Back in the mists of time, Istanbul was one of the world’s most important trading posts. With a heritage like that, it’s no surprise that modern Istanbul presents a broad variety of retail experiences. Whether you’re looking for an authentic Ottoman antique, luxurious spices, delicate jewellery or an ultra-modern outfit, you won’t be disappointed with shopping in Istanbul…

ISTINYE PARK

Let’s start with some state-of-the-art Istanbul shopping. Istinye Park is a megalopolis of shops with 300 stores. There are plenty of designer and exclusive fashion names here, along with an enticing Turkish food bazaar, and a traditional market place if you’d like to practice your haggling.

ARSAH CARPETS

You’ve got to at least have a look at a carpet shop while you’re here. Arsah is a good place to start, with its rugs, carpets and jewellery collection. Browse the dazzling designs and discover how no two Arsah carpets are the same. That’s true handmade craft for you.

Red & Blue Route, Stop: Sultanahmet Square

THE GRAND BAZAAR

60 streets and 5,000 shops make the Grand Bazaar one of the world’s largest covered markets. People come here for the jewellery, the ceramics and, of course, the atmosphere. With hammams, cafés and restaurants all on site too, you really could spend all day here.

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Red & Blue Route, Stop: Egyptian Spice Bazaar

THE SPICE BAZAAR

From spices to sweets, and not forgeting Turkish delight, the Spice Bazaar sells a bewildering array of food and souvenirs. There are over 80 shops here in the covered walkway, which buzzes with activity. In between all the exotic smells and energetic sales talk, take some time out and grab a Turkish coffee.

Red & Blue Route, Stop: Egyptian Spice Bazaar

NR. 39

Turkish cobblers are well known for their craftsmanship. And if you’d like to walk away with a pair of tailor-made shoes while you’re in town, then Nr. 39 could be worth a visit. Get yourself measured up for a pair of custom-fit shoes or select something off the shelf.

Red Route, Stop: W Hotel

PARISTEXAS

If names like Vivienne Westwood aren’t exclusive enough for you, PARISTEXAS stocks lines from famous designers originally made for the Eastern markets. So, you could go home sporting a creation that other fashionistas have little hope of finding.

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Red Route, Stop: Tophane

ZORLU CENTER

Malls are springing up all over Istanbul, and Zorlu is one of the newest. This vast complex mixes the indoor and the outdoor as stores seem to spill out onto the walkways. Glamorous designs extend to the food outlets, with a wide range of international gourmet brands setting up shop here.

NURUSMANIYE CADDESI

If you’re going to the Grand Bazaar, leave time to do some window shopping on the way. The pedestrianised street Nuruosmaniye Caddesi leads up to the Bazaar and is one of the best places for choosing carpets and jewellery. You’ll also find Armaggan here, a huge department store offering traditional crafts.

Red & Blue Route, Stop: Sultanahmet Square

AKMERKEZ

This shopping mall is a favourite of Istanbul’s discerning shopper. And it’s easy to see why. Akmerkez has at one time been named not only the best shopping centre in Europe, but in the world, the only mall to boast both titles. It has also won prizes for its interior design. The shopping’s top notch too.

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Shop until you drop at any of these destinations and you’re sure to be experiencing the very best of Istanbul’s commerce. When you want a break from browsing stores and haggling for hidden gems in markets, we suggest hopping on board a Big Bus for a guided tour of all the best Istanbul attractions and landmarks.