Istanbul, Turkey is the gateway to Europe and Asia. Tourists around the world visit the city to eat its eclectic cuisine, walk its ancient streets, and shop in its many malls and markets.
The Grand Bazaar, a popular tourist stop, offers a wide variety of jewelry, antiques, souvenirs, shirts, rugs, and spices. Prepare to haggle, as most of the merchants don’t list prices. Before you visit, educate yourself on the average cost of local goods. Also, look out for copycats. Some will try to sell you knock-off items at reduced prices. Check the quality and branding on clothing and electronics before you purchase them.
When shopping in Istanbul, visit the many malls that the city has to offer. Akmerkez, Capitol, Nautilus, Cavahir, Galeria, and Istinye Park are just a few of the shopping centers. On streets like Istiklal, Bagdat, and Rumeli, tourists will find handmade blankets, ceramics, and locally designed clothing. Akmerkez, one of the malls listed above, is a retail centre with 226 independent units. With over three floors of shops, they sell anything from shoes and books to electronics and cosmetics. On the top floor, visitors can eat at the food court or catch a movie at the theatre. Open 7 days a week, it’s a popular hangout for locals and tourists alike.
Markets and Nightlife
Spice shops can be found throughout Istanbul, but the best place to visit is the Egyptian Bazaar. They sell saffron, tumeric, cinnamon, dates, almonds, pine nuts, dried fruit, and much more. Turkey is known for its local wine, chocolates, and coffee. The Besiktas Fish Market is located in the middle of the Besiktas shopping area and a great place to buy fresh seafood. The fish market is surrounded by restaurants, so there are plenty of places to shop and eat. The Cicek Pazari Flower Market sells flowers, seeds, shrubs, leeches, and even ducklings.
Istanbul has plenty of grocery stores, including BIM Supermarkets. While BIM is low on price, customers complain that it’s not the best quality. When looking for gourmet ingredients, try the other shops in town. Gima and Migros other grocery stores and have several locations. Istiklal Caddesi is one of the busiest streets in Istanbul. Located near Taksim Square, its a well-known spot to drink, eat, and hangout with friends.
Ceramics and Leather
Vendors in Istanbul sell some of the finest ceramics and leather in the World. Iznik Pottery and shops like it offer ceramics that combine Ottoman and Chinese designs. You can find unique bowls, plates, pitchers, cups, and mugs throughout the city. Locals also sell leather, which you can buy for an affordable price. Before you visit, read the reviews. Chances are, without too much work, you can find genuine leather for a much cheaper price than you would in the United States.
Editor’s Note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about Istanbul.