Get away from the tourist crowds in Old Istanbul and see a bit of the real Istanbul, the non-touristy city. You can spend just an hour or two, or a whole day, pleasantly exploring the Asian side of Istanbul, including Üsküdarand Kadıköy.
You can zoom under the Bosphorus on a Marmaray tram from Old Istanbul’s Sirkeci Station to Üsküdar in only a few minutes, but by far the more pleasant way to go is by ferryboat.
Ferries link Eminönü and Karaköy in Old Istanbul, and Kabataş and Beşiktaş on the European shore of the Bosphorus, with Üsküdar and Kadıköy on the Asian shore. The voyage from Europe to Asia takes between 20 and 30 minutes, depending on ports and sailing conditions.
The main sights in Üsküdar are superb Ottoman mosques, several by Mimar Sinan, the greatest Ottoman architect. Other incredible historical structures that are a must see include Kız Külesi, and Beylerbeyi Palace. If you are looking for a beautiful view point, or walk in nature Büyük Çamlıca Tepesi offers a stunning view of the city.
In Kadıköy, the market and the Moda tea gardens and promenades are the attraction. There are also hundreds of cute cafes, restaurants offering food from many different cultures, and parks to sit or walk along the Bosphorus. The streets are delightful to walk along and you could spend a whole day making your way around Kadıköy.
Some of our top recommended places to in Kadıköy go are Story Coffee (for some amazing coffee and pastries) and Brekkie (a cute restaurant that offers incredibly fresh croissants with a range of toppings.
—by Tom Brosnahan