When thinking of shopping in Istanbul, the picture that comes to one’s mind is that of the famous Grand Bazaar. By walking in it and looking at the great variety of merchandise, you will figure out one thing: Istanbul is one of the rare places in the world where you can buy almost anything like carpets, beautiful and coloured scarfs, silver and gold jewelries, genuine leather clothes at a very convenient price. Istanbul is not Milan for sure. Of course, this is only one benefit of shopping in Istanbul, the other one is that you can bargain for everything in order to get the fair price. Sounds good, right?
Grand Bazaar is located in Beyazit and is one of Istanbul’s greatest tourist attractions. You will find there new and antique jewellery, textiles and embroidery, colourful cashmir scarfs, leather clothes and many more. You can’t miss the Spice Bazaar in Eminonu, which is nearby the Grand Bazaar and it’s worth a special visit. It smells marvelous, and looks marvelous too, with olives of all kinds, dried fruits and nuts, herbs and bags full of bright-coloured spices and various sweets.
There are large shopping malls in Istanbul’s suburbs, such as Galleria in Atakoy (between the city centre and Istanbul Ataturk International Airport), Akmerkez in Etiler and Kankyon in the Levent district.
Sultanahmet, Istanbul’s famous tourist area, is filled with shops selling authentic antiques and handcrafts. These, however, are outnumbered by an even bigger number of establishments selling cheap imitations. More reliable antique dealers can be found along Turnacibasi Sokak on Istiklal Caddesi. Brand names such as Gucci, Armani and Hugo Boss can be found in the Nisantasi district.
Opening hours for shops in Istanbul are Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. In summer, many shops, especially those in tourist areas, remain open until around 9 p.m.