As you’d expect for the Silk Road’s gateway between Europe and Asia, Istanbul is a great place to shop. The full range of shopping experiences can be found in the city, from old bazars to modern malls.

As an added benefit to the wide range of shopping options, foreign shoppers are eligible for Tax Free Shopping. A visitor to Turkey over the age of 18 who is staying in Turkey for less than six months can claim the sales tax back on purchases over 100 Turkish Lira (plus VAT).

The VAT rates are 8% for textiles, clothes, leather goods, carpets, shoes, bags, optics, books and food. For accessories, electronics, watches, sunglasses, cosmetics, porcelain/ceramics and homeware the rate is 18%.

The refunds are paid on all goods that leave Turkey in the traveller’s personal luggage. So don’t place the items in the hold as these have to be seen by officials.

Remember to ask the shop for a tax refund form.


Akmerkez Mall

This mall was once claimed to be the best shopping centre in the world. Nearly 250 shops are housed over its four floors. Free transport to this mall is available from some hotels and neighbourhoods.



Bağdat Caddesi

Located over in the Asian side of Istanbul, this is a 14 km long high street famous for international and local cuisine restaurants, pubs and cafes. In 2012 a Paris-based market consulting company scored it 83 out of 100, which ranked it 4th in the company’s list of top shopping streets.



The place to visit if you are into fashion. City’s also manages to blend in with the historical feel of its surroundings.



Forum Istanbul

Covering an enormous area of 495,000 sq. metres, you could play a game of ‘what isn’t on sale here’. There is even a gigantic aquarium, Turkuazoo, and an ice museum, Magic Ice. Does shopping make you hungry? Then you will be able to recharge your shopping batteries at one of the 15 cafes or 34 restaurants here.




This was the first shopping centre to open in Istanbul. It has several elite stores, restaurants, movie halls, a bowling hall and an ice skating rink.



Istinye Park

Istinye Park is spread out over 242,000 sq metres, and is made up of a variety of outdoor and glass covered indoor sections.




A district near Taksim with offerings for sophisticated shoppers (ok, it’s not really the place for bargains).


The Grand Bazaar

The Grand Bazaar is one of the largest and oldest (it is over 550 years old) covered markets in the world. Each day between 250,000 and 400,000 visitors shop amongst the 61 covered streets which are home to over 3,000 shops.

The Grand Bazaar is open every day except Sundays and bank holidays from 9:00 until 19:00.


The Spice Bazaar

This bazar is also known as the Egyptian Bazaar. It is in Eminönü and is packed with food and drink shops and stalls, and yes, this does includes Turkish delight suppliers.



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