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30th Apr 2013

Shopping IS a Sport! Check Out the Festival with a Difference for Fans of Fashion

Hands up who wants to go to Istanbul now?

Rebecca McKnight

When you think about a special shopping trip abroad, it’s probably safe to assume that while New York, Paris, Milan and London might come to mind… Istanbul does not.

Why follow the pack though? Instead, try something completely different in one of the most exciting cities in the world, and take part in ‘SHOPPINGFEST’. And no, we did not just make that up.

While we’ve often jokingly said that shopping is a sport, you can don your uniform of choice with pride and take part in this fun event in the happening city every June. 

Along with the world-renowned Grand Bazaar and The Spice Market, where you’ll pick up incredible traditional buys, Istanbul is also home to some of the world’s biggest shopping centres with many fashion outlets rippled throughout the city. 

You can really take shopping to the next level, with the main stores remain open until 2am with exclusive special offers and discounts along with surprise gifts for customers.

Soundtracking your shopping experience, international music acts, street performers and fireworks displays will take place on city streets, and the entire city just rocks with action day and night during the festival, For the duration of the festival, Instanbul just might steal the crown as the ‘city that never sleeps’. 

If you’re tempted to grab the girls and book, Turkish Airlines operate two direct flights from Dublin each day. During your flight you will enjoy award-winning service with a complimentary meal and drinks, just to get you in holiday-mode from the outset. And if you do get a little carried away with all the shopping while there, you will be delighted to know that there is a whopping 30KG baggage allowance in addition to a carry-on bag. No more having to wear every single item of clothing you possibly can a la Joey in friends, or every budget airline trip before! A two night stay during the SHOPPINGFEST will set you back around €441 per person with


Of course while you’re in such a spectacular place, there’s plenty more to see…



The Hippodrome. This is the original arena that was replicated in the movie Ben Hur for that famous chariot race scene.

The Blue Mosque was built in 1609 and gets its name from the blue mosaic tiling throughout the building. It’s spectacular – bring a camera.

St. Sophia was originally an Orthodox Basilica, then a Mosque now a museum. Perhaps a bit of an identity crisis, but that’s Sophia for you, and she’s beautiful. 

The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, with 61 covered streets and over 3,000 shops, which attract between 250,000 and 400,000 visitors daily.

For every spice, tea and herb imaginable, get to the Egyptian Spice Market. It’s impossible to not buy something, and your nose will thank you for the incredible smells.  



A cruise on the Bosphorus is probably the most overlooked Istanbul tourist attraction. Understandable, with such an abundance of historical sightseeing spots in Istanbul and too little time to squeeze them all into your short holiday

For a pittance of around €6.00 you will have a 1 hour cruise. A cruise with guide is a little more expensive. Other options for dinner or lunch cruising are well worth taking into consideration too.



Cost of Living:

One of the easiest ways to judge the cost of living in your holiday destination is to check the price of a beer, and in Istanbul the local beer, Effes, will costs from about €1.80 to €2.50.

Good to know also that you can eat for next to nothing. Boats on the harbour catch fish and fry it there. For €1.00 you get a fried fish with bread and a traditional slice of life.

There are a number of exceptional restaurant, many situated on rooftops of the hotels with stunning city and water views. A fine dining evening would set you back about €65.00 with wine, not bad at all! 

Taxis are cheap too, but traffic in the city means journey times are painfully slow, so get a bargain pair of designer trainers and walk instead! Alternatively there is a great tram, bus and ferry system so your public transport options are plentiful.



Rain or shine:

In June, the sun shines for around 10 hours each day hitting highs of about 26 degrees Celsius. The evenings drop to a fantastic 17-18C. That temperature is just perfect for city shopping after midnight… don’t you think?



Tempted to head for Turkey and participate in SHOPPINGFEST? Book now with, or call Flexibletrips on phone number is 01 514 0349.