15 Things To Do On The Asian Side Of Istanbul In 2024

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Written by our local expert SJ

Sarah-Jane has lived in Croatia for 10+ years. SJ, as she is known, has been traveling the Balkans & beyond since 2000. She now shares her passion for traveling with her husband & kids.

Go beyond the European side of Istanbul and discover these amazing things to do on the Asian side of Istanbul, Türkiye.

Turkiye Travel Blog_Things To Do On The Asian Side Of Istanbul

Welcome to the exotic and culturally rich city of Istanbul! While most visitors tend to stick around the European side, let’s not forget about the equally fascinating Asian side of Istanbul – known as the Anatolian Side.

From historical landmarks to scenic views, there are many things to do in this less-explored part of town. Whether you’re a foodie looking for an authentic culinary experience or a history buff eager to discover centuries-old architecture, we’ve got you covered with our curated list of the best things to do on the Asian side of Istanbul.

Introduction To The Asian Side Of The City – Anatolian Side

Asian side of Istanbul and popular Bagdat avenue at Valentine's Day
Bagdat avenue, Kadikoy

Istanbul is a city situated on two different continents, Europe and Asia. The Bosphorus Strait runs through the city, dividing it into its European and Asian sides by the Bosphorus Bridge.

Although the city has a long history dating back to Roman times, its modern-day incarnation is very much a product of its Ottoman past. From the grand mosques like The Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, and the bewitching palaces of the old city to the bustling streets of the new, Istanbul is a truly unique destination.

And while most visitors to Istanbul focus on the European side, there is much to see and do on the Asian side as well. Here are some of the places we suggest you check out on the Anatolian side of the city;

Kadikoy Bull Statue

Kadikoy Bull Statue

Kadikoy Bull Statue is a must-see for any animal or sculpture lover visiting Istanbul. The life-size sculpture of a bull is located in the middle of a park and is a popular place for locals to relax and take photos. Visitors get up close and personal with the bronze statue made by famous French sculptor Isidore Bonheur in 1864. This little cutie was erected in memory of a famous bull that lived in the city during the Ottoman Empire.

Take A Ride On The Kadıköy-Moda Tramway

Nostalgic tram in the Kadikoy district

Kadıköy-Moda Tramway is a scenic tramway that runs through the Asian side of Istanbul. The tramway offers stunning views of the city and its surroundings and a convenient way to get around. The tramway is easy to use and provides an excellent way to see some of the most popular tourist destinations in the city.

Shopping On The Asian Side Of Istanbul

The Asian side of Istanbul is home to some of the best shopping in the city – and a little cheaper, too. From traditional markets to modern malls, there is something for everyone on the Asian side of Istanbul.

Bahariye Street

Bahariye Street is one of the most popular shopping streets in Kadıköy, a neighborhood on the Asian side of Istanbul. It’s lined with shops and stalls offering everything from fresh produce to souvenirs and clothing. You can also find great deals on traditional Turkish items like ceramics, jewelry, and carpets.

Maltepe Park Shopping Mall

Maltepe Park Shopping Mall is another great option for shopping on the Asian side of Istanbul. It features over 200 stores selling all kinds of products, from clothes to electronics and home goods. There are also plenty of restaurants, Turkish coffee shops, and entertainment venues to enjoy after a day of shopping.

Kadikoy Fish Market

Kadikoy Fish Market is a popular tourist destination in Istanbul, Turkey. It is known for its fresh seafood, and many stalls sell different kinds of fish. Visitors can also find other food items at the market, such as fruits and vegetables. The market is open daily from early morning to late afternoon.

Kadıköy Market

The Kadıköy Market is one of the best places to shop on Istanbul’s Asian Side. It’s a great place to find fresh produce, spices, and other traditional Turkish ingredients. The market is open every day from early morning until late at night, so it’s easy to find a time to visit that works for you.

When you first enter the market, you’ll be greeted by the sights and smells of all the different stalls. Be sure to take some time to wander around and explore all the other options before making your purchase. Haggling is expected (and even encouraged!), so don’t be afraid to bargain with the vendors for a better price.

Kozzy Shopping and Cultural Center Kozyatagi

Kozyatagi is a neighborhood in Istanbul, and it’s home to this great mall. It has a lot to offer, including plenty of shops and restaurants and a movie theater. It’s the perfect place to spend a day or evening, whether you’re looking to do some shopping or relax and watch a movie.

Bahariye Street

What to buy in Turkey - hand made ceramics

On the Asian side of Istanbul, Bahariye Street is one of the busiest shopping districts. The street is lined with shops and vendors selling everything from clothes to souvenirs. There are also several restaurants and cafes in the area.

If you’re looking for souvenirs, Bahariye Street is a great place to find them. There are many shops that sell Turkish-themed items, such as carpets, tea sets, and evil eye beads. You can also find plenty of stores that sell more general tourist items, such as T-shirts and magnets.

If you’re looking to do some clothes shopping, there are plenty of options on Bahariye Street. Several chain stores, such as H&M and Zara, and local boutiques sell Turkish-style clothing. You can also find a few shoe stores in the area.

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Maiden’s Tower

Known locally as ‘kiz kulesi,’ this is one of the most famous landmarks in the whole of Istanbul. Sitting a short distance from the coast on a small islet, you have to take a small boat to it, where you can enjoy dinner and watch the sunset. Maiden’s Tower has many different legends attached to it, although if you ask locals, they’ll all believe a different one! Use them, and let us know which one you think is true.

Akmar Passage

Akmar Passage is one of the most popular tourist attractions on Istanbul’s Asian side. The passage, which is lined with shops and restaurants, offers a great view of the city’s skyline. Visitors can also take a boat ride through the passage to get a closer look at the city’s landmarks.

Haydarpaşa Train Station

Istanbul Nightlife- Kadikoy_Haydarpasa railway station
Haydarpasa Railway Station, Kadıköy

Haydarpasa Train Station is one of Istanbul’s most iconic landmarks. The grandiose building was completed in 1909 and served as the city’s main train station for many years. Today, it is no longer in use but remains a beautiful and popular tourist spot. Visitors can admire the architecture, take photos, and enjoy the views of the Bosporus from the station’s rooftop terrace.

Drink Cocktails At Fahri Konsolos

Istanbul’s Asian Side is home to some of the city’s best cocktail bars, and Fahri Konsolos is one of them. This cozy bar has an extensive list of cocktails and a knowledgeable staff who can help you find the perfect drink for your palate. The bar also has a great selection of Turkish wines and beers and a menu of small plates if you get peckish. With its relaxed atmosphere and excellent drinks, Fahri Konsolos is the perfect place to unwind after a long day of exploring Istanbul’s Asian Side.

See How Many Stunning Murals You Can Find In Kadikoy

 Urban mural painting, graffiti in Kadikoy

Kadikoy is one of Istanbul’s most vibrant and colorful neighborhoods and is home to several stunning murals. If you’re looking for a place to enjoy art while getting fresh air, Kadikoy is the perfect spot.

A massive mural covers the entire side of a building on Kadikoy’s main street. It depicts various scenes from Turkish history and culture, and it’s an absolutely breathtaking sight. You can also find a mural on a wall near Kadikoy Square that depicts two people sharing a passionate kiss, and it’s sure to make your heart melt.

Closed shop exterior with metal door covered with colorful graff

Other murals were made to commemorate the struggle of the Turkish people against authoritarian rule, honoring the Istanbul soccer team, to name a few. You can find many more stunning murals in Kadikoy; wander about, and you’re sure to discover plenty of hidden murals!

Note: There are also Asian side tours you can take on foot to help you find even more murals.

Kadıköy Coastal Pathway – Caddebostan Coastal Walk

If you’re looking for a fun and scenic coastal walk, look no further than Caddebostan! This beautiful walkway offers stunning views of the sea and plenty of opportunities to stop and smell the roses!

The Kadıköy Coastal Pathway stretches for almost 2 miles along the waterfront of the Kadıköy district on Istanbul’s Asian side. The pathway winds its way past several landmarks and beaches. Along the way, there are plenty of opportunities to stop and enjoy the views, with numerous cafes, restaurants, and parks located along the route. The pathway is also a popular spot for joggers and cyclists, making it a great place to get some fresh air and exercise while exploring Istanbul’s history and culture.

Kadikoy Lighthouse

Close to the ferry station, you will find a small path that juts out into the water and a small lighthouse at the end. Walk to the end of there and enjoy the sunset and views all around you. It’s a great spot to escape the noise, too! Remember your camera, as the images you’ll get from here are something exceptional indeed.

Bonus: If you carry on walking after the lighthouse, you’ll find a path that carries on for a good distance and follows the coastline. You can walk or cycle, and it’s packed with people singing, playing music, and snacks, such as sweetcorn and ice cream. During the summer months, you’ll find people just sitting here and enjoying the scenery until late in the evening.

If you want to dip your toes in the sea, keep walking until you reach Caddebostan, where there are some sandy beaches.

Bahariye Street

We already told you to head to Bahariye Street for shopping, but you will also find several restaurants and cafes here. If you want to try some traditional Turkish food, several places serve kebabs and other Turkish dishes.

There are also several international restaurants in the area, such as McDonald’s and Burger King.

And if you want a cup of coffee or tea, there are plenty of cafes to choose from.

Visit The Princes Islands

Turkish Islands - Phaeton in Prince Island Buyukada . Turkey

While you can also visit the Prince’s Islands from the European side, they are closer to the Asian side! From Bostanci, you can take a ferry to the Prince’s Islands, with Buyukada the most commonly visited and the largest of all the islands.

The islands are free of traffic as cars cannot drive there, so they’re ideal for a break from the hustle and bustle of the city. There are also many historical spots to check out, such as Aya Yorgi Church, and you can also hire a bicycle and enjoy the scenery along the coastal path.

Check Out The Sunset

A great place to enjoy a glass of cay and the sunset is the tea garden on the coastal path between Uskudar and Kadikoy. It’s impossible to miss, as you’ll see cushions lining the steps leading down to the water’s edge and countless people enjoying their time. The views from here as the sun goes down are sublime.

Nightlife Options

The Asian side of Istanbul is quieter and more residential than the European side, and although you’ll definitely find some great spots to spend your evenings, if you really want bright and vibrant nightlife, you’re better heading over to Taksim Square area or Besiktas on the Asian side.

However, the nightlife in Kadikoy is great fun up until around 1 a.m. There are many sports bars and pubs to enjoy and many restaurants for great meals. Uskudar itself is very quiet in the evenings and more about eating a meal and going home for the evening, but it’s pretty easy to get over to Kadikoy by bus or taxi if you want a few more drinks before you head home.

Get To Know The Neighborhoods On The Asian Side Of Istanbul

The Asian side of Istanbul is home to many different neighborhoods, each with its own unique character. Here are some of the most popular ones:

  • Beşiktaş
  • Çekmeköy
  • Güzeltepe
  • Hacıosman Ümraniye
  • Kadıköy
  • Kazasker
  • Kuzguncuk
  • Moda N
  • Pendik
  • Selamiçeşme
  • Üsküdar
  • Yeldeğirmeni
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Yeldegirmeni Neighbourhood

The great thing about the Asian side of Istanbul is that it’s full of quirky neighborhoods offering something unique. Yeldegirmeni is a small but quite historic part of Kadikoy that is packed with art, Turkish coffee, and architecture. This is a pretty inexpensive part of Kadikoy, too, so it’s great for just wandering around and watching the world go by with a coffee in your hand. Oh, and if you love cats, you’ll find plenty here!

Beykoz Neighbourhood

As you pass Uskudar, keep walking, and you’ll reach Beykoz. This residential area is packed with waterfront mansions, all with interesting and colorful designs. These mansions all date back to Ottoman reign, and they’re protected buildings. You will find Anadolu Hisar or Anadolu Fortress/Castle a little further down. There are plenty of small restaurants around this part of the city, and it’s a great spot to sit and watch the world go around.

NEIGHBORHOODS TO AVOID ON THE ASIAN SIDE OF ISTANBUL

Sultanbeyli

This neighborhood is on the far outskirts of the Asian side of Istanbul, so it’s unlikely you would venture this far. It is calm during the daytime; yes, there isn’t anything to do here. At night, things get more unruly.

Gulsuyu

This neighborhood is in the Maltepe district near Kadıköy. Again, during the daytime, things are somewhat peaceful here, but at nighttime, it becomes unsafe.

 

Where To Eat On The Asian Side Of Istanbul

The Asian side of Istanbul is home to some of the best restaurants in the city. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Çiya Sofrasi: this restaurant is known for its delicious kebabs and mezes
  • Ismet Baba Fish Restaurant: family-style seafood plates & hearty sides 
  • Küff Cafe: an ideal place to eat a traditional Turkish breakfast
  • Lacivert Restaurant: on the Bosphorus Strait, serving pasta & seafood
  • Baylan Pastanesi: If you have a sweet tooth, then you need to pay Baylan Pastenesi a visit, which has a history dating back around 100 years. Be sure to ask for the famous Sunday of caramel and vanilla ice cream with honey and whipped cream. Delicious!
  • İnciraltı Meyhanesi: For the authentic meze experience, this restaurant is great. You’ll also find a range of traditional starters on offer, although some might be a little problematic for you if you have a weak stomach – deep-fried brains, anyone?
  • A’Jia: If you have a special occasion, then make sure you head to the upmarket A’Jia. We’re talking small portions, but the fancy presentation here is ideal for something special.

Where To Stay On The Asian Side Of Istanbul

When it comes to finding a place to stay on the Asian side of Istanbul, we have this guide.

As you’ll see, there are plenty of options to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a luxurious hotel or a more budget-friendly option, you can find something that suits your needs.

Kadıköy

Known for its lively street life and diverse dining options, Kadıköy offers a more laid-back atmosphere with plenty of cultural activities. It’s perfect for those who enjoy vibrant urban life.

Üsküdar

Üsküdar is famous for its historical sites, including beautiful mosques and palaces. This quieter and more residential area is ideal for those seeking a peaceful stay with a touch of history.

Moda

A neighborhood within Kadıköy, Moda is renowned for its seaside parks and pedestrian-friendly streets. It’s a great place for enjoying outdoor activities and experiencing local life.

Bağdat Avenue (Bağdat Caddesi)

This upscale area is known for its sophisticated shopping and dining experiences. Bağdat Avenue offers a luxurious stay in one of Istanbul’s most prestigious neighborhoods.

Luxury

If you’re looking for a luxurious hotel, the Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus is a great option. This hotel offers stunning views of the city and the Bosphorus Strait, and it’s just a short walk from some of the best shopping in Istanbul.

Budget

If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, plenty of small hotels and hostels are scattered throughout the Anatolian side of the city – find them below.


FAQs About The Asian Side Of Istanbul

ASIAN SIDE OF ISTANBUL (KADIKOY) FAQs

Asian Side Of Istanbul

Where is the Asian side of Istanbul?

The Asian side of Istanbul is located on the eastern side of the city, separated from the European side by the Bosphorus Strait.

Why is it sometimes called the “Anatolian” side of Istanbul?

The Asian side of Istanbul is sometimes called the “Anatolian” side because it is part of the larger Anatolian Peninsula, encompassing much of modern-day Turkey.

Is Istanbul in Asia?

Yes, Istanbul is a transcontinental city, meaning it spans both Europe and Asia. The city is divided by the Bosphorus Strait, with the European side to the west and the Asian side to the east.

What are the top 3 things to do on the Asian side of Istanbul?

Three top things to do on the Asian side of Istanbul are visiting the Maiden’s Tower, exploring the vibrant Kadikoy neighborhood, and taking a relaxing Bosphorus cruise.

What are the best things to do in Istanbul’s Asian side for kids?

For kids, some of the best things to do on the Asian side of Istanbul include visiting parks like Fenerbahce Park, exploring the Istanbul Toy Museum, and taking a boat ride on the Bosphorus.

What things to do on the Asian side of Istanbul are good for couples?

For couples, romantic activities on the Asian side of Istanbul include enjoying a sunset from the Maiden’s Tower, taking a leisurely stroll along the Kadikoy coastline, and trying local delicacies at Kadikoy’s food markets.

Is the Asian side of Istanbul hard to find?

No, the Asian side of Istanbul is easily accessible by the strong transportation networks, including ferries, metro, and buses. Signs and maps are available to guide you as the public transport system in Istanbul is A class.

What Istanbul Asian side attractions are must-sees for a day trip?

For a day trip, must-see attractions on the Asian side of Istanbul include the Maiden’s Tower, the Moda Neighborhood with its charming streets, and the lively Kadikoy Market.

Is Kadikoy Istanbul part of Europe?

No, Kadikoy is part of the Asian side of Istanbul and is located in the Anatolian region, which is in Asia.

Things To Do In Kadikoy

What to do in Kadikoy?

In Kadikoy, you can explore the local markets, visit historical sites like Haydarpasa Train Station, and enjoy the vibrant cafe culture along Kadikoy’s charming streets.

Things to do in Kadikoy for kids?

Kadikoy offers fun activities for kids, including visiting Moda Park, playing at KidZania Istanbul, and enjoying a ferry ride on the Bosphorus.

Things to do in Kadikoy for foodies?

Foodies can indulge in Kadikoy’s culinary delights by trying various street foods, tasting traditional Turkish dishes at local restaurants, and exploring the bustling Kadikoy Market.

Anatolian Side Wrap Up

Istanbul’s Asian side is a wonderful place to explore and experience the beauty of Turkey. From its historic landmarks, such as the Yeni Cami Mosque, to its scenic views from atop Galata Tower, there are plenty of things to do that will make your visit to Istanbul unforgettable.

Whether you’re looking for an adventure or want some time away from it all, there’s something on the Asian side that will suit your needs. So pack your bags and head across the Bosphorus – you won’t regret it!

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