Nightlife and Shopping

Tour Details

Nightlife and Shopping

Turkey is a Mediterranean country with a lively culture of eating, drinking, and entertainment, with nightlife and eating-out possibilities to suit every preference. During the summer months, al fresco dining is the norm, particularly along the coastal areas and along the Bosphorus in Istanbul.

Turkish nightlife has traditionally centred around meyhanes, similar to taverns, where an assortment of mezes (small plates or appetizers), often followed by a meal of fish, is consumed with rounds of raki, the aniseed-flavoured national spirit. Still extremely popular with all ages, the meyhane is a social affair, where dining and drinking is often accompanied by live music played on traditional instruments.

A great way to explore Turkey’s culture is through its music. The big cities attract both well-known and up-and-coming musicians, DJs and performers from around the world and music festivals are now a popular feature of the summer months, ranging from hard rock and classical to electronic and jazz. Traditional music is also still popular in Turkey, ranging from Anatolian folk music to Turkish-style classical music to lively, Balkan-influenced “fasil” music, and experiencing it live is the most enjoyable way to hear it.

The drinking scene is as diverse as the music scene, with options ranging from low-key bars to trendy clubs featuring local as well as international DJs. In the summer, especially in the coastal areas, many of these venues are water-side and open-air, allowing revellers to party under the stars.

Istanbul is one of the world’s hottest city-break destinations, in part due to its nightlife. Many of the hip new hangouts, chic restaurants and rooftop bars are all a stones-throw from the energetic Istiklal Caddesi in Taksim and nearby Tunel, as well as many dotted along the Bosphorus; enjoy sophisticated cocktail-sipping in trendy bars to clubbing all night to global beats. In the summer, Istanbul also revels in water-side fun, with plenty of open-air entertainment against the stunning backdrop of the Istanbul skyline.

Shopping Turkey

Turkey is one of the world’s great shopping destinations. Located at a historic trade crossroads linking to the Silk Road, the country has been a shopper’s paradise for centuries, offering everything from hand-woven Turkish carpets and kilims to jewellery, antiques and Iznik ceramics, carved meerschaum and a growing number of designer brands including Mavi Jeans, Vakko and Beymen. You will also delight at the diversity of culinary shopping, including fresh fruit and vegetable markets in every city, sweet treats, nuts and spices, Turkish tea, coffee and alcoholic tipple.


Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city and the country’s cultural and business capital, offers the greatest variety; from its atmospheric bazaars to more than 135 modern shopping malls dotted around the country. The legendary Grand Bazaar (Kapali Carsi), near the historic centre of Sultanhamet, which first opened its doors to traders in 1461, is a vast labyrinth of 61 covered streets encompassing 4,400 shops selling everything from jewellery and carpets to leather and antiques – intermingled with cafes, restaurants and beautiful ancient architecture. Although bargaining is still the norm, the Grand Bazaar today is a much calmer, less-crowded environment than yesteryear as many shoppers have migrated to the modern malls and high streets around Istanbul. On Wednesdays, you may like to visit the kilim auction at the Sandal Bedestan. The nearby Egyptian Spice Bazaar (Misir Çarsisi; closed Sunday) is another favourite with shoppers for its enticing array of exotic spices, jams, dried fruits, nuts, tea, coffee and of course, lokum, or Turkish Delight, in its multitude of flavours. For handicrafts, ceramics, calligraphy and miniatures, head to the nearby Istanbul Handicrafts Center, Istanbul el Sanatlari Çarsisi – or the book bazaar for rare and interesting finds.

Istanbul also has many vibrant outdoor markets, selling an assortment of fresh food and produce, clothes and antiques. There is a flea market every Sunday in Istanbul near the Grand Bazaar, as well as the Horhor Market in Aksaray on weekends, and daily in Cihangir. There is an art, crafts and jewellery fair in Ortakoy, by the water’s-edge on Sundays – and the city’s fresh food markets are also renowned, including its fish markets and colourful fruit and vegetable stalls.

For a more modern shopping experience, Istanbul doesn’t disappoint, with designer brands, edgy boutiques and upmarket malls moving in at a remarkable pace. New developments include the ultra-sleek Istinye Park, City’s Mall in Nisantasi, the futuristic Kanyon (shaped like a canyon) in the upmarket Levent district which houses Turkey’s first Harvey Nichols. Istanbul is also host to Europe’s second biggest mall, the Cevahir after London’s Westfield. Thanks to Turkey’s strong textile sector, when it comes to clothing there is something for every budget, style and taste. Those looking for world-wide brands and fashion labels will find them in Istanbul’s upmarket malls, while also discovering some of Turkey’s home-grown talent at Turkish designer stores and boutiques.

Istanbul is also packed with interesting quarters that are great for everything from designer labels to unusual, quirky pieces. Visit Istiklal Caddesi and Galata near Taksim, a bustling promenade of boutiques, clothes, record and book shops, as well as fantastic cafes and restaurants – and hidden gems in the many passage ways that lead off the main street. Northeast of Taksim is the trendy neighbourhood of Nisantasi, where you’ll find an array of elegant boutiques and upmarket cafes.

Other Cities

Outside of Istanbul, other cities with historic bazaar areas include Izmir, known for its leather garments; Bursa, whose silk textiles are famous; and Kayseri, traditionally known for its carpets. In addition, every major city in Turkey will usually have a modern shopping mall, offering a mix of global brands and domestic labels. In smaller towns, open-air street markets are common; these popular markets are filled with vendors selling fresh produce, household goods, and, in tourist areas, craft or souvenir items.

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Turkey Tour Guide
Kucukayasofya Mh. Sultanahmet Istanbul9034122 Turkey 
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