Forum Istanbul is Turkey’s biggest shopping mall. In fact, Forum is Europe's largest shopping mall as well. Selling Turkish and international brands, Forum Istanbul has won countrywide fame for its design and shopping choices. Indeed, when looking at modern shopping malls, expect the best of the best from Forum. Everything about the place is spectacular, from the contemporary architecture to famous brands to the wide range of kids’ entertainment options. Of course, sitting in Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey, Forum Istanbul hosts thousands of visitors every day. So, what can you expect when shopping there? Let's find out.
The Biggest Shopping Mall in Turkey
Delights of Forum Istanbul
Shopping Galore: Forum Istanbul is the largest shopping centre covering an area of 495,000 square metres in Bayrampaşa, Istanbul. The mall offers rentable space of 176,245 square metres and features 286 domestic and international brands. Enjoy popular stores like IKEA, Koçtaş, Media Markt, Teknosa, Bimeks, Intersport, Adidas, Nike, Decathlon, H&M, Boyner, YKM, Marks & Spencer, and Zara, as well as shops that sell off-season products. Also, opt for personalised experiences through fashion shops and high street brands.
Sea Life Istanbul: Forum Istanbul is not just about shopping but also exciting attractions like the Istanbul Sea Life Aquarium. Covering 8000 square metres, Sea Life Istanbul has an 83-metre underwater ocean tunnel, almost the length of a football field. This is the longest ocean tunnel in Turkey and Europe. Approximately 15 thousand marine creatures from over 500 species live in 5 million litres of water in 51 exhibition tanks. Among these, there are more than 60 sharks of 15 different species such as sand tigers, zebras and hammerheads.
Legoland: LEGOLAND offers fun and educational activities for families with children aged 3-10 in an area of 3,000 square metres within the shopping mall. 2 million pieces were used in the construction process, and 4D cinema MINILAND is the first MINILAND where all the famous landmarks of Turkey and the world are exhibited together. There is also a birthday room specially positioned for birthday celebrations and special events, themed playgrounds and local works. It is not only for children but also for adults with Adult Night events organised in different concepts.
Restaurants and Eating Out: Of course, where there is mass shopping on hand, expect an abundance of restaurants for food and drinks to break up those shopping sprees. Restaurants at Forum Istanbul range from casual fast food to go-to cafes and international coffee shops like Starbucks. The vast food range doesn't include fine dining, but for delicious food that is to go or eat fast, Forum Istanbul delivers.
Getting There from the City Center: Located at the junction of E5 and TEM highways and only 25 minutes away from Atatürk Airport, Forum Istanbul is easily accessible. If visiting by the tube, get off at the Atatürk Airport station on the Aksaray Tube Route. Change trains at the station to the Aksaray - Kirazlı Tube Route. Use the 32A or 32T numbers for buses, and get off at Kartaltepe. Otherwise, change trains for the Marmaray route to the Yenikapı - Atatürk Airport Tube Route. Car drivers should use the E6 then the E5 highway. Metrobus users should likewise use the Atatürk Airport - Yenikapı Route.
More Big Malls in Istanbul and Turkey
Ok, we understand the lure of visiting the most prominent mall. The convenience of having all those shops, restaurants and entertainment facilities all under one roof. However, Istanbul is full of shopping malls! So, suppose you cannot visit Forum Istanbul or would like another shopping bonanza spree. In that case, the following malls also earn fame for their architecture and facilities.
Istinye Park: Istinye Park in the Sariyer district is more associated with luxurious international and Turkish brands like Louis Vuitton. However, don't be fooled because the mall also accommodates budget shoppers. This is Turkey's sixth-largest mall with a central park for relaxation.
Istanbul Cevahir Mall: Arab tourists who visit Istanbul love this mall. Covering 103,000 square metres, expect more than 250 international and Turkish brands. Cevahir ranks as the third largest mall in Istanbul and one of Europe's largest shopping centres, including bowling halls.
Mall of Istanbul: In Basaksehir District near the old Ataturk airport, this outlet mall is only accessible by public transportation since it sits outside Istanbul city centre. Expect fun in abundance, though, because this mall goes one step further with an indoor theme park, Moipark, and the Hilton luxury hotel.
Zorlu Shopping Center: This massive mall in the Besiktas district serves various purposes, from an arts centre to a fitness centre to residential flats and offices. Zorlu Centre is also a luxurious mall hosting high-profile brands like Michael Kors, including a centre for performance arts and a 5-star hotel.
Vialand Mall: Sitting next to the largest theme park, with oodles of green space and the roller coaster ride, this is the perfect family day out. Amusement Parks don't get any better than this, while the famous shopping centre offers all the brands you can think of.
Viaport Asia: Not to be confused with the mall mentioned above, Viaport Asia in Pendik is 25-minute' drive from Sabiha Gokcen airport. They offer the Luna Park, bowling, cinema, pony club, and retail space.
Emaar Square Shopping Mall: In Emaar Square Mall, dining is an exceptional experience thanks to the delightful restaurants. Emaar Square shopping mall is also noted for its outstanding architecture. Other notable choices include Akasya Mall, Kanyon Shopping Mall, Olivium Outlet Center, Historia Mall, Palladium, which provides residential towers, and Venezia, modelled on the Italian city of Venice. Read more about shopping malls in Istanbul here.
Fun Fact - What is the Largest Shopping Centre in the World?
The New South China Mall, in Dongguan, China, is the world's largest shopping mall because of its total leasable area. But there is a catch: Since its opening in 2005, the mall has been dogged by under-occupancy rates. This has led to it being nicknamed the ghost mall. The New South China Mall was designed to resemble various international landmarks and cities, featuring sections resembling places like Venice, Paris, Amsterdam, and more. Over the years, efforts have been made to revitalise and redevelop the New South China Mall. Plans have been proposed to transform parts into different facilities, including offices, education centres, and entertainment spaces.
Currently, Dubai Mall only ranks as the world's sixth largest mall but earns fame for being the most beautiful. After all, those in Dubai always do spectacular things. One major attraction within Dubai Mall, the Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, features large suspended tanks with various marine life. The mall includes an indoor ice rink, multiplex cinema, KidZania, and an interactive children's education centre.
Connected to Dubai Mall is Souk Al Bahar, a traditional Arabian marketplace offering unique shopping and dining experiences with views of Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Fountain. Just outside Dubai Mall, the iconic Dubai Fountain, the world's most extensively choreographed fountain system, is set on the artificial lake at the base of Burj Khalifa and presents daily water and light shows.
From Famous Malls to the Grand Bazaar
Shopping malls are great. We find everything we want under one roof, from luxury brands to international restaurants to activities for children. However, malls aren't unique and exist in just about every country. Hence, in Istanbul, enjoy the prestigious malls by all means. However, also visit the Grand Bazaar, whose heritage and culture are intertwined on every corner.
You won't find many luxurious brands there, but a unique landmark and Ottoman Empire shopping system that continues today. Look carefully at architectural designs because the building dating from 1455 has a maze of shopping streets and small stores covering 30,000 square feet. It is a famous shopping centre where you can buy souvenir products and experience Istanbul culture simultaneously. Think of the building as an excursion rather than shopping opportunities. (About the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.)
Also Try Istiklal Avenue
Istiklal Avenue is another alternative to prominent malls, from outdoor malls to one long, big shopping street. In the Beyoglu district, just off Taksim Independence Square and leading down to Galata Tower, dozens of brands and restaurants line both sides of Istiklal Avenue. The strategic location makes it Turkey's busiest street, and the buildings on either side display exquisite architecture. It is about delightful shopping experiences with every range of products. (More about Istiklal Avenue.)
Where is the Best Place to Shop for Luxury in Turkey?
Welcome to Nisantasi, a fashionable and upscale district in European Istanbul. Nisantasi sits within the Sisli district, offering high-end shopping, luxurious residential areas, and a vibrant atmosphere. Nisantasi is one of Istanbul's trendiest and most prestigious neighbourhoods.
Luxury Shopping: Nisantasi is renowned for upscale shopping opportunities. The district has numerous designer boutiques, international fashion brands, and high-end shops. Abdi Ipekci Street, in particular, is a famous shopping avenue with high-end fashion, jewellery, and home decor stores.
Upmarket Cafes and Restaurants: Nisantasi offers various cafes, restaurants, and eateries serving Turkish and international cuisine. The area is famous for chic cafes where locals and visitors gather to enjoy coffee, meals, and socialising.
Stylish Architecture: Nisantasi boasts mixed historic and modern architecture. While some buildings reflect Ottoman-era grandeur, others showcase contemporary designs. The tree-lined streets and well-maintained buildings contribute to the overall charm. In addition to commercial and entertainment offerings, the Nisantasi residential area features high-end apartments and homes, and many affluent Turks and expatriates choose to buy property in this prestigious Istanbul neighbourhood.
Other Common Questions
What Area of Turkey is Best for Shopping? The highest concentration of shopping malls is in Istanbul. Having said that, all major cities do an excellent job of offering functional shopping centres that cater to either elegant brands or budgets. Shopping centres and districts are also commonly near central locations, so enjoy fantastic meals at many nearby restaurants simultaneously.
Which Shopping Mall in Istanbul is Best for Turkish Brands? The answer will really depend on who you speak to. Some say Viaport Marina and Outlet; others say Venice Mall, Aksyia Mall, or Olivium. We like Istanbul Cevahir Shopping Mall, although Turkish brands are sold all over the city, aside from mall locations. Another great place to shop for Turkish brands is Istiklal Avenue, which isn't a mall but is one long street. You will find Turkish brands wherever you look and don't have to go to a mall to find them.
More About Turkey
Aside from the biggest shopping mall in Turkey, embark on fascinating journeys through the rich tapestry of Turkish history, culture, expat living, traditions, and delectable cuisine by delving into our captivating articles. Unveil the secrets of a nation that straddles two continents, offering a blend of East and West that has shaped its unique identity. Our articles are portals into the heart of Turkey, unravelling layers of its captivating narrative. So, join us on this cultural odyssey about the history, culture, traditions, and advice on living in Turkey.
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