Shopping in Istanbul - All you need to know

Where, When & What to shop in Istanbul?

Read our tips on Istanbul’s most interesting shopping streets, historical bazaars, markets and shopping malls!

Shopping in Istanbul, the Shoppers Paradise!

Whether you are looking for the historic Grand Bazaar, upscale shopping streets or malls, international brands and their luxurious branches, bridal fashion, gold, silver, stylish leather, textile goods, antiques, hand-woven carpets, haute couture, the latest fashion, or just a pair of jeans, shoes, sportswear or noble spices and souvenirs, tasty delicacies and heavenly sweets... Istanbul has it all!

And best of all, it is cheap and you can get a Tax Refund!

Find below a complete guide of Shopping in Istanbul. Read all the important details to shop efficiently in Istanbul, and collect our selected address for best items to buy in Istanbul.

Your Personal Shopping Guide

by Pelin YILDIZ

Hi, I am Pelin Yıldız. I am from Paris and I love shopping in Istanbul! Let me show you the best places for shopping in Istanbul!

In this insider guide, I'll share with you my favorite shopping areas, stores, and my app for a perfect shopping day in Istanbul! Plus, if you use my name, you'll get a discount of up to 10% at many places around the Grand Bazaar!

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me anytime

1. Where to Shop in Istanbul ?

Shopping at the Grand Bazaar

With over 4.000 shops the world largest shopping mall

Built in 1461, covering an area of about 45,000 m², the Grand Bazaar is with over 91 million visitors the most visited tourist attraction in the world.

Part of the historic peninsula, a UNESCO world heritage site since 1985, the Grand Bazaar has 10 gates through which you can enter from all directions. The main entrance is the Beyazit gate, just across Beyazit tram station. (Add Google Map link Ekle)

In Turkish, the Grand Bazaar is called covered bazaar (Kapalı Çarşı).

Here you will make a shopping experience of a very special kind. You will feel the Orient close up and find everything you can imagine.

In this labyrinth of wide and narrow streets, you can spend hours without realizing how time flies. The unique atmosphere captivates you and sometimes you feel like getting lost in the dense crowd.

And if you want to take a break, there are restaurants and takeaways everywhere that offer delicious food or snacks and cold or hot drinks.

Inside Grand Bazaar:

Inside the Grand Bazaar you will find a variety of goods, such as hand-woven carpets, perfect imitations, gold, silver, stylish leather, souvenirs, textile goods and much more!

Opening Hours of the Grand Bazaar Istanbul:

Open daily from 8.30 to 19.00, except Sundays and the first day of religious holidays.

4 of my favorite shops to discover in Grand Bazaar Istanbul:

  1. 1
    Pronto Shoes! You can never have too many shoes! If you can relate to that, then I recommend you to visit Pronto Shoes. It is a paradise for shoe lovers! There is no other shop in town offering such a wide selection of shoes. So if you are looking for your new favorite shoe, this is the place to go!
  2. 2
    Mustafa’s Textile Shop: If you're looking for a perfectly fitting jeans, head to Mustafa’s Textile Shop. It is the ultimate shop for jeans, shirts and jackets. In my opinion, this is the best place to buy jeans in Istanbul. Be sure to check out the huge collection and take 
  3. 3
    Omer Accessories Shop: I stumbled upon this store while strolling through the bustling streets of Istanbul. Ever since, Omer Accessories Shop has been one of my favorite stores at the Grand Bazaar. It has three floors chocked full of fashionable accessories. You can find bags, purses, belts, shoes and suitcases at discounted prices. So if you want to add the perfect finishing touches to your look, this is the place to buy accessories!
  4. 4
    Haluk Shop: Another shopping favorite of mine that you shouldn’t miss is Haluk Shop. You can expect a whopping 5 floors of haute couture and the latest fashion on women’s and men’s clothing! With so much to choose from, it's almost impossible not to find a new treasure for your closet…

Get 10% discount in these shops by saying by name Pelin YILDIZ.

Shopping at Taksim Istiklal Street

H&M, Mango, Nike, Adidas, Levis, Mavi Jeans and more…

Istiklal Street is the most famous shopping street in Istanbul. But it is also known for its vibrant street life, street food, nightlife, bars and restaurants.
Istiklal Street starts at
Tünel Meydani, the second oldest metro in the world, and ends at Taksim Square. I recommend you to start at either point and explore Istiklal Street on foot (about 1.5 km from one end to the other). 

You will find stores of international chains on Istiklal Street, but also local textile giants like FLO and LC Waikiki.

Feel free to combine shopping with sightseeing, because around Istiklal Street you will find sights like the Galata Tower and the Dervish Mevlevi Museum, as well as churches, synagogues and mosques rich in history. Read our Guide for Places of Worship in Istanbul.

As you shop here, you'll follow in the footsteps of the Italian, Greek, Jewish, Austrian, Russian, and German cosmopolitan cultures that once resided in these neighborhoods. At the same time, you can marvel at this colorful, European-style shopping street and admire its neoclassical and Art Nouveau architecture.

Opening Hours & Notes about Taksim Istiklal Street:

Open daily between 10:00 and 21:00, including Sundays and public holidays.
Unlike the Grand Bazaar, most stores here only accept Turkish Lira, and you can pay with all major credit cards.

My secret advice for you:

Compared to other European cities and the USA, these international shops are less expensive.
If you like to discover the cultural heritages at Istiklal Street, join the Galata & Taksim Walking Tour! Give my name and pay only 7 € instead of 10 €.

Shopping Malls in Istanbul

No other city in the world has so many shopping malls

In recent years, a boom of shopping malls has broken out in Istanbul. Not a year goes by without a new Istanbul shopping mall opening its doors in any neighborhood, and there's no end in sight. By the way, shopping center in Turkish is called alış veriş merkezi, or AVM for short. You'll discover this shortcut anywhere in the city.

All shopping malls are state of the art, many are enormous. The largest shopping center has 350 stores. Extensive entertainment facilities are integrated in some malls, for example Sea Life, Legoland, KidZania, Kidzmondo or Moipark, just to name a few. If you wish, you can spend an entire day in an Istanbul shopping mall with the whole family, combining shopping with fun and entertainment.

Inside the shopping malls you can find international and local brands.

Out of the 200 shopping malls in Istanbul I can recommend you the following 9, as they are centrally located in the city center and easy to reach.

Opening Hours of Shopping Malls in Istanbul:

Open daily from 10:00 to 22:00, even on Sundays and public holidays

The 9 Best  Shopping Malls of Istanbul to know

1. Akmerkez

Akmerkez Shopping Center was opened in 1993 and is one of the first modern shopping malls in the city. A total of 132 stores welcome you on seven floors. There are 22 fast food restaurants and cafes to satisfy your appetite. Entertainment is provided by Cinema Pink.

Akmerkez Official Website

2. Cevahir

This shopping center was built in 2005 and is already one of the older malls. It is very centrally located in the district of Şişli, about 4 km from Taksim and has 222 shops. Hungry guests will find 52 (fast food) restaurants and cafes. FunLab offer fun and entertainment.

Cevahir Official Website

3. Isfanbul

Isfanbul (formerly Vialand) has 106 shops. 35 (fast food) restaurants and cafes offer dining options to guests. This shopping center is a popular destination for many families with children. The large theme park inside (open Friday to Monday, 10 to 6 pm), guarantees lots of fun and entertainment.

Isfanbul Official Website

4. Istinye Park

The second largest shopping center in the city attracts its guests with many luxury shops of world-famous brands such as Armani, Chanel, Dior and many more. In total, there are 240 stores on four floors. There are 49 (fast food) restaurants and cafes where you can eat and drink something.

Istinye Park Official Website

5. Kanyon

Kanyon Shopping Mall has 160 stores. Entertainment for young and old is provided by a theater and cinema complex. Those who get hungry from all the shopping can choose from one of the 42 (fast food) restaurants and cafes.

Kanyon Official Website

6. Özdilek Park

Özdilek Park shopping center has 123 stores and 33 fast food restaurants and cafés on five floors. Leisure fun is offered by the entertainment park Joker Land, the game world Game Factory and the Cinetime movies.

Özdilek Park Official Website

7. Trump Istanbul

Trump Istanbul shopping center has 72 shops and 43 (fast food) restaurants and cafés on five floors.  The mall is popular with families with children, as it has the Kidzmondo Indoor Games Paradise, the Fun Master Fun World, the Cinemaximum movies, theater and bowling.

Trump Istanbul Website

8. Vadistanbul

Vadistanbul has 167 shops as well as 55 (fast food) restaurants and cafés.

Cinamaximum, Jolly Joker Game Center and Magic World offer leisure fun.

Vadistanbul Official Website

9. Zorlu Center

In addition to 161 stores, the Zorlu Center Shopping Center has 51 fast food restaurants and cafés on five floors. The integrated Peformance Arts Center features live music, musicals, theater and a children's theater.

Zorlu Center Official Website

2. What to shop in Istanbul?

Shopping in Istanbul

Here is a list of the best items to consider buying when you are in Istanbul. They are cheaper and better quality. Don't consider buying electronics, they are not that interesting to buy in Turkey. However, you can bring your broken electronics for fixing. The electronic fixing shops repair your phones and other devises at a very good prices.

Things you should consider buying in Istanbul

  • Luxury Shopping
  • Bridal Shopping
  • Outlet Shopping
  • Jewellery & Gold
  • Carpets and fabrics
  • Antique items
  • Leather Accessories and Clothings
  • Souvenirs

3. How the Tax Refund works at the Istanbul airport?

If you have no residence permit in Turkey, you can require a tax-free-invoice for your purchase of minimum 100 TL + VAT to obtain VAT return.

Tax Free Approval Offices are located at the International Departure Terminals of the Istanbul and Sabiha Gökçen Airports.

How to claim your Tax Refund:

Tax Free procedures are time-taking processes. Therefore, please arrive at the airport right on time.

  1. First of all, you have to go with the product and invoice to the Tax Free Approval Office to get a customs approval (clearance stamp). 
  2. After the approval process, the relative tax (particular amount of VAT of the product) will be paid as TL, EURO or USD from the Tax Return Office according to the type of the tax-free-invoice.
  3. If you carry the product in your suitcase, you have to give your suitcase to the luggage delivery.

Important: Do not forget to fill out the tax refund form in the shop!

4. How to combine sightseeing with shopping in Istanbul

Istanbul is a metropolis with more than 15 million inhabitants. The shopping streets, neighborhoods and shopping centers are spread across the city. Since there are also purely tourist areas in Istanbul, we have put together the most popular ones for you. This makes it easy to combine a visit to the most important sights with a short break for a shopping spree.

Examples for this are the Galata Tower, within walking distance of Istiklal Caddesi and the side streets, and the oldest shopping center, the Grand Bazaar with the Blue Mosque.

In addition to the bazaars, there are a large number of colorful local weekly markets in the various neighborhoods that should not be missed. There are, for example, fruit and vegetable markets, fish markets, organic markets, textiles and housewares, flea markets, second hand and antiques.

Places to go shopping near sights

  • Istiklal Caddesi: Its central location makes Istanbul's most important shopping street the best place for shopping during a city trip. Those who are looking for alternatives to international brand stores can stroll through the side streets.
  • Grand Bazaar: The Grand Bazaar is one of the city's most important sights. Since the middle of the 15th century, it has been the most famous bazaar in Istanbul and a shopping paradise par excellence. It is a labyrinth of picturesque alleyways with all the splendor of oriental carpets, leather and silk goods, fabrics, antiques, gold and silver, spread over a covered area of 45,000 square meters. This makes it the ideal place for shopping in a mall, especially during rainy days, and it is close to the main attractions in the center of Istanbul.
  • Weekly markets: Get to know the nice-smelling markets of Istanbul! The markets that you should definitely visit if you are looking for delicious Turkish specialties or fashion bargains include Çarşamba Pazarı, the largest and at the same time oldest market in Istanbul in the Fatih district, and Kadıköy Pazarı on the Asian side. There are numerous different markets in Istanbul where you can haggle every week. 

Plan your trip to Istanbul with experts

Let us help you design your trip to Istanbul according to your unique situation and desires. With our experience of 25 years and our network, we will get you the best prices for hotels and activities.

Istanbul Shopping FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

WHAT ARE THE OPENING HOURS OF MOUST stores IN ISTANBUL?

Stores in Istanbul are open between 7:00 and 22:00. Supermarkets open earlier and close later. Shopping malls and fashion retailers / boutiques often don't open until 9:00 or 10:00. It is best to take a look at the exact opening times of the shops on the Internet.

What is the main shopping street in Istanbul?

The main shopping street in Istanbul is the famous Istiklal Street. You will find there stores of international chains, but also local textile giants like FLO, LC Waikiki and many more. In addition to shopping, Istiklal Street offers a vibrant nightlife, street food, many bars and restaurants, as well as architecture and sightseeing. Other popular shopping streets in Istanbul are Bağdat Street, Nispetiye Street and Abdi İpekçi Street.

ARE Stores OPEN ON WEEKENDS?

Stores in Istanbul are generally open from Monday to Saturday, sometimes also on Sundays.

How many shopping malls are there in Istanbul?

Due to the boom of shopping malls in recent years, there are now more than 200 shopping malls in Istanbul. It is safe to assume that many more will be built in the next few years.

CAN I USE MY DEBIT CARD ANYWHERE IN ISTANBUL?

Chain supermarkets, shopping centers and stores always accept debit or credit cards. In restaurants and small cafes, card payment is common. The acceptance of card payments varies in markets and bazaars, depending on the size of the market. Card payments are being accepted in more and more taxis. Nevertheless, we recommend asking beforehand whether payment by card is accepted.

Can I pay with Euro and USD or credit card?

This depends on where you go shopping. In the Grand Bazaar, USD and Euro are accepted almost everywhere. However, in the shopping centers, boutiques and stores you can usually only pay in Turkish Lira. Credit card is widely used in Turkey and is therefore accepted almost everywhere. 

ARE THERE ALTERNATIVE NEIGHBORHOODS WITH INDIVIDUAL FASHION?

Çukurcuma, Galata, Galatasaray and Nişantaşı are the typical alternative neighborhoods on the European side of Istanbul. The alternative district of Istanbul’s Asian side is the Kadıköy district with its neighborhoods Moda and Cadde Bostan. Often you can also find small boutiques with individual fashion in the side streets of Istanbul.

Is Istanbul / Turkey cheap for shopping?

Compared to other European cities and the USA, the international stores that you will find in on the Istiklal Street or Shopping malls are less expensive. When compared, you can also buy luxury products at relatively low prices in Istanbul. This applies even to original products imported from other countries. The reason for this is that the consumption index in Istanbul is high, resulting in deals with cheaper prices than in other cities.

What is Istanbul most famous for?

Istanbul is best known for its unique blend of oriental exoticism and western modernity. Thanks to more than 2500 years of history, you can find the historical heritage of three great empires all over Istanbul, reflected in the fascinating culture and traditions. Among the top ten sights are the Hagia Sophia, the Topkapi Palace, the Grand Bazaar and the Blue Mosque. But the city impresses also with its vibrant nightlifeamazing shopping opportunities and unique experiences, such as a scenic Bosphorus Cruise or a Whirling Dervish Show. Don’t miss to try the tasty flavors of Turkish cuisine as well as the variety of street food in Istanbul!

What are the main shopping areas in Istanbul?

The main shopping area is definitely the Grand Bazaar with over 4000 shops and a huge selection of all kinds of goods. You can find international brands in the numerous shopping malls. The Spice Bazaar is the best place to buy souvenirs and spices. Famous shopping miles are the lively Istiklal Street and the 14 km long Bağdat Street. If you are looking for classical handicrafts, visit Arasta Bazaar. Take a stroll through the neighborhood of Çukurcuma, where you can find antique stores, retro and vintage shops. The exclusive boutiques and luxury stores with designer brands of Nişantaşı are great for high end shopping in Istanbul.

Can I shop tax-free in Turkey?

If you have no residence permit in Turkey, you can require a tax-free-invoice for your purchase of minimum 100 TL + VAT to obtain VAT return.

Which is the biggest shopping mall in Istanbul?

With 495,000 square meters of construction area, 176,245 square meters of shopping space and a total of 286 brands, Forum Istanbul is the largest shopping center in Istanbul. 

Are shops open on Sunday in Istanbul?

Yes, in Istanbul and in Turkey in general, stores are open on Sundays. You can visit the malls and stores as usual. Only exception: the Grand Bazaar is closed on Sundays.


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