When it comes to fashion, food, and culture, Nişantaşı is where you will find the best of the best. The ultimate shopping district of Istanbul combines luxury and authenticity, offering you a great sample of both the typical European atmosphere and a neighborhood-type feeling. Save a day on your calendar for this fascinating, classy area and read our guide to enjoy it to the fullest.
Explore the Past
Literally meaning “marking stone,” Nişantaşı used to be filled with target stones, erected to mark the archery range records of the Ottoman archers and sultans. Discover the small obelisks on the pavements and take a look at the Turkish inscriptions giving information about the date, the shooter, and the distance the arrow went for an insight in the area’s past.
Each morning, the side streets are crowded due to the charming cafes they host. Whether you want to take a sip of espresso at one of the coffee chains or you need something more specialized, stop by one of the hippest cafés to be found in the city. Be aware that since celebrities frequent here, it is not uncommon to come across several paparazzi or expensive sports cars.
Do Some Shopping Therapy
As soon as you arrive, you will notice that the streets are actually lines with several famous designer label stores. Ranging from Prada, Roberto Cavalli, Louis Vuitton, Salvatore Ferragamo, Gucci, Emporio Armani, Zara, Marks and Spencers, and H&M, you can find a variety of fashionable clothing for every budget. Still, shops owned by Turkish top designers are worth a visit. For a complete experience, do not forget to stop by Beymen, the local shopping Mecca which carries world-class brands as well as its own collections.
Buy Something Different
Nişantaşi isn’t just about clothing. If you take a closer look, you will realize that you can find anything from rare art books, unique perfumes, and beautiful jewelry to amazing spices and excellent wines.
Enjoy a Meal
There is nothing better than a great meal after a shopping frenzy. Luckily, the area is one of the best food destinations in the whole city. Since the majority of restaurants seem to offer international fare, you can try Chinese, Mexican, French, or Italian food. Yet, for a classy authentic Turkish dinner or casual brunch, a walk around will surely reveal a few amazing spots.
Take Time for Dessert
Top off your delicious meal with a mouthwatering dessert. Try a cake or a croissant at one of the cozy patisseries, and if you prefer something local, a piece of baklava will never disappoint you. Do not miss Godiva Chocolatier, a well-known chain with some of the most heavenly chocolates in Istanbul.
Visit an Art Gallery
As you walk around the area, you will notice some of the best galleries you can find in the city. Enter one or more of them to enjoy some outstanding works of art.
Visit Teşvikiye Mosque
Designed by Balyan brothers, Teşvikiye Mosque has a unique Neo-baroque style. Often used as the starting point of funerals for famous personalities, what makes it so unique are probably the huge white columns standing in front of the building. Take a break to visit it, and why not explore the rest of Şişli while you’re at it?
Take a Stroll
Even if you don’t want to go shopping, Nişantaşı has some of the best city streets with well-maintained sidewalks. Take a stroll, learn about the exciting story behind each elegant building, watch people as they pass by and feel Turkey’s unique charm.
Return at Christmas Time
The Christmas season is probably the ideal to visit the area. It’s when all the main streets are lit up and boutiques are decorated in the most creative ways and serve mulled wine. Join the huge street party, enjoy the festivities, and attend one or more of the frequent concerts and light shows.
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