Shopping in Istanbul is the perfect place to find unique and interesting items for every budget.

Istanbul is known as the capital of culture and fashion in Turkey. It offers various shopping experiences, from traditional to modern products. As a major metropolis, the city has almost every world brand available in its shopping malls and districts.

Shoppers of all budgets and styles will find something to love in Istanbul. Popular outdoor markets, bazaars, and workshops selling carpets, kilims, copper, and antiques provide a unique shopping experience. Designer shops, traditional shops, modern department stores, and big shopping centers are also available. Plus, there are even tattoo shops and wedding dress boutiques. All these options make shopping one of the best activities to do in the city.


The Best Places for Shopping in Istanbul


1. Grand Bazaar

shopping in istanbul

Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar has been in business since the mid-15th century and is one of the city’s top attractions for tourists. If you plan to visit, spending at least a couple of hours, there is a massive complex of bedestens (warehouses) and caravanserais connected by vault-roofed lanes is a good idea. With roughly 4,000 stores, the Grand Bazaar offers a wide range of Turkish crafts, as well as craftwork from central Asia and the Middle East.

The main thoroughfares in the bazaar are filled with shops selling cheap tourist tat, so it’s worth exploring the smaller lanes in the depths of the bedestens, where you can find specialist artisan stores and workshops. You can find items like embroidered textiles from Uzbekistan, handwoven silk shawls, and intricately inscribed metalware here. It’s a great place to get a thorough grounding of what’s available.


2. Galata

shopping in istanbul galata

Galata is the perfect destination for those looking for funky and unique gifts. You’ll find an array of items from local designers, such as handmade jewelry and crafts, retro collectibles, and fashion. The area’s cobblestone shopping streets are brimming with small boutiques and concept stores offering products inspired by traditional Turkish designs. 

Moreover, plenty of independent cafés and craft shops make it a great place to take a break and enjoy coffee and cake. For a great starting point, visitors should check out Sedar-I Ekrem Caddesi, a narrow lane full of one-of-a-kind shops.


3. Women’s Bazaar

shopping in istanbul womens bazaar

The Fatih district of Istanbul is home to the Women’s Bazaar (Kadınlar Pazarı). This street is popular among foodie travelers, as it is full of butchers, kebab restaurants, and fresh produce stalls. It is a real neighborhood hub, and most of the produce is fresh. Visitors can find local specialty cheeses, fruit, pickles, dried fruit, nuts, and olives as huge piles of vegetables in the stalls and swinging carcasses in the butcher shop windows.

Many Women’s Bazaar traders originally hail from Turkey’s southeast, reflected in the canteen-style restaurants offering southeast kebab dishes. Planning a visit to explore the market and staying on for lunch afterward is recommended. The market is conveniently located a one-kilometer walk away from Vezneciler metro station.


4. Egyptian Spice Bazaar

shopping in istanbul egyptian spice bazaar

The Egyptian Spice Bazaar, near the Eminönü ferry docks, was built in the 17th century using tax revenues from Ottoman-ruled Egypt. It is a great destination for foodie travelers who want to bring a taste of Turkey home. There are over 80 shops within the bazaar, selling a variety of spices, dried fruits, nuts, Turkish food products, dried flower and herb teas, and traditional sweet treats.

Visitors can stock up on the spices that define Turkish cuisines, such as sumac and pul biber (Aleppo pepper), purchase high-quality pomegranate molasses, and sample a variety of Turkish honey. It can get quite crowded during the peak hours of noon to late afternoon, so it is best to visit the bazaar in the morning.


5. Istiklal Caddesi

shopping in istanbul istiklal caddesi

Istiklal Caddesi is a vibrant shopping street that threads across the hill through the Beyoğlu district up to Taksim Square. It is mostly pedestrianized and is a great place to stroll while shopping. International high-street brands and fast food outlets have replaced the smaller and quirkier shopping boutiques, but it still has many interesting points of interest.

One of these is the arcade passages inside the neoclassical buildings that line sections of the road. The most famous is the Çiçek Pasaj (Flower Passage), where small shops sell shawls, colorful ceramics, and lamps. Restaurants and cafés offer atmospheric dining amid late-19th-century architecture.

Tünel Square, at the bottom of Istiklal Caddesi, is serviced by an antique tram that trundles up the street to Taksim Square.


6. Arasta Bazaar

shopping in istanbul arasta bazaar

The Arasta Bazaar is in the heart of the old city, just behind the Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmet Mosque). Originally, this arcade of shops was part of the mosque complex and would have provided revenues for the mosque. Today, the shops specialize in ceramics and textiles, appealing to the tourism trade. Compared to the Grand Bazaar, the Arasta Bazaar is more easygoing, smaller, and less crowded, making it a great place to get your shopping bearings and see what types of crafts are on offer.

The Arasta Bazaar is the number one destination for hand-painted Iznik tiles, both traditional and contemporary designs. There are several stores here displaying a full range of ceramic wares. After leaving the Arasta Bazaar properly, wander the hilly cobblestone lanes radiating out behind the bazaar. There are several high-quality textile emporiums for Turkish and Central Asian carpets, kilims, and felt work in this area.


7. Ali Muhiddin Hacı Bekir

shopping in istanbul

Visiting Istanbul is a must for any sweet tooth. The city has countless confectionary shops offering the best in Turkish delights. Amongst them is a shop that has been in business since 1777 and has even been awarded the title of Chief Confectioner to the Palace by the Ottoman sultan himself.

At this shop, you can find a variety of local flavors, including rosewater, pomegranate, and pistachio. Or, you can opt for something more special, such as cloves or chocolate-covered lokum. Furthermore, there are sugar-coated almonds and helva (tahini sweets) stuffed with pistachios available to purchase. These make the perfect gifts to bring back home for friends.


8. Kadıköy Market

shopping in istanbul

Kadıköy’s market is one of Istanbul’s top spots for local produce and operates Monday to Friday. The vibrant and buzzing commercial hub is a great place to browse and shop, offering a plethora of stalls selling fresh seafood, herbs, vegetables, and fruit, as well as shops specializing in products you can pack to take home.

Here, you can find local pickles, jams, honey, other condiments; dried fruits; and traditional Turkish confectionery. In addition, there are also shops selling soaps and skincare products made from olive oil, herbal oils, and ointments, as well as traditional hammam (Turkish bath) scrubbing brushes and exfoliating sponges.

The market is located on Istanbul’s Asian side, just behind the Kadıköy ferry terminal. To get here, the most scenic way is by ferry, though you can also catch the metro.


9. Balat

shopping in istanbul

The narrow hillside lanes of Balat have become a popular destination in recent years, known for its brightly colored buildings. On nice weekends, the alleys are filled with young locals who come to hang out.

If you’re in the mood for some shopping, Balat is the place to go. Rather than looking for something specific, it’s better to enjoy a rummage and see what you can find. The area is well-known for its antique furniture and home decoration shops, as well as its vintage fashion and accessories stores.

When you need a break from all the shopping, there are plenty of independent cafés.


10. Nışantası

shopping in istanbul

If you’re looking for chic shopping in Istanbul, head to the Nışantası district, north of Taksim Square. Here, you can find international luxury boutiques, such as Burberry and Hermes, and Turkey’s local high-class brands, like the Vakko department store. The main shopping road for luxury goods is Abdi Ipekçi Caddesi, which runs from Maçka Park up to Vali Konağı Caddesi.

Parallel to Abdi Ipekçi Caddesi, you’ll find more midrange brands such as Zara and Mango. After your shopping is done, there are plenty of cafés around to enjoy a pick-me-up coffee.


11. Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi

shopping in istanbul coffee

Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi is a must-stop for coffee fans. This is Turkey’s most popular coffee producer, and they’ve been in business since 1871. This is the perfect place to go if you want to try making a proper Turkish coffee back home. Pick up packets of Turkish coffee to take home as gifts for friends. 

If you find traditional Turkish coffee a bit too strong, they also offer a full range of ground coffees for cafetieres (French press), espresso makers, and filter coffee pots. The shop is conveniently located just behind the Egyptian Spice Market, so it’s easy to combine a visit here with your spice shopping.


12. Istinye Park

Istinye Park is one of the largest shopping malls in Istanbul, with 290 stores and 85,250 square meters of retail space. It has a wide variety of top international brands, such as Cartier, Gucci, Fendi, Dior, Louis Vuitton, and Chanel. 

The mall is home to the Grand Rotunda, which sprawls over four levels. It provides a light and spacious atmosphere. In contrast, the Bazaar has been designed with traditional Turkish architecture. There is also an IMAX cinema and a variety of family-friendly restaurants. For a unique experience, visitors can check out the animated water fountains, which combine light and music.


13. Beyazıt Book Bazaar

Located in the heart of Istanbul, the book market is a popular spot for book collectors. Squeezed between the Grand Bazaar and Beyazıt Mosque, this wriggle of alleyways is known for its rare and old titles as well as secondhand books. Its current form dates back to the mid-20th century, but the site itself has literary links that stretch much further in time, being the city’s main book-printing district during the Ottoman era.

Visitors to the market can find a wide range of books, from academic titles for local students to dictionaries, and Korans, to name a few. Unless they are interested in collectible books, they will unlikely find something to buy as most books is in Turkish. However, the market is still an interesting place to browse and explore.


14. Galata Port

shopping in istanbul galata port

In 2022, Istanbul’s newest shopping area opened in the rejuvenated Galata Port area, located on the seafront in Karaköy. This is also the city’s new cruise ship port. The renovation of this area has allowed the public to access the waterfront, including a pedestrian promenade lined with restaurants, cafés, and retail outlets that overlook the Bosphorus. Ultimately, the Galata Port waterfront promenade will be the new home of the Istanbul Modern art museum. 

At this point, many of the shops have yet to open. Still, visitors can expect a variety of fashion outlets from local designers, exclusive European fashion, accessories, and jewelry brands, and a few international brand names.


15. Sahaflar Carsisi Old Book Bazaar

Sahaflar Carsisi is an iconic second-hand book market located in Istanbul. It is nestled in a modern structure, but the area has been a literary hub since Byzantine times. During the Ottoman Empire, books, manuscripts, and papers would have been published here.

Visitors to Sahaflar Carsisi can explore the courtyard and its surrounding bookstores. The courtyard is marked by a bust of Ibrahim Muteferrika, an 18th-century diplomat and publisher. Exploring the market is a fascinating experience, offering a glimpse into the literary history of the city.


16. Tahtakale

The Egyptian Spice Market is a great place to visit for a unique shopping experience. Just west of the market, narrow lanes are filled with stalls selling a variety of traditional items such as basketry, textiles, and handmade wooden kitchenware and tableware. Additionally, these stalls offer a selection of cheap household products.

Tahtakale Caddesi, the main road through the neighborhood, is the perfect place to explore after the Spice Market. Here, one can find various items, like cushion covers, brushes, and pots and pans, which are popular among locals. Handmade wooden spoons, pestles and mortars, rolling pins, and chopping boards make excellent souvenirs. Baskets can be purchased, though one must plan how to bring them home without squashing them.


17. Punto

Punto is a carpet shop in Istanbul owned and managed by the same family for five generations. It carries a wide selection of authentic carpets and rugs, both new and antique, including pure silk Hereke rugs woven on looms at the prestigious Ozipek and Cinar workshops.

Customers visiting Punto will receive a unique shopping experience and enjoy the renowned Turkish hospitality. Staff members are knowledgeable and passionate about the art of carpet-making. They are more than happy to demonstrate the techniques used in the manufacture of carpets and explain the differentiating factors between carpets of differing quality.


18. Çukurcuma

This hillside neighborhood’s antique and vintage boutiques, just east of Istiklal Caddesi, are great for collectors and casual shoppers alike. Exploring here can yield a range of items, from late-19th-century Baroque furniture and floral-painted ceramics to paintings, vintage clothing, textiles, and old books.

Smaller items, such as quirky decorative glassware, candlesticks, and tea sets from the late Ottoman era, are also available. If you prefer a more retro style, there are also shops specializing in household and decorative goods from the first half of the 20th century.

When planning your visit, consider wearing decent walking shoes, as the steep, cobblestone lanes can be tough to traverse. With a bit of luck, you’ll find the perfect piece to take home.


19. Bağdat Caddesi

For those looking for unique gifts, retro collectibles, and handmade jewelry and crafts, Galata is the perfect destination. Located in the district of Kadıköy, this 14-kilometer-long tree-lined street is a favorite among locals and usually gets crowded on the weekends.

On the other hand, Bağdat Caddesi is the place for high-street-style shopping. You’ll find popular international fashion brands such as H&M, Zara, Marks & Spencer, Boyner, and Mavi here. To get to this shopping street, you can take the ferry to Kadıköy or the metro to Kadıköy or Bostancı.