 08:00 and 19:00 but opens later on Sundays. It is closed for Ramadan and Sacrifice Festivals. 

Book Bazaar – Sahaflar Carsisi

blog imageOne of Istanbul’s best kept secrets is the Book Bazaar, which was once part of the Grand Bazaar. It dates back to the 15th century, and grew organically from a cluster of shops that served the needs of the students of the nearby Beyazit theological university. The area became the center of Turkish printing and publishing. A bust of Ibrahim Muteferrika, the first Ottoman publisher celebrates the industry. 

The Bazaar specialises in second hand books, most of them Turkish, but treasures in other languages can also be found. Antique books, leather bound editions, and miniature artwork are on sale, as well as maps and manuscripts. If you love the smell of old books, this is a place to linger, but unlike the other markets haggling is not advised here.. 

Istiklal, Taksim Square, and Nisantisi Shopping Districts

blog imageStill on the European side of the city but across the Golden Horn lies Istiklal Cadessi, or Independence Street. This shopping boulevard is 1.5 km long and stretches from Tunel Square in the south to Taksim Square in the north. A vintage tram carries passengers up and down the length of the pedestrian mall. 

Istiklal is one of Istanbul’s busiest thoroughfares and is a hive of activity well into the night. Most shops close at 10 pm, but the bars and restaurants remain open, often until the last patrons leave. At the far end of this spine of activity is Taksim Square, which is sometimes referred to as the heart of modern Istanbul. From midday to midnight, it pulses with shoppers, diners, and late night revellers. 

For a more upmarket shopping experience, you need only travel a few minutes north of Taksim Square to Nisantisi. This is the commercial centre of Sisli, where the more notable addresses are located. It is home to the country’s top fashion houses, jewellery designers, and purveyors of other high end items. 

The finest luxury goods on offer in the city can be found in Nisantasi. Many of them are on display at the Istanbul Cevahir Mall, the sixth largest of its kind in the world. This 20-storey shopping extravaganza also houses more than 100 of the world’s top brands. The décor is an opulent spectacle, best viewed during the festive season. 

The Asian Side of the City 

blog imageEast of the Bosphorus, the Asian side of Istanbul offers a different and more budget-friendly shopping experience. Kadikoy and Uskudar are the areas most popular with tourists. Visitors can shop like locals at the lively Kadikoy Fish Market. Besides fish, shoppers can purchase meat, fresh produce, cheeses, and preserves here. For those with a sweet tooth, there is a selection of baklava and other fine desserts on offer as well. Bahariye Street is the Anatolian version of Istiklal, with main street shops and vendors located down ancient alleyways. The street is renowned for its clothing, frequently sold at bargain prices. 

Bagdat Street in Uskudar is the longest street in Istanbul. It is a 15 km long strip mall with a mixture of permanent establishments and pop-up shops that materialise on different days of the week. Along Bagdat Street is Caddebostan, where you will find a smorgasbord of restaurants and kiosks selling street food. They offer much needed sustenance to see you through the rest of your marathon shopping spree. 

For a different taste of mall life, head for Watergarden Mall, so called because of its central show pool and fountain show. Dazzling dancing water is choreographed to laser lights, music, and fire. Most of the restaurants overlook the water, and the developers have striven to incorporate nature into the concert area, game arcade, and adventure park. If the weather chases you indoors, you will find more entertainment at the cinemas and theaters.  

Conclusion 

Istanbul has so many facets, not least as a shopping destination. For centuries, skilled artisans have been honing their crafts and offering them for sale in a congenial international atmosphere. Banter and bartering are part of the social fabric of the city, and everyone is invited to join in. 

Our local guides are discerning buyers and astute bargain hunters. They will map out a personalized shopping expedition that will save you time, money, and effort.  

Image Source: https://www.pexels.com & https://pixabay.com

Istanbul Tour Guide - Semih B.

Semih B.

5.00 / 5
(1 reviews)
Turkey

Hi there. My name is Semih. I live in İstanbul. I am professional licensed tourist guide. I would like to host my curious tourist guests as being their tour guide.                                                                                                                                  

Istanbul Tour Guide - Tunahan O.

Tunahan O.

Turkey

I am a tour guide in Istanbul. I usually do walking tours and street tours. I have a lot of routes in Istanbul                                                                                                                                 

Istanbul Tour Guide - Yasin K.

Yasin K.

Turkey

Merhaba (Hello) from a friendly Istanbulite! My name is Yasin, a licenced tour guide who is in love with his city. Istanbul is more than a regular city. It has been a melting pot of different empires, religions, languages and cultures for centuries! I've been living in this amazing city for 36 years and have about 8 years of experience as a guide. My purpose is not only to show you some historical buildings but also give you a chance to learn more about our unique history, culture-traditions, cuisine, daily life etc. I am very interested in both Roman/Eastern Roman (Byzantine) and Ottoman heritage of Istanbul, so I can offer you very specific tours that you'll always remember. I have basic information on the old/medieval Greek and can read the Ottoman Turkish. I can also understand caligraphic inscriptions easily. I believe that if you really want to feel the soul of historical buildings, you should know what those inscriptions explain to us. That's why I spent so much time to improve myself in this field. I also love photography and trying different types of healthy and traditional food. Fortunately, Istanbul gives us a great chance for them. I'll be so happy to help you with them, too! Feel free to contact me for either a full-day or a half-day tour. I can provide you a complete program or customizable itinerary. Let's explore this amazing city and unique culture together!                                                                                                                                 

Istanbul Tour Guide - Muzaffer E.

Muzaffer E.

Turkey

Welcome to Türkiye! Your passionate local guide (originally from Istanbul!) is here! It is my pleasure to customize my tours for your unique experiences according to your requests. After getting my bachelor's degree in econometrics as a valedictorian and working in finance and foreign trade sectors in Türkiye for several years, I went to the USA. When I had studied my master's in economics at George Washington University (GWU), I was offered two prestigious postgraduate scholarships by The University of Nottingham (UoN) and so, I moved to the UK. After getting my PGCert in economics from The UoN, I moved back to Istanbul and started my master's in econometrics in order to pursue a PhD. However, at the same time, I took my first steps towards my professional carreer in tourism. During my life in Washington DC, for about 4 years, I had experienced not only being a volunteer translator for Turkish delegations and international students hosted by non-profit organizations sponsored by the US government, but also being a volunteer guide of them for cultural tours including the Smithsonian Institution, the world's largest museum complex. Therefore, after moving back to Istanbul, I desired presenting Istanbul - my lovely hometown! - and Türkiye to tourists in the right way and completed the tourist guidance program at Cappadocia University as a full scholarship scholar. I also hold an associate of arts degree in cultural heritage and tourism and have been studying art history at Istanbul Medeniyet University. I have been qualified by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Republic of Türkiye, as an expert professional guide in Istanbul - Cappadocia - Ephesus, Kusadasi and on the Eastern Roman Empire - Gobekli Tepe and Upper Mesopotamia - the Seven Churches of Revelation. Looking forward to meeting you on your next trip to Türkiye. Thank you for your time and interest. All the best, Muzaffer                                                                                                                                 

Plan your trip to Istanbul

Chat with a local tour guide who can help organize your trip.

Get Started