Istanbul’s shopping malls – paradises for the modern shopper

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Istanbul’s shopping malls – paradises for the modern shopper

While Istanbul is a unique city, particularly due to its location and history, it is by no means just about history. Istanbul is also a modern and international metropolis. One example of this is the city's numerous splendid shopping malls, which are shopping paradises for trend-conscious shoppers. As we now go on to explore this luxury, you may be surprised to see how far we've come in nearly 600 years from Constantinople's Grand Bazaar, one of the world's first shopping centers – where you can still shop to this day.

Akasya

Akasya Mall on the Asian side in Istanbul.

Istanbul is one of the world’s shopping capitals, but personally, I am not an avid shopper. So, I admit that I only visit shopping malls (Alışveriş Merkezi, AVM) when a genuine need arises.

Most often, I frequent the Asian side’s Akasya Mall in the Üsküdar district (Acıbadem). It is large, yet still retains the human touch. Additionally, its architecture is charming, visually appealing, with a dash of friendly luxury.

Akasya Mall on the Asian side in Istanbul.

In this post, I have compiled small videos of various types of Istanbul’s shopping malls to provide you with a diverse overview of the city’s offerings. Of course, it’s only possible to showcase a fraction of the malls here, as there are (depending on how you count) between just under a hundred to over four hundred in Istanbul.

A shopping mall is like a whole city

In Istanbul, a shopping mall usually is a much broader complex than in my home country, Finland. Here, they are massive and multifaceted complexes, like ultra-modern luxury cities in miniature. This is why they are favored by international capital investors. This has made these complexes so luxurious and expensive that many have become beyond the reach of the average citizen.

Of course, there are also hundreds of smaller shopping centers in Istanbul, but in this post, we’ll focus on the largest and most splendid shopping paradises.

Galataport

Galataport is a relatively new port located in Karaköy on the European side, opened in 2021, with a staggering passenger capacity of 15,000 passengers per day. In addition to being a port for cruise liners, Galataport is also a cultural center and a luxurious shopping mall.

Often, these shopping malls offer high-quality “residence” apartments in skyscrapers. For temporary accommodation, you’ll find hotels, and there are also office spaces for work. Additionally, all possible services are available here so extensively that you could live within these complexes without ever having to leave. Some places even provide hospital services.

Metropol İstanbul

Metropol Istanbul is located in the Ataşehir district on the Asian side.

In addition to the traditional shopping opportunities, restaurants, cafes, and various essential services, you can find art, theaters, concert halls, cultural centers, museums, movie theaters, and nightclubs.

Furthermore, to ensure the enjoyment of you and your family, there are swimming pools, spas, water parks, aquarium centers, amusement parks, gardens, children’s playgrounds, and game arcades. And, of course, various sports facilities such as bowling alleys and gyms.

Perlavista

Perlavista is located in the Beylikdüzü district on the European side.

Often, shopping malls or their immediate vicinity also house a metro station or a Marmaray commuter train station, making transportation easy. However, this also means nerve-wracking traffic jams, so these gigantic shopping malls demand both strong legs and patience – and a lot of time.

Of course, in some malls you can avoid Istanbul’s traffic jams entirely by arriving privately by helicopter.

Children's barbershop in the Akasya Mall on the Asian side in Istanbul.

Opinions about these massive complexes can vary, but I can immediately find one admirable and noteworthy aspect. Turkish affection for children is evident even in these shopping malls, as you can see from the videos in my post and the image above: a children’s hair salon in Akasya.

Kanyon

Kanyon is located in Levent on the European side. Its architecture could be described as space-like.

Meydan İstanbul

Meydan İstanbul is located in the Ümraniye district on the Asian side. Meydan hosts one of Istanbul’s three IKEA stores.

CITY’S Nişantaşı

If you are a keen follower of fashion, head to CITY’S Nişantaşı, which, as its name suggests, is located in Nişantaşı on the European side. This area is the essential place for trend-conscious people in Istanbul, and you’ll find all the world’s clothing brands here – including all luxury brands.
The world's luxury brand Viktoria's Secret in the mall in Istanbul.
Victoria ´ s Secret

Venezia Mega Outlet

Just when you think that Istanbul can’t surprise you anymore, you find this: Venezia Mega Outlet in the Gaziosmanpaşa district on the European side.

Mall of İstanbul

Mall of Istanbul, located in the Başakşehir district on the European side, is one of the largest shopping malls in Istanbul and undoubtedly the most popular among children. Why? The answer can be found in the next video.
Europe’s largest indoor amusement park, MOİPARK, is situated within the Mall of Istanbul shopping center.

İstinye Park

If you’re in search of world-famous luxury brands, perhaps the best shopping mall today is İstinye Park, located in the Sarıyer district on the European side. In this video, you can experience Christmas shopping at İstinye Park and you will find all the world’s renowned brands e.g. Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Dior, Beymen, Cartier, Rolex, Vakko, Gucci, Fendi, Hugo Boss, Max Mara, Zara, Boyner, Mango, M.A.C., Sephora, Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, Celine…

Zorlu Center

In addition to the aforementioned İstinye Park, one of the finest luxury shopping malls is Zorlu Center. It is located in Beşiktaş district on the European side. Here, too, you’ll undoubtedly find all the world’s luxury brands. However, our family primarily comes here for delicious Italian food, and Italy is well-represented here in other ways as well.

Vadistanbul

Vadistanbul is located in the Sarıyer district on the European side, and it even has its own railway. Vadistanbul is not only a shopping mall but also a gigantic and versatile complex, where you’ll also find the hospital featured in the next video: Liv Hospital Vadistanbul.

İSTMarina

İSTMarina is located a bit further away in the Kartal district on the Asian side. It is renowned for its breathtaking views of the Princes’ Islands (Adalar), but also for its diverse selection of restaurants, live music, and vibrant nightlife. This is said to be partly due to the nearby harbor area; even today, seafarers seek relaxed fun during their leisure time.

Emaar Square Istanbul

True luxury and social prestige are represented by Emaar Square Istanbul, located in the Üsküdar  district on the Asian side. In the video, you’ll also get to know a luxurious “residence” apartment, which includes services such as weekly cleaning. From the multifaceted wall panel in the apartment’s hallway, you can even check real-time traffic situations in Istanbul. And much more…

Thank you

Now, I warmly thank you for our shared shopping journey with the video below of the Aqua Florya Mall. Aqua Florya is located on the European side in the Bakırköy district.

Aqua Florya is part of the same complex as the Istanbul Aquarium (İstanbul Akvaryum), which is the world’s largest thematic aquarium.

And while watching the video you’ll surely notice that Aqua Florya is the number one shopping mall for sea lovers like me.

More information

Every shopper surely has a different list of the best malls in Istanbul, and these also change yearly as new ones are constantly being built. However, one example list from 2023, along with more detailed information about these malls, can be found here

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