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.

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. 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 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! It is open daily from 8.30 to 19.00, except Sundays and the first day of religious holidays.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

2. What to shop 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
  • Jewelry & Gold
  • Carpets and fabrics
  • Antique items
  • Leather Accessories and Clothing
  • 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.
  • 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). 
  • 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.
  • 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!