When visiting Istanbul, most people focus on the European side of the city – and with good reason as there are so many phenomenal things to see and experience on that side of the Bosphorus. However, if you’re either visiting the city again or feel like wandering off the tourist trail, I suggest checking out the Asian side of Istanbul.
Kadıköy is one of the main boroughs on Istanbul’s Asian side. What I loved about it was how “every day” it felt – it’s a residential area so many streets are quiet, lots of stores selling all sorts of goods, fantastic markets, simple restaurants, and all sorts of people living their daily lives. Here are five things you can experience on an afternoon in Istanbul’s Asian side:
Getting here requires a ride on the ferry from the European side. It’s a great trip and it is fantastic to be out on the water on a hot sunny day. When you get close to the end of the trip, you’ll pass by the Haydarpaşa Terminal. It is a pretty neat building built in 1909 that used to be a train station. Unfortunately, it’s closed now. I enjoyed the Kadıköy dock area for the people watching, primarily. But if you’re feeling peckish, there are lots of simit carts from which to choose!
View from Moda
We took the historic tram from near the ferry dock to an area called Moda and promptly got lost. But happily, being lost is exactly how we found a tea garden near the Bosphorus! After a little rest with a nice hot cup of cay, we wandered along the water and admired the phenomenal view of the city and its iconic mosques. It was fun trying to pick out the Blue Mosque, Süleymaniye, and Aya Sophia.
I really like street art so it was fun to find it scattered across Kadıköy. I was rather surprised, but Istanbul (even on the European side) has some great pieces!
I love anything vintage and antique (hence my blog name!) so I was like a pig in mud when we stumbled across a street called Tellalzade Sokak. This street is lined with antique stores galore. Unfortunately for me, my two companions were not antique lovers so I wasn’t able to spend much time at all here. Ah well – just have to go back!
After all of that walking, you’d probably be pretty hungry by now. There are many restaurants from which to choose as well as markets. In these markets, you can find everything ranging from fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, teas, fragrant spices, and a wide range of other goods. It is a totally different atmosphere from the markets on the European side as you may just be the only visitor wandering through. These markets aren’t catering to tourists, but rather to locals.
Have you been to Istanbul’s Asian side? What would you recommend here?