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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Venezia Mega Outlet
Mall of İstanbul
Emaar Square Istanbul
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.
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