Asian side, Istanbul
Hip, young, rumbling, and bohemian Kadikoy on the Asian side offers a refreshing antithesis to old, historic Istanbul. A perfect time to cross the Bosphorus to see Kadikoy would be around sunset when the Istanbul sky glows in deep orange and flaming red. As I got off the ferry, the bohemian vibe was right away palpable with a group of young music students (probably on their way home from the classes on the European side) playing and singing Hotel California amidst the throng of humanity - in animated spontaneity.
Across the street from the ferry terminal, the early evening crowd gathered around snack stands for quick eats before going on their journeys home. Walk further towards the market area, and this is where Kadikoy's charm is most striking. The shops sell almost everything from fresh catch to colorful lamps. Soak up the local flavor as much as you could - there are hardly any tourists here. If you're tired and hungry, grab a chair in one of the many pubs around and order hamsi - fried fresh anchovies with a dash of lemon - washed down with local brew Efes before you head back to European Istanbul.
Ferries from Eminonu, Karakoy and Besiktas leave every 10-30 minutes (depending on which terminal) and services are up to as late as 10:45 pm (check the schedules before boarding the ferry).
2 hours more or less, or 150 km away from Istanbul on the black sea coast, is this fairly secluded,quiet, and relatively unspoilt part.Water is great for swimming and lots of unspoilt bays for picnics and relaxing.Head towards Izmit, turn off for Kandira and keep going north.Kerpe is relaxed to Istanbuls' crazy.Just a bit further up the coast to the east is Kefken, red cliff/rocks, great at sunset.
In contrast to its Asian sister suburb, the hip and young Kadikoy, Uskudar's main attractions are of religious in nature - more than a dozen camii (mosques) cramped around its narrow shores. Being the closest point to Mecca (Islam's holy city), the Ottoman rulers decided this was the best place to showcase their religious devotion.
During my half-day visit to Uskudar, I was able to see two of Uskudar's many mosques. The Iskele Camii (also known is Mihrima Sultan Camii) occupies a prominent site directly across the ferry terminal. Its colorful stained glass windows are beautiful. Aga Camii is your typical Turkish mosque, but with a more serene setting on a leafy street corner.
Getting to Uskudar from the European side is easy. There are regular ferries from Eminonu and Kabatas (near Dolmabahce Palace). Keep your akbil handy.
It is growing separately from my Istanbul page and it can easily be missed. I realized that I cannot allow this. So, here is the link to My Entire Kadikoy Page.
I really enjoy walking through markets where the locals buy their meats, produce, seafood, and other everyday items. Typically they are open air markets or stalls on either side of streets busy with shoppers and hawkers yelling out the specials of the day. You really get a sense of the pulse of real life in a destination in such places. Plus they are a photographer's little slice of heaven. Kadikoy has such a market not far from the ferry terminal. Basically situated in the blocks on either side of the intersection of Serasker Caddesi and Güneslibahce Sokak, you'll find meat, produce, pickled vegetables, and lots and lots of fresh seafood. Definitely a lot of fun to walk through and browse. And you won't bump into many other tourists either.
An important historical place which is mostly passed by the visitors. This is the oldest turkish settlement in Istanbul. Kucuksu palace, Anatolian Castle, "sweet waters of Asia" are the main attractions.
Highly recommend you to pay a visit if you are around.
Tourists pass this quaint little corner of Istanbul on their way up to Anadolu Kavagi but rarely stop,which is a shame as there are few small local restaurants around the area, Dere Balik in the photographs is almost set in the walls.
Built by Sultan Beyazid I in the 1390's as part of his preparations against siege on the narrowest point of the Bosphorus and to control the shipping.The Barbican was added by Sultan Mehmet II in 1452.
Alas you can't get into the Barbican and some of the surrounding walls were knocked down to make way for the coast road.
Currently working on the sidewalks and road so a bit dusty.
You can catch a ferry from the European side in a couple of places,Bebek and Arnavutkoy being the closest 2 from Sultanahmet.
There is also a local ferry pier at Kucuksu but unsure of times but is probably nearer to walk from, 5 minutes, also from Bebek.
Check out the times HERE
Take tea in a really local tea house as tourists are few and far between.
Cinaralti means under the plane tree and is a popular spot for locals always.
Weekends are manic and waiting for an outside table could be half an hour as people turn up with their own food and just order drinks from the establishment.They serve Turkish breakfast dishes so don't worry about taking your own.Week days are perfect.
From the ferry terminal turn right and turn down the alley not by but next after police station,just after the bakery,where you can buy borek and other local favourites.
After breakfast walk around the area,lots of old wooden houses still survive, across the road from the ferry terminal is the Greek Orthodox, church of ST.George and if you walk left up the Bosphorus you will come to the sultans old elephant stables and the Naval college.
To get here there are 2 main ferries with Line 2 leaving from Eminonu/Besiktas LINE 2 this one being the more frequent and LINE 1
Alternatively get a ferry across to Kadikoy #15F or Uskudar #15 local buses, probably other buses #15 something also go that way so just ask for Cengelkoy.
From a quiet day/weekend away to a fun packed swimming, quad biking, paintballing time of it, have a look at my Sile pages for ideas.
Looks like the black sea region but is only 2 hours from Istanbul.Great for picnics and guaranteed peace and nature.Fresh river fish restaurants tucked away in odd places.Rhododendron everywhere,plus other wild flowers and animals.Great views.
Around an hour to the west is Izmit,take the turn off for Izmit otogar/Yalova.From the turnpike take 1st left signed,keep going heading D130 signed Yalova.Just after sign turn off for Kullar.Keep going to PetrolOfisi gas station and turn left before the bridge.Keep going until Kullar stadyum sign and turn right.Go through Kullar to the left of the Mosque and turn left just before Saglik Bakanligi building on the left.Head up to Yuvacik.In Yuvacik turn left just past green Mosque,signed Yuvacik baraji,it's on a building.Road twist through the back streets.Go up right side of dam.At the top turn left and cross the dam and turn right,signed Camiduzu.Keep on when you reach Cataldere sign turn right side of it.From now on stop anywhere you fancy.We carried on through Camiduzu,turned for Serindere.4km up track is Yellow Mosque,3km to Serindere to right.We went to Ornekkoy to left.Just past the village we stopped and picnicked.More photos HERE
Around an hour and a half down the coast to the west is Izmit,take the turn off for Izmit otogar/Yalova.From the turnpike take 1st left signed,keep going heading D130 signed Yalova.Just after sign turn off for Kullar.Keep going to PetrolOfisi gas station and turn left before the bridge.Keep going until Kullar stadyum sign and turn right.Go through Kullar to the left of the Mosque and turn left just before Saglik Bakanligi building on the left.Head up to Yuvacik.In Yuvacik turn left just past green Mosque,signed Yuvacik baraji,it's on a building.Road twist through the back streets.Go up right side of dam.Great scenery and great picnic areas from past the headwater.At the head water are a couple of river fish(alabalik)restaurants also a couple of nice ones on the way just past the dam.
The Inonu valley signposted after the headwater is quiet and great for picnics also wild flower and fungi.
Area good for hiking and walking found ceps on my last visit.
Except for the seaside, you could spend some time to walk around in Uskudar. There is an interestic, non-touristic market. But dont expect the Asian side more Asian then the European side of Istanbul.
From Eminonu you can take a ferry to the Asian side of the Bosporus. Kadikoy is one of the neigborhoods here, a part of the city where lots of students are living . There is a big train station from where trains to other parts of Turkey leave. Furthermore, you can make a nice walk along the seaside boulevard, it was one of the most relaxing places we've been to in Istanbul. For the rest, Kadikoy is mainly dull apartment blocks and nothing really special. However, there seems to be an interesting market which we didn't see before leaving the place.
This is a small village near Black Sea coast. This land is given to Polish people in 1842 by Ottoman Empire. They've been living here since this time. The history of the village is here:
Polonezkoy is a little bit far from Istanbul's city center. It is between forests and its nature is under the effect of Black Sea. This means it is always green, but in spring it's more than green. You can see many colors in April and May here, because wild flowers are all over the place. It is possible to stay here, too. There are many pensions and they serve great breakfast in the morning. In a busy city, Polonezkoy is like heaven. But in the weekends it turns into a hell.
If you try to go there after 11:00 am by your car in a sunny day, you'll stuck in a chaos of cars. If you want to see this beauty, I recommend you to do it when we all working in our offices.
You can find some local products, like wild berries, vegetables, chestnut, jams... They are expensive but recommendable. Also it is posible to ride horses here. You can do trekking, too.
Moda is a beautiful district of Istanbul, situated along the Sea of Marmara near Kadiköy on the Asian side. The mood in the area here is quite in contrast to the big city-life of Istanbul, very tranquil and laid-back. On the hill above the sea there are several great cafes to have a bite to eat, and the Tea Garden located here is a one of the best places in the whole city to converse with friends over a glass of hot tea. Sunsets here are spectacular! We watched the sun dip beyond the horizon from one of the park benches here, simply amazing! Like the one along Istiklal Caddesi in Taksim, there is an old-fashioned tram that runs in a loop through Moda and Kadiköy. If you take a ferry to Kadiköy, you can hop right on this tram near the landing and take it to Moda, and then back again when you are ready to leave. Moda is one of my favorite places that i visited in Istanbul, definately worth a visit!