Shopping in Istanbul - 10 Must-visit Street Markets & Bazaars

Istanbul can be considered the shopping hub of Turkey with its endless number of outdoor markets, shopping malls and bazaars selling everything from carpets to spices and jewellery. While there are many big A-list shopping malls in the area, the true experience comes from visiting the street markets that sell quality local products and some major imports. Exploring Istiklal, Cukurcuma, Serdar-I Ekrem streets, among many other popular places, will expose you to the vibrant shopping scene in the city with easy access to quality gold and silver jewellery, traditional ceramics, ancient texts, ornamental lamps as well as an aroma of spices and Turkish delights when it comes to food.   

Here’s a list of some of the best places for shopping in Istanbul:

1. Grand Bazaar

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The most famous and largest street bazaar of Istanbul, Grand Bazaar has roughly 4000 shops selling various local products. It is a colourful market with warehouses and caravanserais connected with vault roofs. The most popular items people purchase here are high-quality Turkish and Persian hand-woven carpets, handcrafted gold jewellery and embroidered textiles. Visitors can find all sorts of household necessities in the market, the most notable Turkish peculiarity being ceramic mugs, plates, bowls, ashtrays and vases. Beautiful ornamental Turkish lamps,  Kilim rugs, traditional soaps and various local spices are some of the different things one can be sure to find here. 
Tip: Visit artisan stores and workshops to get a deeper understanding of the craft  and be ready to bargain at every shop. 
Address: Beyazıt, Kalpakçılar Cd. No:22, 34126 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Timings: Open daily from 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM 

2. Egyptian Spice Bazaar 

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Also known as Misir Carsisi or just the Spice Bazaar, you will know you have reached the right place from miles away from the rich aroma generated by the spice stalls in the market. A food lover’s haven, there are over 80 shops selling spices, nuts, dried fruits and herbal teas. The famous rose-flavoured Turkish delight, lokum, is a must-try item.  You will find some of the best saffron, cinnamon and dates here. Apart from everything food, certain cosmetics such as henna powder, gardening and hardware equipment and fish tank supplies can also be found in the market.  
Tip: Compare the rates between shops before buying anything and visit early in the morning to avoid the afternoon crowd. 
Address:  Rüstem Paşa, Erzak Ambarı Sok. No:92, 34116 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Timings: Monday- Saturday: 8:00 AM - 7:00 PM; Sunday: 9:30 AM - 7:00 PM 

3. Arasta Bazaar 

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An open-air market next to the Blue Mosque, Arasta Bazaar is a great place to visit for ceramics and textiles, especially if you are looking for a less crowded and happening place than the Grand Bazaar while not compromising on the shopping experience by any means. Turkish and Central Asian carpets, gold jewellery with rare gems, raw platinum, and other handcrafted treasures are the heart of this market. It is a great place for tourists to buy affordable souvenirs and gifts.
Address: Sultan Ahmet, Mimar Mehmet Ağa Cd. No:2, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Timings: Open daily from 9:00 AM - 7:00 PM 

4. Book Bazaar 

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Every book lover’s fantasy, Book Bazaar or Sahaflar Carsisi, is the ultimate shopping destination for bookaholics. You can find everything books from old manuscripts to new publications, historical maps and secondhand editions at a much lower price. 
Tip: Buy stamps and gold coins as souvenirs. 
Address: Mollafenari, No:, Medrese Çk. No:4, 34120 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Timings: Monday- Saturday: 7:30 AM - 7:00 PM 

5. Çukurcuma

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Tourists often want to explore the cultural side of Istanbul even when shopping, and Çukurcuma gives the perfect opportunity to indulge in said exploration. It is a bustling neighbourhood with many shops and restaurants on the streets. A shopping place rich in antique items, you can find Ottoman-era glassware and candlesticks, late 19th-century Baroque furniture, lanterns, and hookahs. Home and decor items from the early 20th century are also widely available here. 

6. Serdar-i Ekrem- Galata   

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Serdar-i Ekrem, near the Galata Tower, is a hub of independent boutiques amidst beautiful cobblestone streets. Check out Civan for tailoring, Lunapark for souvenirs, Analog Kültür for vinyl covers and Cafe Mavra for herbal teas and a chill atmosphere. 
Address: Serdar-ı Ekrem Cd., Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey     

7. İstiklal Caddesi

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Situated in the heart of the Beyoğlu district of Istanbul, İstiklal Caddesi has emerged as a high fashion shopping street. Where earlier one could see many small boutiques and shopping outlets, now famous brands, including Koton and LC Waikiki, art galleries, cafés, nightclubs and music stores line the pedestrian streets. The Flower Passage, where you will find numerous shops selling colourful ceramics and lamps, is worth exploring. The red tram on the busy street and the neoclassical architecture of the buildings are two other interesting points of the street that make it famous among shoppers. 
Address: İstiklal Cd., Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
Timings: Daily from 10:00 AM - 9:00 PM

8. Ortakoy Thursday Market 

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A very popular market in the Ortakoy neighbourhood, this Thursday market is famous for the wide array of fashion, textiles and cosmetics options available. More of a high society market, there are many top clothing brands that set up their shops here. 
Address: Zafer, Sarraflar Çarşısı Sk., 68400 Ortaköy/Aksaray, Turkey
Timings: 8:00 AM - 7:00 PM 

9. Kadikoy Tuesday Market 

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Widely known as Historic Tuesday Market, Kadikoy Tuesday Market is one of the most crowded weekly shopping destinations to buy anything ranging from fish, vegetables, and fruits to clothes and fabrics. 
Address: Rasimpaşa, Uzunçayır Cd., 34716 Kadıköy/İstanbul, Turkey
Timings: 7:00 AM - 10:00 PM 

10. Fatih Women’s Bazaar

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With affordable fresh food products and several restaurants nearby to grab a quick bite, the Women’s Bazaar in the Fatih district is a favourite spot among foodies. Widely known for products such as honey, dried fruits and nuts, visitors can also find fresh vegetables, pickles and olives. Meat lovers will have a field day with the butcher shops selling quality pieces at reasonable prices. 
Tip: Vegetarians and people not comfortable with butcher shops should be careful while visiting the place since everything is out in the open including animal carcasses. 
Address: Itfaiye Caddesi, Fatih
Timings: 10:00 AM - 8:00 PM 

Shopping Malls in Istanbul

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Shopping is definitely a very personal experience, and what may suit one shopper might not be another’s cup of tea. While the comprehensive list of street markets and bazaars in Istanbul will surely provide a more local exposure to the shopping scenario in the city, many tourists might prefer to visit mega shopping malls for a more comfortable and accessible splurge. The entertainment zones at these complexes and a great lineup of restaurants a stone’s throw away definitely make them an appealing option. Few notable shopping malls worth visiting are Forum Istanbul, Cevahir, Canyon Mall, Zorlu Centre, Istinye Park, Mall of Istanbul, Akasya, EMAAR Square Mall, Historia Shopping and Life Centre and Demiroren Istiklal Shopping Center. 

Whether you choose to visit one of the local bazaars or opt for a fancier option of a mall, Istanbul is guaranteed not to disappoint you when it comes to splurging on shopping. Not just modern brands, but the city is a great place to shop for antiques and vintage items. Check out some of these markets and shopping centres during your next visit to this beautiful city in Turkey.

This post was published by Archita Zutshi

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