Beşiktaş, Istanbul, Turkey

Last Updated on May 22, 2019

North of Dolmabahçe Palace on the European shore of the Bosphorus, 2.5 km (1.5 miles) northeast of Taksim Square, is Beşiktaş (map), one of Metropolitan Istanbul‘s many municipalities (sub-cities, boroughs).

Beşiktaş is a major transportation nexus, where the avenue along the European shore meets Barbaros Bulvarı, the main thoroughfare inland, westward, to Istanbul’s skyscraper business districts. This important intersection is right next to the Beşiktaş Ferry Dockserving ferry boats that cross the Bosphorus to the Asian shore at Üsküdar, and some that travel up and down the strait on Bosphorus cruises.

The big attraction here is the Turkish Naval Museum(Deniz Müzesi), with its collection of splendid, gilded imperial caiques, the long sleek, very fast boats in which the sultan, rowed by as many as 30 oarsmen, shot up and down the Bosphorus like a waterborne arrow. More…

Sultn's Caique, Naval Museum, Beşiktaş, Istanbul, Turkey
An imperial caique in the Naval Museum, Beşiktaş.

Very near the Naval Museum is the Palace Collections Museum,. You should also wander in Beşiktaş‘s interesting market district (çarşı) complete with fish market, and perhaps to dine in one of the market’s many restaurants away from the tourist throngs.

For a respite from the concrete city, there’s an entire hillside covered in the greenery of Yıldız Parkı, with its three Ottoman-era restaurants and one impressive palace, the Yıldız Şale Köşkü (Star Chalet Kiosk). More…

Besides its half-dozen luxury hotels (Conrad Istanbul HotelFour Seasons Hotel at the BosphorusÇirağan Palace Kempinski Hotel, Radisson Blu Hotel, and Shangri-la Hotel), Beşiktaş boasts several distinguished academic institutions, including campuses of Bahçeşehir UniversityGalatasaray UniversityBeşiktaş Anadolu Lisesi, and a maritime academy.

Perhaps the easiest way to reach Beşiktaş by public transport is to take the Bağcılar-Kabataş tram or Kabataş-Taksim Funicular to the Kabataş stop, then catch a busgoing up the European shore of the Bosphorus.

A longer but perhaps more satisfying way is to board a ferryboat at Eminönü, cruise across the Bosphorus to Üsküdar on the Asian shore, then board a ferry at an adjoining dock for the cruise to Beşiktaş back on the European shore. Total round-trip intercontintal voyage time is 45 minutes to an hour, total cost less than TL5. You can shorten the time by taking the Marmaray train from Sirkeci to Üsküdar, then a ferry to Beşiktaş.

To return to the city center, take any bus heading southfrom Beşiktaş to EminönüKabataşKaraköy, or Taksim Square.

—by Tom Brosnahan

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