Shopping in Istanbul
In Istanbul you can get absolutely anything, and the vast majority of goods
are considerably cheaper than in Norway, especially since the Turkish Lira has
been devalued sharply since 2001. However, lately Turkey has worked a lot on its
currency and economic stability. You get the most value for money if you buy
clothes, textiles and leather goods.
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Many tourists have been invited to an exceptionally pleasant and compelling
carpet shop and come home with exclusive, handmade rugs worth thousands, without
ever having any plans to buy a blanket during the holidays.
Turkish raki, an anise liquor ā la Greek ouzo, is a cheap and popular
souvenir. If you are planning to bring alcohol or tobacco home from your
holiday, we can state that it is considerably cheaper to buy in the city center
than in the airport's duty free shops.
The most obvious place to go shopping, and where you can have fun at the same
time, is of course the Grand Bazaar [see picture first in article].
Bring cash and good mood! Bargain for expensive items that interest you, but you
won't be particularly popular if you bargain for fun on items you don't plan to
In Beyoglu lies the long pedestrian street Istiklal Caddesi. There
you will find everything from more exclusive, western fashion boutiques to cheap
If you are going to buy clothes, you will find most major international and
Turkish brands in their own stores in Nisantasi, which you reach by Taksim
subway. The city's largest shopping center, Akmerkz, is located in Levent, but
it is not distinctly Turkish.
The vast majority of shops are open at least twelve hours a day, starting at
10 am. 0800 or 0900 in the morning until 7 p.m. 2000 or 2100 in the evening.
Some shop owners close one hour in the afternoon to pray at the mosque.
Eating and drinking in Istanbul
Turkish cuisine is considered one of the best in the world, so take the
opportunity to visit a good restaurant every day. For what you pay, you will
hardly get an appetizer at a restaurant of similar standard in Norway.
Dinners usually consist of an appetizer (meze), a tasty, small appetizer that
can consist of anything. The country's national law is undoubtedly kebab (with
print on the last syllable) in hundreds of combinations, such as döner, cöp sis
and icebergs or köfte (meatballs).
The desserts are very sweet, like baklava in honey, ice cream or donuts with
syrup and cream. And don't forget, of course, raki, the Turkish anise liquor. It
can be enjoyed after every meal.
Istanbul's location makes seafood more common here than in the rest of the
country. You will find many excellent fish restaurants, especially along the
seafront promenades in Ortaköy.
You will always be offered a small cup of strong, sweet tea, which the Turks
drink at all times of the day. Coffee is not that prevalent except in tourist
places. Here it is often served very sweet and in small cups.
Some selected restaurants in Istanbul
One of the better and oldest restaurants in town is the family-run Ottoman
restaurant Haci Abdullah. It has been located in Sakizagaci Caddesi 17 in
Beyoglu for over 100 years and has been decorated since the turn of the last
century. Please note that alcohol is not served.
The restaurants in the old town are usually much more ordinary and touristy
than on the Taksim side, but try Konyali inside the Topkapi Palace,
which has both a glass pavilion and a terrace with glorious views towards the
Golden Horn and the Bosphorus Strait.
Rami is an Ottoman, three-storey restaurant in Sultanahmet with a
very popular rooftop terrace where dinner guests overlook the Blue Mosque. Rami
has an extensive menu and low prices. We recommend booking a table.