Shopping In Turkey: A Guide To The Best Things To Buy
In many ways, Turkey is a land of excess. Whether it’s food, culture, history, or shopping, it fulfils every kind of traveller’s whim. With its enviable position of being in both Europe and Asia, it encompasses the best of both continents – making it truly unique. And when it comes to shopping, the country is a veritable delight.
No matter what’s on your shopping list, you’re guaranteed to find it in Turkey’s many malls, shops, or streets. If shopping is your vice and you’re planning to visit Turkey, you’ve just hit a goldmine. Here are our top picks to shop in from four of Turkey’s most popular cities.
The heart of Turkey, Istanbul is the biggest and most visited city in the country. If you’re planning to visit Turkey, this is probably where you’ll fly in and out from. So, it’s only fair to begin your shopping expedition from here.
Istanbul is a dream for shoppers, because you can easily find small boutique shops in every corner of the city, which offer some unique shopping – from clothing to specialized gifts – at reasonable prices.
When it comes to shopping malls (or AVMs, as the locals call them), Istanbul has no dearth of them. (Quick Tip: They’re open from 10am to 10pm.) You can choose to visit the mall closest to your hotel, as most house similar brands – both local and international.
You’ll find all your international high-street brands including H&M, Mango, Topshop and Zara as well as local ones such as Koton, Sarar, Roman, Hotiç, and LC Waikiki in the malls.
By far the largest mall in the city is the Mall of Istanbul, in the Basaksehir area, which features a whopping 350 stores as well as Moipark, Turkey’s first themed indoors amusement park.
If you’re looking for more high-end stuff, visit Akmerkez mall. Located in Etiler, a neighborhood of the Beşiktaş district, it is a favorite haunt of Istanbul’s elite and features everything from Armani to Hugo Boss.
When you’re shopping in the malls, look out for local brands Koton (for clothes), Dogo Store (for shoes), Bigg Shop (for design), and Mavi and LTB (for jeans).
While the Grand Bazaar and the Egyptian Spice Bazar are not to be missed from a unique experience point of view, they are not the cheapest places to shop. If you do buy stuff from there, however, make sure to negotiate as vendors will always give you the tourist price first.
You’ll find literally everything, from spices and food to clothes, jewellery, home décor and souvenirs here.
For bargain prices on souvenirs, walk down from Hagia Sofia towards Eminonu, where the train station is. Towards that long winding road down, you will find several souvenir shops at more reasonable prices.
If you are on a budget, do like the locals. Every neighbourhood in Turkey will have an outside bazar (called ‘pazar’ in Turkish), where vendors will come once a week to sell at much cheaper prices. This includes produce as well as clothing and other items.
In fact, some neighbourhoods have pazars, where you can find branded goods at dirt-cheap rates, although some are surplus items, some may be bootleg, and some damaged.
The Boutiques & Local Stores
If you love to shop in local boutiques, Istanbul will offer a plethora of options for you to choose from. Whether you’re looking for Turkish haute couture, cutting-edge design, or local chains, Istanbul has plenty to offer.
One of the most popular stores is Atelier 55, located on Serdar-i-Ekrem street. Pick up clothes, home décor, art, jewellery, and more from this concept store.
Gizia is known for its high fashion design and well-thought-of cuts. For men, Hatemoglu is a good spot to buy suits, shirts and ties. Lastik Pabuç, on Bagdat Caddesi, is the place to go to to buy exclusive designer footwear.
This small town may not offer a lot of shopping in terms of quantity, but certainly makes up for it in quality. While carpets and ceramics are the bestsellers here, make sure you spare some time to visit the local markets to pick up some freshly made cheese.
Whether you call them rugs, kilims, or carpets, these are one of Cappadocia’s most famous exports. A tradition that began in 400BC, each rug here takes months and even years to complete. You’ll get a far better price and variety buying it from Cappadocia rather than Istanbul, though.
Visit stores such as Gallery Cappadocia, Sultan Carpet, Cappadocia Dowry Carpet, and Kervan Carpet & Kilim (all in Goreme) to pick one up.
You’ll fall in love with the pretty ceramic pieces you’ll see all around in Cappadocia. For the best variety, though, pay a visit to Argos in Goreme, or Sultans Ceramic in Avanos.
A one-stop shop for anything you may need, Kayseri Forum offers three floors of local and international stores, a supermarket, and even a food court and cinema.
If you have the time (or the will), make sure you go to Sultan’s Charm to pick up affordable hammam products, Göreme Onyx for jewellery, and Le Palais du Urdu for pottery.
Cappadocia’s local markets such as Ürgüp (every Saturday) and Göreme offer fresh local fruits, vegetables, and cheeses to take back with you.
While Antalya has a handful of malls for those looking for international brands, most of the shopping here is done on the streets and in local bazaars.
You’re much more likely to find unique things to take back home, such as jewellery, accessories, bags, tiles, spices, and souvenirs at these places.
To get your fix of international fashion, pay a visit to TerraCity Mall, Antalya’s largest with more than 150 stores, a supermarket and 30 restaurants.
Kaleiçi Marina is another place to check out for mall-style shopping. It offers beautiful views of the sea, which you can take advantage of by sitting at one of its many cafes and restaurants.
The Streets & Local Bazaars
Experience authentic bazaars and streets in Antalya by going to the Kaleici area. Here, not only will you see cobbled streets and Ottoman-style houses but you’ll also be able to pick up everything from local souvenirs, antiques and carpets to boutique fashion and jewellery.
Go to Çağlayan Bazaarto stock up on fresh local produce; the indoor market has a mind-boggling variety. Another indoor market worth a visit is İki Kapılı Han, just north of Kaleici, where you can get handmade souvenirs sold by copper and metal craftsmen. Also pick up some gorgeous Iznik-style tiles, clothes, and spices from here.
Other street markets you could explore are the Antalya Main Bazaar, for handmade crafts and jewellery, and Laura Street Market for traditional Turkish wear, belly dancing costumes, perfumes, and fashion accessories.
The Turkish cultural capital may not be your first point of visit, but if you do end up going there you’ll be rewarded with some fine shopping experiences.
From malls offering international brands to streets selling cheap Turkish ware, you’ll find it all in Izmir. Here are our picks of the best shopping options in Izmir.
While there are a number of malls in Izmir, Forum Bornova is one of the foremost and biggest ones. Spread across 200,000 square metres, it houses everything from local and international brands to dining and entertainment options.
Balçova is one of the main districts in Izmir and has a number of malls, including Agora (known for toys, cosmetics, electronics and homeware, besides fashion); KİPA (known for Turkish brands, a furniture store and a supermarket); and Media Markt (a two-storeyed technology store offering everything from TV sets, computers and phones to vacuum cleaners and MP3 players).
Also check out Alsancak, which is also known as the Beverly Hills of Izmir and has all the fancy high-end and high street stores.
The Streets & Local Bazaars
The best shopping in Izmir is found on the streets, with markets selling locally made products that you can take back as souvenirs.
One of the most popular markets here is Kemeralti, where stalls sell clothes, jewellery, antiques, pottery, carpets, and more. Make sure you’re in the mood to haggle, though – else you may be ripped off.
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