Instead of my annual trip to London to see one of my best friend’s from college Lisa we decided to try somewhere new. We were debating between skiing in Switzerland, Istanbul, and Morocco. We narrowed it down to Istanbul and the planning began. Upon arriving to Istanbul we both realized we didn’t know much about Turkey except what the Eyewitness Guide book told us. There were a lot of beautiful mosques and palaces to see as well as a lot of culture to experience. Below is where I suggest you visit during a visit to Istanbul. We spent 4 nights and 4 days there which was the perfect amount of time. If you only have 3 nights and 3 days you can squeeze in the must-sees and get a great taste of Turkey.
Cute shopping right outside the W Hotel: Includes Lanvin, Marc Jacobs stores among other on the same street as the W. How perfect is that if you’re like me who stayed at the fabulous W, Istanbul Turkey.
The Grand Bazaar – This is exactly what it sounds like a huge/grand shopping bazaar. It’s definitely a tourist trap but is a must do on a visit to Istanbul. Note it’s closed on Sunday. Bring cash (best for negotiating), wear clothes you don’t care too much about and get ready to shop. There is anything from silk pillows, carpets, jewelry, leather coats, leather throws, Turkish plates to any other tourist souvenir you’d want. We found an amazing jewelry store with the nicest guy and great well priced jewelry.
Grand Bazaar exterior entrance
The gorgeous architecture on the interior
Spice Market – This is pretty close to the Grand Bazaar so it should be done before/after the Bazaar. Here you will find spices (come with a list of spices you want since there are a ton and the selections can be overwhelming). I also found some great Turkish Delight which is Lisa’s favorite Turkish sweet so we both bought that.
The J.S.F. and Lisa shopping with our favorite Spice vendor
Great Shopping Neighborhood right near the Galata Tower – We found a great article in a Magazine noting a great new shopping neighborhood with cool vintage stores. With both Lisa and I being big shoppers we of course wanted to check this area out. It was a bit hard to find but after crossing the Golden Horn waterway and entering Galata area we hiked up a big hill and in a tucked away corner found this great shopping hideaway. A few of the favorites we found included:
The charming street with fabulous shopping
The “Fashion District” – Great shopping area with high-end designer stores such as Louis Vuitton, Prada, Cartier, Hermes, Tiffany, Gucci….. This was very close to the W Hotel, also where the Park Hyatt hotel is and other nice restaurants.