Credit card in hand? Check. Comfortable shoes? Check. A shortage of buyer’s remorse? Check! Check! From Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar to the Couture streets of Paris, these are our favorite places to shop till you drop around the world.
Shopping in Istanbul is truly a unique experience and frankly one of our favorite places in the world to purchase gifts (especially ones for ourselves). With open- air markets, covered Turkish bazaars and chic boutiques everywhere, this city really solidifies itself as a shopping Mecca.
The only drawback is the shop owners who shout at you as you approach their shops. The first one is sent by curiosity, the second one local color, the third one annoying, and the 10th one insanity. They can be pretty annoying, disrupting your thoughts as you walk through the grand hallways.
Tip: Try and be one of the first customers of the day because Grand Bazaar shopkeepers believe the first customer is sent by the Gods and pleasing him or her brings good luck to them throughout the remainder of the day. This is a great time to strike a bargain.
It’s no surprise that Paris remains the center of all things couture. Every fashionista can attest: Paris is really a shopping paradise. From the finest luxury brands –mostly French- to recognized designers, to the up and coming- the amount of shops and places not to miss is massive. While the city boasts some exquisite places to shop, top Parisian shopping districts are guaranteed to satiate bargain-hunters, designer snobs and window shoppers alike.
Check out the Haute Couture shops on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré and Avenue Montaigne or to find unique trend-setting fashions head to the shops on Rue Étienne Marcel and Place des Victoires. Take a visit to the Marais for an eclectic experience or drain your accounts along the Champs Elysees. Pick your poison, shopping in Paris is as diverse as it gets.
Tip: Shops are open from Monday to Saturday and closed on Sundays, public holidays and most of August.
Known to many as the “Milan of Australia” with fashion-forward boutiques, elegant arcades and buzzing shopping centers, Melbourne is Australia’s most sought after shopping destination. Stroll through the many shopping precincts the city boasts of to bask in some good ole fashion retail therapy. Melbourne is known for its creative fashion style, from the edgy to the conservative chic in the Parisian side of town. The city shopping precinct forms a grid, bordered by Flinders St., Exhibition St., La Trobe St. and Queen St., in which majority of the stores reside. The city also offers a variety of shopping tours that can turn a simple outing into a full day of shopping adventure. Many of these tours include visits to some of the most popular and highly regarded cafes and restaurants for lunch, making it a great way to get your shopping fix along all while experiencing the local culture and city life.
Tip: Seek out the Rose Street Artists Market which takes place on Saturdays. This market features original local designers and artists and is one of the best in the city.
Seoul, South Korea
Seoul has as wide variety of shopping areas and markets throughout the city. These include the fashionable Myeong-dong, the luxury market of Cheongdam-dong, the vintage shops at Hongdae area, and the wholesale sellers at Dongdaemun and Namdaemun.
Korea does everything big, especially malls. If you love shopping, there are not many places in the same league as Seoul. If you have a special someone and the money to spend on them, head to Seoul’s Jewelry District on Boseok-gil in Jong-no. The Jewelry District was established after the Korean War and now packs in over a thousand jewelry stores, hundreds of design and manufacturing stores, and more than twenty licensed evaluators. One can score a good deal here but you must know your stuff to make it happen.
The shopping area known as Rodeo Drive (yes, they have one too), is a hotspot for finding the latest in high-end fashion. There are independents, department stores, theaters, cafes and various parks. Tourists come here to spend, splurge and be seen.
Tip: Many stores in Myeongdong offer discounts for travelers to Korea. The type of discount and their requirements differs at each store. We suggest carrying your passport just in case.
The high fashion capital of Italy, Milan is one of the world’s top- ranking shopping destinations. The streets are lined with well dressed men in tailored made suits of fine fabric and elegant ladies with well maintained hairstyles and amazing handbags. Milan is a haute couture powerhouse, where fashions jump from the catwalk to the clearance rack in weeks. Styles generally reach the US around a year after launching in Italy so if you fly home overloaded with shopping bags, you’ll be up to date for a while. The flamboyance, opulence and glamour beckon from the glitzy windows of Milan’s flagship design houses spread throughout.
Tip: The best fashion gazing can be done along four adjoining streets north of the Duomo known locally as the Quadrilatero d’Oro (Golden Quadrilateral) consisting of Via Montenapoleone, Della Spiga, Via Borgospesso, and Via Sant’Andrea.