Yes, it is. But only if you’re in Istanbul for 4 days or more, or visiting this gorgeous Turkish metropolitan for the second time. Let’s not beat around the bush, with the huge concentration of (historical) sightseeing spots on the European side of Istanbul, the Asian shore is playing second fiddle to its European counterpart. But if you already have this ‘been there, done that’ feeling, then the Asian part offers a view of Istanbul and its inhabitants not found in Sultanahmet or Taksim. Here are my favorite spots worth paying a visit in the different Istanbul!
Kadıköy Tuesday Market
The best way to start exploring the Asian side of Istanbul is by taking a ferry to Kadıköy. If you happen to be in town on a Tuesday, then your first stop should be the famous Tuesday market in Kadıköy — actually Söğütlüçeşme. The thing with open-air markets is that it’s often difficult to give a street name or directions, but this one is really hard to miss.
Leave the ferry dock, keep the sea at your back, walk slightly up the hill in one of Kadıköy‘s main streets (Söğütlüçeşme Caddesi). After 20 minutes or less you reach a bull sculpture. At this point the street splits, so make sure to keep stay at the right hand side.
Alternatively you can hop on the nostalgic tram after leaving the ferry dock and get off at the Altıyol stop. Whichever option you chose, from this point onwards you will find one of the many market entrances.
Kadıköy Daily Market
If you can’t make it on a Tuesday, you can always visit the daily Kadıköy market. It’s a different experience, but not less enjoyable — and much closer to the pier. Cross the main street after leaving the ferry dock and make a right and then turn left. If you find yourself in car-free streets filled with shops, you’re there. It is a really laid-back place to walk or shop around in. There are also plenty of nice pastry shops, bookstores and cafés (with terraces) to recharge your batteries.
I seem to have a love-hate relationship with this part of the Asian side. Unlike other people, I don’t think it’s that spectacular, but when on the Asian side (and after visiting the market) I can’t seem to skip having a tea or coffee in Moda while overlooking the Sea of Marmara. You can walk all the way to Moda, but taking the nostalgic tram is more convenient — get off at the Moda stop.
The place I always go to is a café/restaurant at the Moda pier (Moda İskele). You can tell that the venue has had more glorious times in the past, but it remains a cool place to relax and enjoy the sea view (see picture).
Continue reading the second part of our favorite spots on Istanbul’s Asian side.