Galata has become one of the coolest districts of Istanbul in recent years and offers its visitors great accommodation, entertainment and shopping options. Galata Tower, on the other hand, is located in the heart of this lively district and attracts thousands of people every day like a magnet. For this reason, there are many places for shopping around the Galata Tower.
Istanbul’s history consists of many layers. The core of Istanbul, which was the capital of the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires, consisted of two districts. One of these settlements was the Historical Peninsula (formerly Constantinople) surrounded by walls, and the other was Galata.
Galata was the port of Istanbul throughout history and goods coming from the traditional trade routes in Asia (Silk and Spice routes) were exported to Europe from here. This trade was handled by the Venetians and Genoese, who were Latin trade colonies.
In the Byzantine Constantinople, while Orthodox people lived in the Historical Peninsula, Catholics lived in Galata. In Ottoman Istanbul, while predominantly Muslims lived in the Historic Peninsula, non-Muslims interested in trade lived in Galata.
Galata’s history intertwined with commerce makes it one of the most important shopping places in Istanbul today. There are wonderful shopping streets around the Galata Tower, which is inherited from the Genoese trade colony.
In this article, I will give insider information about the shopping streets and shopping malls around the Galata Tower. In addition, you can find the main things to do in Galata, which is a cozy neighborhood, at the end of the article.
Shopping Streets near Galata Tower
The square where Galata Tower is located is known as Kuledibi in local language. Kuledibi is a lively square that is crowded with people all day long. The shopping streets near the Galata Tower extend from this square to districts such as Sishane, Cihangir and Karakoy.
In recent years, wonderful boutique hotels, stylish cafes and luxury restaurants have opened in Galata. This is also due to the fact that Galata is among the best places for AirBNB in Istanbul. This historical district also draws attention with its proximity to the Istanbul Cruise Port (Galataport).
1. Serdar-i Ekrem Street
Serdar-i Ekrem Street is home to shops selling interesting design products, new generation cafes and the Georges Hotel, one of the boutique hotels of the district.
Galata is one of the intellectual districts of Istanbul and is home to many art galleries and shops selling creative designs. Serdar-i Ekrem Street, located in the touristic center, is a good showcase for such shops.
On this street, you can find beautiful souvenirs specially designed for those who visit Istanbul. When you get tired, you can take a break at Mavra Cafe, one of the best coffee shops in Istanbul.
Serdar-i Ekrem Street is also home to Dogan Apartments, where many famous names in Istanbul live. Built at the end of the 19th century, this yellow building is a good example of the cosmopolitan Istanbul of the 1800s.
2. Buyuk Hendek Street
Buyuk Hendek Street has become a lively place with cafes opened in recent years. You can take great instagram photos with the tower in the background by walking towards the end of this street.
One of the most important features of Buyuk Hendek Street is that it hosts Neve Shalom Synagogue, the most important synagogue in Istanbul. There is also the Museum of Turkish Jews in this synagogue.
After taking the Galata Tower behind you and walking towards the end of the street, you can turn right and reach Mesrutiyet Street via Ilk Belediye Street. Mesrutiyet Street is home to the Pera Museum and the nostalgic Pera Palace Hotel.
3. Galipdede Street
Galipdede Street is a gently sloping street that connects Galata Tower to Istiklal Avenue, the most famous pedestrian road in Istanbul. Galipdede Street is also home to the Galata Mevlevi House, the museum of whirling dervishes.
If you want to buy small pictures from Istanbul to hang on the wall or magnets for the fridge, you can find original designs in the shops on Galipdede Street. Thus, Galipdede Street is the best shopping street near Galata Tower to buy souvenirs.
As you move towards the end of Galipdede Street and approach Istiklal Avenue, you will encounter many musical instrument stores. Istanbulites come here to buy musical instruments, especially guitars.
4. Istiklal Street
Istiklal Street is the ideal place to shop for clothing near the Galata Tower. You can easily reach Istiklal Street from the tower via Galip Dede Street.
There are many options for purchasing shoes, women’s clothing and men’s clothing on Istiklal Street. There are local brands as well as the shops of famous international clothing stores on the street.
However, if you want to shop like a local on Istanbul Street, I recommend you to visit the passages from the 1800s. These historical passages offer many options for buying inexpensive clothing and souvenirs.
If you want to visit Istiklal Street like an Istanbulite, you can also review the article named best shopping places in Istanbul. The first half of this article gives information about the historical passages on Istiklal Street.
5. Cukurcuma Street
Cukurcuma Street is located in Cihangir, one of the coolest districts of Istanbul. This district, where the intellectuals of the city live, is also home to the Nobel Prize-winning author Orhan Pamuk’s Museum of Innocence.
Cukurcuma Street is the best place to shop for antiques near Galata Tower. You can also take beautiful Instagram photos in the nostalgic atmosphere of the district.
To go to Cukurcuma Street, you need to take the Galata Tower behind you and proceed in the northeast direction. After going to the end of Serdar-i Ekrem Street, you can find your way through the map.
Shopping Malls near Galata Tower
There are two modern shopping centers within walking distance from the tower. Among the shopping malls close to Galata Tower, Galataport stands out with its rich options. On the other hand, Demiroren Shopping Mall, located on Istiklal Street, is also a very nice place.
1. Demiroren Shopping Mall
Demiroren Shopping Mall is located on Istiklal Street. Demiroren AVM is one of Istanbul’s medium-sized shopping centers and offers everything the average shopper would need.
After shopping at Demiroren Shopping Mall, you can do many things in its immediate surroundings. For example, Madame Tussauds Istanbul museum is located right next to the shopping center.
Galataport is a huge complex serving as Istanbul’s cruise port. There are many options for both shopping and eating here. You can reach Galataport with a 15-minute walk from the tower.
If you are looking for luxury shopping places near Galata Tower, Galataport will be the right address for you. However, it makes more sense to visit the side streets of the Karakoy district, where the cruise port is located, to buy clothing at more modest prices.
3. Cevahir Shopping Mall
Cevahir Shopping Mall is among the biggest shopping centers not only in Istanbul but also in Europe. Cevahir ranks first among the best shopping malls in Istanbul and hosts more than 200 stores.
However, Cevahir is a shopping center farther from Galata Tower than the two options above. In order go to Cevahir, you can take the Metro M2 from Taksim Square and get off at Sisli-Mecidiyekoy Stop.
Things to Do near Galata Tower
Things to do around Galata Tower include visiting Istanbul’s most famous museums and art galleries. In addition, you can take a 20-minute walk to Spice Bazaar to further your shopping experience.
1. Karakoy Square
Karakoy Square can be easily reached via Yuksek Kaldirim Street, which descends from the Galata Tower. Karakoy Square is one of the transportation centers of Istanbul and hosts tram and ferry stations.
In Karakoy Square, there are shops that sell products of famous outdoor brands such as North Face, Jack Wolfskin and Columbia at outlet prices. Among them, Atlas Outdoor, where I shop for winter clothing as an Istanbulite, draws attention.
Karakoy Square also has Murat Muhallebicisi, one of the best dessert shops in Istanbul. As you wander the side streets of Karakoy, you can discover great boutique cafes and local restaurants.
2. Spice Bazaar
Spice Bazaar can be reached with a 20-minute walk from Galata Tower. Spice Bazaar is one of the most famous historical shopping places in Istanbul and is 350 years old.
In a classic Spice Bazaar shop, you can find Turkish delight, tea leaves, local nuts, dried fruits, saffron and, of course, spices. Also, shopping in the streets surrounding Spice Bazaar is a true local experience.
3. Museum of Turkish Jews
The Museum of Turkish Jews is located in Neve Shalom, the largest synagogue in Istanbul. In the museum, the origins of the Jews who lived in Turkey for centuries and the history of Judaism are explained.
Jews always existed in Istanbul during both the Byzantine and Ottoman periods. Especially during the Ottoman period, with the addition of Sephardic Jews from Spain, the Jewish community in Istanbul grew.
Today, you can visit districts such as Galata, Ortakoy and Balat to follow the traces of the Jews in Istanbul. Neve Shalom Synagogue is located on Buyuk Hendek Street, which is the neighboring street of Galata Tower.
4. Museum of Innocence
Museum of Innocence refers to a book by Nobel Prize-winning author Orhan Pamuk. Located in Cihangir, one of the coolest districts of Istanbul, the museum takes its visitors back 50 years.
While Orhan Pamuk was writing his novel the Museum of Innocence, he was also designing the museum. For this reason, he collected nostalgic items about all the places he mentioned in the novel.
Orhan Pamuk bought a building in Cukurcuma, which is famous for the antique shops of Istanbul, and worked on its restoration for many years. The result was an award-winning museum.
5. Salt Galata
Salt Galata is located on Bankalar Street, which is very close to the Galata Tower. This street is also one of the symbols of the cultural and architectural transformation experienced in the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century.
Salt Galata is a cultural center operating in an old bank building on Banks (Bankalar) Street. The building where temporary exhibitions are held includes a permanent library and a cafe.
In this article, we reviewed the shopping options near Galata Tower. Of course, there are many streets and malls for shopping around the tower. But as you expand the circle, you can find many other unique shopping places in Istanbul.
In addition, you can walk from Galata to Karakoy and take the ferry from there and cross to the Asian side. On the Asian side, shopping experience is a must, especially in Kadikoy Fish Market. You can also review the article on shopping on the Asian Side for further information.
Written by Serhat Engul