The Asian side of Istanbul, though often missing from the itinerary of travellers to Istanbul, is nevertheless worth visiting for a glimpse into local life in Istanbul.
Most visitors to the Asian side will arrive at its ferry terminal, which makes frequent trips to the European side, or into Haydarpasa Train Station, from which all trains from the east arrive into.
Kadiköy, the first place of settlement in Istanbul, has a large array of restaurants, cafes, bars, backstreet markets and bookstores. It’s a popular place of residence for Istanbul’s sizeable expat community, many of which teach English at the surrounding language schools. Football fans flock to Fenerbahce Stadium which is within walking distance of Kadikoy’s ferry terminal.
From Kadikoy, take the nostalgic tram to Moda, which boats a charming harbour and seaside promenade.
The ‘Istiklal Street’ of the Asian side, Bagdat Street, is a very long, tree-lined promenade dotted with European style cafes, restaurants and designer stores. While the fashionable come here to be seen, it’s equally popular with the Sunday brunch crowd. Another hot shopping spot is Bahariye Street in Kadikoy.
Nearby Göztepe houses the Toy Museum, a popular sightseeing attraction for young and young at heart.
There are two bridges which connect the European side of Istanbul to the Asian side; the Bosphorus Bridge and Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge. Though both bridges enjoy wonderful views, the horrendous city traffic- particularly during rush hour- means that a ferry crossing is an infinitely more pleasurable way to get to Asia.
Istanbul Market ©Andrew Sawvel...
Istanbul at night by Mista Rig...
© Simona Mimmo Lilly Obino
Golden Horn ©Helen Simpson
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