Istanbul is a beautiful and diverse city. Everyone will find something for their taste here. From big fashion streets to small local stores (guess what I preferred 😉 ) if you go shopping in Istanbul, it’s easy to get lost! So, where to go Shopping in Istanbul?
What to expect, where to go, what are the prices? When it’s your first time here, you can’t possibly know that. Luckily, I spoke to some friends who live here and gathered a great list of tips for you! Of course, I tried them all out when I went there last time. Here we go, there’s my list. If you know of any other place, please comment, share it with me via my Instagram or e-mail, I am happy to keep this post updated.
The Grand Bazaar
You will hear a LOT about the Grand Bazaar before going to Istanbul. People will explain to you how you need to huggle, how it is an authentic experience, and that this is totally normal. Even some locals will try to convince you that Grand Bazaar is the typical Istanbul.
What a load of crap. Historically the Grand Bazaar was the center of trade, so the building is definitely worth the visit. It is quite big, so make some time to walk around. But if you are asking me, do not shop there! When I entered, I directly felt how much this place relies on tourists. Everything is new and shiny, everyone invites you to their shops, there are no prices on display, what so ever. While it’s a beautiful and interesting place, the shopping there is definitely not recommended. There are many, many, maaany places in Istanbul when you will get the same products for 1/4 of the price in the Grand Bazaar.
Surprisingly the little shops around the Sultanahmet neighborhood have very good prices. It’s the most touristy area of Istanbul, so you will have a large choice of souvenirs, scarfs, spices and sweets. Even the shops at the entrance to the Blue Mosque were quite affordable. It’s definitely better than the Grand Bazaar ( and, unsurprisingly, everywhere you go, the prices are displayed upfront).
This is a real shopping mecca! The main shopping street in the center. You will find everything you need around here. From luxurious boutiques and rooftop bars to large shopping bazaars hidden behind small “hole in the wall” passages. Look for those little “streets” leading to typical, local, shops. There is one right next to the Midpoint Cafe, but there is a lot of them along this street. You know those souvenir bracelets that cost 40 TL in the Grand Bazaar? You can get them for 10 TL here and even cheaper in the next place.
Definitely my favorite place for shopping in Istanbul! First of all, it’s on the Asian side of the city, so it’s worth a visit. It’s very modern and hipster, with great bars and restaurants around. Second of all, there are no tourists. And no tourists equal no tourist prices. The same bracelet is 5 TL here. Furthermore, the Turkish delight is authentic, delicious, and cheap and the fresh spices, right out of the local market are divine. There is also a fish market every morning, which menas that all the restaurants around sell the freshest fish in town. Yum!
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