Istanbul unveiled is a series of 4 posts that intends to show, in detail, my 4 favorite “districts” (I have no idea how to call them). The idea is to go beyond the touristic path, as you can find that in every travel book and website, and show you places that usually only locals know.
Reasons to love the Asian side: you can actually find peace here! Concept stores and cafes, long walks next to the sea and beautiful street art.
The Asian side is usually dismissed buy visitors because it doensn’t have the typical and impressive tourist attractions, but i love it. If you have extra time and want to see how locals live, this is where you should head to.
What is there for me to do/see
Kadikoy is a neighborhood on the Asian side and nowadays is one of the most relevant parts of Istanbul. Young people are everywhere and new bars, cafes and cinemas are blossoming in every corner.
The highlights of Kadikoy are: Salı Pazar (the biggest street market in Istanbul, hold every Tuesday), the Haydarpaşa Gari (an old train station), the street art (google Yeldeğirmeni Sokaklarında), Bagdat Caddesi (one of the longest streets in Istanbul, it’s like Istiklal but on the Asian Side) and Dalyan Park (if you are looking for a nice place to run or relax by the sea)
Beylerbeyi Sarayi is a palace on the Asian side just next to the Bosphorus Bridge. The palace was built during the Ottoman times and it was a summer palace. Smaller than Dolmabahçe, its architecture is similar and the interior is really beautiful.
Info: The palace is closed on Mondays and Thursdays and the entrance (palace + harem) is 20 TL.
The Islands are a great escape from Istanbul and the city’s stress. Here you will find a peaceful environment, no cars and a lot of green and blue. There are several islands you can visit, the most famous being Buyukada. You can find ferries going there from Kabatas. In the islands you can ride a bike, rent a carriage, hike and swim. (the pictures are from heybeliada)
What is there for me to eat?
Mahatma Cafe (the only Vegan restaurant I know in Istanbul): This little cafe/restaurant adapts traditional Turkish food to the Vegan lifestyle. I am far from being a fan of Vegan Food but I really enjoyed the vibe and food of this place. It’s cheap and the owners speak English!
Beyaz Fırın (Caferağa Mahallesi) has been voted in Zomato as the top Bakery in Kadikoy. Here you will want to buy all kinds of pastries. Borek, Simit and Sutlaç are some of the Turkish Specialties you should try.
Try some fish in the Islands: When I went to Heybeliada I had the best Balık Ekmek (fish sandwich) ever. I don’t know the name of the place but I am quite sure you will find tons of nice places. But never pay more than 6 liras for one.