Starting from Kadıköy and ending at Anadolu Kavağı, this morning-to-morning tour takes us along the Asian side of the Bosphorus, featuring nature, history, art and, of course, dining!
It’s 10:00 AM in Kadıköy, our first stop on the Anatolian side. We arrived via the ferry, the most beautiful way to travel, and tossed simit pieces to seagulls during the ride. We’re on our way to the historical Bull Statue, but we’ll go by Yeldeğirmeni first.
Yeldeğirmeni is one of Istanbul’s centers for street art. Check out #StreetArtIstanbul on Instagram for mural locations…or just wander: almost every street leading up to Yeldeğirmeni has colorful graffiti by street artists from all over the world. Take your own photos (and tag them for future visitors!).
Yeldeğirmeni is close to the Bull Statue. This popular Kadıköy landmark is visible from Söğütlüçeşme Avenue and is often used as a reference point for directions. For instance, an address might be described as “just after the Bull”. The Bull Statue is also the meeting point for Fenerbahçe fans before games – if you find yourself in Kadıköy on a game day, you can experience the enthusiasm of the fans firsthand.
Next to the Bull Statue is Bahariye – the name of the street is actually General Asım Gündüz, but everyone knows it as Bahariye. There’s a tram that stops in Moda, but if the weather is nice, we recommend walking. We pass by the Kadıköy Cinema, first opened in 1967, which hosts various film festivals, and then the Süreyya Opera House, one of Kadıköy’s most iconic buildings. Established in 1927, the Opera House has an elegant art deco style foyer. The walk along Bahariye also presents long-standing shops, and bakeries selling traditional almond cookies.
At the end of Bahariye, we reach Moda, one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in Kadıköy and Istanbul. Even in a city known for its sleek street cats, Moda stands out: cats are everywhere. The Moda neighborhood has a promenade along the coast, excellent cafes and plenty of street art. It’s a great place to wander…
The route from Kadıköy to Üsküdar takes us past the neoclassical Haydarpaşa Railway Station, built between 1906 and 1908. Though the iconic station is no longer in use, early Turkish films often depicted Haydarpaşa as the first stop in Istanbul for characters coming from the countryside, thus making it a symbol of urbanization and immigration.
Just above the station is Tıbbiye Street, with wide sidewalks, majestic trees and historical buildings. We keep walking, eventually reaching a road that deviates towards the coast. We are now in scenic Salacak.
First we’ll stroll through the cobblestone streets of this historical neighborhood, to see the nearly 500-year-old Rüstem Pasha Primary School. Now, it’s time to enjoy Salacak’s lovely Bosphorus promenade.
Gazing across the Bosphorus, we can see Historical Peninsula, with views of Topkapı Palace and Hagia Sophia. Further north, we can see as far as Beşiktaş. We keep walking and the Maiden’s Tower comes into view. This castle, dating from the 18th century in its current form, is a principle symbol of Istanbul and has a legendary story.
Continuing, we reach Üsküdar and its transit center, with the Marmaray, as well as ferries and buses travelling all over the city. Naturally, there are also a number of restaurants and cafes dotting the area.
Arriving at Paşalimanı Avenue, Kuzguncuk is now on the horizon!
As we pass the Üsküdar dock towards Kuzguncuk, we see the Fethipaşa Grove, with a magnificent perspective on the Bosphorus and the Historical Peninsula.
In addition to its Bosphorus views, Fethipaşa Grove is an oasis of trees and plants. Find a seat on the hill and enjoy a vista spanning from Sarayburnu to Ortaköy.
Leaving the Grove, we enter Kuzguncuk from Icadiye Street, lined with venerable patisseries, cafes, workshops, quirky restaurants, bookstores and neighborhood shops. This charming neighborhood is known for its historic houses featuring colorful bay windows draped with bougainvillea and geraniums, windows, as well as Kuzguncuk Garden, and centers of worship for three religions. Although Kuzguncuk has gotten more crowded in recent years, the friendly residents keep the neighborhood culture alive.
Heading back towards the coast and Beylerbeyi, we see the wooden Üryanizade Mosque, an Ottoman-style structure built in 1850, and the Ottoman-style Cemil Molla Mansion right above it.
The Anatolian exit of the 15 July Martyrs Bridge is in Beylerbeyi, and Beylerbeyi Palace is probably the first destination for many visitors. Commissioned by Sultan Abdulaziz and built by architect Sarkis Balyan, the Second Empire-style Palace features a strong Ottoman influence in its interior. The main building, known for its crystal chandeliers, 140-square-meter Hereke carpet and ceiling frescoes, is open to the public, as are the Mabeyn and Harem sections.
Is it time for lunch yet? Beylerbeyi is famous for fishing – and fish restaurants.
Beylerbeyi is also known for the Gul Sultan Mansion, Hasip Paşa Mansion, Fehime Sultan Mansion, and Hatice Sultan Mansion…
Built in 1788, the Hamid-i Evvel Mosque, also known as the Beylerbeyi Mosque, is considered one of the most beautiful on the Bosphorus shore. The Mosque complex includes the quaint Beylerbeyi Hamam.
And now, we’re off to Çengelköy.
As one of the historical districts on the Anatolian side, Çengelköy is known for its centuries-old plane trees: these can be seen in the Historical Çınaraltı Tea Garden, our first stop. The garden appeared in the 90’s television series, Super Baba, and thus has a special place in the hearts of Turkish people. It also has a great view of the Bosphorus. Slightly behind the Tea Garden is the Sadullah Pasha Mansion, one of the most famous mansions on the Anatolian side. Now a museum, the wooden mansion was built in the 18th century and has gorgeous baroque-style interiors.
Let’s walk up a little, into the narrow streets to Havuzbaşı Sokak or, as Çengelköy residents call it, Havuzbaşı slope, lined with wooden houses and historical mansions. Stop in Havuzbaşı Park; on the corner of the street is the Little Sheikh Nevruz Mosque, made of wood, with a single minaret and a single balcony – a Çengelköy icon. According to legend, Mehmet Akif Ersoy wrote part of the Turkish National Anthem here.
On the way down, we see the 17th-century Hagia Yorgi Church.
Moving from the coast towards Kandilli, we see the historical Kuleli Military High School, built in 1847, and half masonry, half timber. It’s named after the towers located next to it, and it was designed by Garabed Balyan, who was responsible for many of the Ottoman structures on the Bosphorus during the westernization period in Turkey.
We find ourselves on Vaniköy Street, named for Vani Mehmet Efendi, who had 17 mansions built along the coast. We pass the Fahrettin Pasha Mansion, Mahmut Nedim Pasha Mansion, Edip Efendi Mansion and Adile Sultan Palace. On the way to the Anatolian Fortress, we pass the Count Ostrorog Mansion and the Cypriot Mansion. Did we mention that the Bosphorus is famous for its mansions?
The colorful trees on the ridges of Kandilli, the magnificent Bosphorus view and the charming streets conjure a magical atmosphere. Perhaps it’s time for a Turkish coffee, accompanied by a panoramic view of the European side of the Bosphorus. But let’s go to Sevda Hill.
Actually part of the gardens of the Cypriot Mansion, Sevda Hill is named for a tragic love story that allegedly took place here in the early 20th century. To read more, click here.
Once we’ve taken in the view stretching between the two Bosphorus bridges, we move on to Anadolu Hisarı.
Passing from Kandilli to the Anatolian Fortress, we see the Küçüksu Palace commissioned by Sultan Abdülmecid in 1856 and built by Nigoğos Baylan of the Baylan family, who designed many works of the period.
The Anatolian Fortress was built in 1395 by Yıldırım Beyazıt to prevent attacks from the north. The Anatolian Fortress, which is quite small compared to Rumeli Fortress on the opposite shore, is also known as the Güzelce Fortress. Having lost its importance after the Conquest of Istanbul, the Anatolian Fortress seems to have gone back to nature, with trees sprouting among the ruins.
Göksu Creek flows into the Bosphorus at the Anatolian Fortress, giving the area the ambiance of a fishing village. There are cafes, restaurants and small boats along the canal, and the atmosphere is perennially peaceful.
The Anatolian and Rumeli Fortresses sit across from each other at the narrowest point of the Bosphorus, with the distance between shores approximately 650 meters.
As wonderful as the views are here, Fatih Grove, known as Otağ Hill, overlooks the area between the two bridges and is a quieter and less popular spot. However, it does close early due to its proximity to the bridge.
From the Anatolian Fortress, we pass the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge and arrive in Beykoz.
Just on the north of the bridge is Mihrabat Grove, a magnificent place to walk among pine trees and watch the Bosphorus. This is also a wonderful spot for photographs.
The next stop is quiet Kanlıca, renowned for its famous Kanlıca yogurt. Try it with honey, powdered sugar, or other toppings to enjoy a unique experience. In the square in front of the pier sits the Iskender Pasha Mosque, a historical work considered a fine example of Ottoman architecture.
Proceeding north, we reach Cubuklu, celebrated for its clean air and green nature. It is also the location of the art nouveau style Hıdiv Palace, commissioned by Abbas Hilmi Pasha in 1907 and built by Italian architect Delfo Seminati. Çubuklu Hıdiv İsmail Paşa Grove is perfect for strolling and Bosphorus watching.
As we reach Beykoz Square, we see the beautiful İshak Ağa Fountain, which allegedly dates from the 16th century, as does the Beykoz Serbostani Mustafa Ağa Mosque. The Armenian Surp Nigoğayos and Greek Orthodox Hagia Paraskevi churches, dating from the 18th century, are also around Beykoz Square.
To the north is the Beykoz Shoe Factory. Now a museum, event center, stage and cinema, it is also a popular location for films and TV series.
With more than a hundred mansions, Beykoz has the highest number of mansions of any village on the Bosphorus coast. These include the Hekimbaşı Salih Efendi Mansion, Amcazade Hüseyin Paşa Mansion, Ahmet Rasim Paşa Mansion, Zarif Mustafa Paşa Mansion and Hacı Ahmet Bey Mansion. North of Beykoz is the Yalıköy (mansion village) district, which, as the name suggests, is identified by its mansions. Poet Orhan Veli Kanık, writer Ahmet Mithat Efendi and painter Burhan Önal were residents of Yalıköy.
On Yuşa Hill, the closest and highest hill of Beykoz to the sea, we can watch the sun set over the Bosphorus, for an entirely delightful end to a busy day. Perhaps we can eat at one of the many restaurants dotting the coast. We always recommend that visitors find a hotel near the sea and fall asleep listening to the sounds of the Bosphorus – water lapping the shore, the gentle skim of boats.
Time to hit the road again for breakfast at our final stop, Anadolu Kavağı.
This quaint seaside village is well known for its pancakes, but we actually have a better suggestion:
There’s a hilltop castle from the Eastern Roman period, Yoros Castle. When the Roman empire fell, the Genoese possessed the castle and, today, it is known as the Genoese Castle. Some of the inland towers are still in good condition and Greek inscriptions are visible on the walls.
In this castle is a café. This café serves breakfast. Start your day with breakfast and a Bosphorus view, in a castle from the Eastern Roman Empire. Nice, isn’t it?
Our 24-hour route has now concluded! We hope you enjoyed this tour of the Anatolian side!
Before we forget, if you want to visit the European side of the Bosphorus in 24 hours, it’s here!
Stories knock at your door!
You can easily download images, and share on your social media accounts via your smartphone. Just press and hold the story, and save or share the image you have selected via the menu that appears.