24-hour Shopping Trip to Istanbul

New York, London and probably Buenos Aires are high on your shopping wish list. Have you ever considered adding a weekend shopping trip to Istanbul? It is high time to add Istanbul to your shopping trip because the city is the hotspot to be for antique or new hookahs, YSL shoes, Calvin Klein underwear and international fashion labels.

Hazelnuts at Egyptian Bazar
The call to prayer from the minarets mingles with merchants praising their wares in the bazars. You travel from Europe to Asia in less than five minutes. The mix of orient and occident transforms Istanbul into an exciting and unique city.

Shopping for fashion labels is big business in Istanbul. Chic department stores are a match for  those in London and New York. A trip to buzzing and booming Istanbul is a mix of old and new, fashion and culture, the place where west meets east.

08:30 Morning coffee @ Beyoglu
Idyllic inner courtyards in the Beyoglu district brim with trendy coffee bars. Bask in the morning sun while sipping a strong Turkish coffee.

09:30 Shopping @ Istiklal Cadessi
The equivalent of London's Oxford Street, this street is lined with specialized boutiques offering all sorts of designer goods. You will find Mavi Jeans, Topshop, H&M and many affordable shops.

Blue Mosque, Istanbul
12:00 Culture @ Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque
Head for the Sultanahmet district to sniff ancient culture.

14:00 Haggle @ the Egyptian Bazar
Stock up on Turkish Delight, spices and souvenirs. Browse or buy from the almost countless number of shops overflowing with sacks of spices and coloured powders whose mixed vanilla, cinnamon and cumin aromas fill the air.

16:00 Shopping @ Istinyne Park
This gigantic shopping mall is the biggest hit in Istanbul. Hugo Boss, Max Mara, Louis Vuitton, Zara, Boyner, Mango, M.A.C., Sephora, Sevil, Vakko, Dolce & Gabbana, Dior, Prada and Celine assure hours of fun shopping. Take a break in the Rainforest Café while you listen to the rush of waterfalls and tropical bird song while feasting your eyes on the lush vegetation.

18:30 Shop @ Akaretler Houses in Besiktas
Nineteenth-century gentlemen's houses are the cradle of Istanbul's fashion scene. Shop at Haremlique for Luxury Bath and Bedding, Vakko Wedding, Sevan Bicakci for Jewelry and Figen Ozdenak for women's fashion.

20:00 The Sky is the Limit @ Marmara Hotel
Five-star hotel right on Taksim Square; the spot to see and to be seen. Take in the splendid view of the Beyoglu district. Listen to the DJ and cool down in the swimming pool.

21:30 Dinner @ 360° Istanbul
Restaurant 360° Istanbul is located high above Istiklal Caddesi. The menu is a mix of east and west. Whether you try fresh fish, crispy salads, creamy soups or Turkish style eggplant, every dish is a true pleasure for the taste buds. Feast your eyes on the the night sky filled with twinkling stars.

Hookah Pipes
24:00 Smoke @ Hookah
The side streets of Istiklal Caddesi brim with authentic cafes and coffee houses. Settle down with a hookah pipe and sip apple tea from tulip-shaped glasses.

01:00 Dancing @ Club Reina
Dance to the rhythm of oriental music. Club Reina has become a celebrity hotspot for stars, such as Paris Hilton, Sting, Paul Allen, Gloria Estefan, Kevin Costner and Mike Tyson. Join them while you take in the splendid view of the glittering Bosphorus. When daybreak comes, the spell is broken. Your 24-hour shopping trip to Istanbul is over.

A one-day trip to Istanbul is much too short, three days is better and five days is best. Expedia is a great site to find competitive prices for flights and Booking has the largest choice of very affordable accommodation.

EyewitnessTop 10 Istanbul is a handy little book that fits in your coat pocket. This book provides a useful punchlist of things to see, with a short description of each. This guidebook has excellent maps which makes losing the way impossible. One of the aspects I really liked was the opening hours of sights and shops.

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