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Istanbul Asian Side Area Guide

For many years, Turks and foreigners have ignored the Istanbul Asian side, instead preferring the old city nostalgia or vibrant city vibes of European Beyoglu. This is slowly changing, though, as travellers now prefer to get off the beaten track, and the Istanbul Asian Side real estate market modernises itself to cash in city dwellings.

Also known as the Anatolian side, increasingly more people are interested in Asian Istanbul, especially property buyers lured by the calmer face of Istanbul and pleasantly surprised at lower price brackets for apartments and villas.

                                 Which Part is the Istanbul Asian Side?

The Asian side is the east of Istanbul, which connects with the rest of Turkey. Separated from the western European part by the Bosphorus Straits, many people refer to Asian Istanbul as the neighbourhoods and districts lining the shores, including Pendik, Beykoz, Umraniye, Kalamis, Bostanci, Salacak, Kuzguncuk, Beylerbi, Cengelkoy, and Kandilli to name but a few. There are many districts when it comes to houses for sale in Asian Istanbul.

The two most prominent and famous hubs are Kadikoy and Uskudar. The first has a large student population; naturally, vibrant nightlife scenes and bar streets have grown around it. It sits aside the Moda district, with exclusive and swanky vibes, while Uskudar portrays an entirely different vibe with a low-key nightlife scene and conservative outlook.

Istanbul Asian Side

How to Get There

The Zincirlikuyu to Sogutlucesme Metrobus route runs from the European side to Kadikoy, but during peak hours, the crowds and journey time spoil the ride. This is also true for the bus and dolmus services, so we prefer the Marmaray train running from European Kazlicesme to Uskudar that goes under the Bosphorus.

If you are arriving from other places in Turkey, use the clean and cheap cross-country system that heads to the Uskudar bus station. Otherwise, if coming from other countries, Sabiha Gokcen airport serves the Istanbul Asian side. This airport has received many international awards and handles 25 million passengers annually. Ayrılık Çeşmesi railway station also sits alongside the Marmary tunnel and connects to the M4 Istanbul Metro.

Bostancı transportation hub features a major bus terminal and ferry terminal. From Bostancı, take trips to various destinations on the Asian and European sides of Istanbul. Bostancı also has a metro station connecting to the M4 Kadıköy-Kartal metro line, providing easy access to other Asian districts.

Riding the Nostalgic Tram and Public Transport

Riding the circular tram in Asian Istanbul provides an efficient mode of transportation for getting around. The tram system, called the "Kadıköy-Moda Nostalgic Tramway" or simply "Kadıköy Tram", operates a single line over 1.6 miles between Kadıköy and Moda neighbourhoods. There are several stops along the route, including Kadıköy, Altıyol, Bahariye, Moda İlkokulu, and Moda Caddesi.

The Kadikoy Tram, a heritage tram known for nostalgic and vintage appearances, adds unique charm to the neighbourhoods. Istanbulkart, a contactless smart card used for public transportation in Istanbul, can be used to pay for tram rides. Simply tap your card on the card reader when entering the tram. The tram connects to other forms of public transportation, such as buses and ferries, making it convenient for passengers to transfer to different parts or to access the European side of Istanbul via ferry from Kadikoy.

Services from the Ferry Pier

The Ferry docks in Asian Istanbul are integral to Istanbul’s transportation system, connecting the Asian side with the European side and nearby islands. These ferry services provide practical means of transportation to enjoy the Bosphorus and surrounding waters.

Istanbul has several ferry lines that operate between the Asian and European sides. Some major ferry lines include İDO (Istanbul Deniz Otobüsleri), Şehir Hatları, and BUDO (Bursa Deniz Otobüsleri). These companies offer various routes, schedules, and destinations. Popular ferry piers on the Asian side include Kadikoy and Uskudar, which connect to various European terminals.

In addition to regular commuter ferries, enjoy Bosphorus cruise tours from the ferry terminal for more leisurely experiences. These tours often provide commentary about historic landmarks and palaces along the Bosphorus. Istanbul's ferry pier also connects several islands like Buyukada, Heybeliada, and Burgazada. These islands are known for their charming ambience and are popular day trip destinations. You can catch island ferries from European Kabataş Asian Bostancı or Kadikoy.

Shopping on the Asian Side

Explore the 14-kilometre Bagdat Avenue (Bagdat Caddesi) in Bostanci that some travel writers have called Turkey’s equivalent of Rodeo Drive. Known for glitz and swanky roadside cafes, the one-way avenue features many shopping brands, centres, boutiques and stalls. Often, high-end luxury cars cruise Bagdat Avenue, covering the neighbourhoods of Cevizli, Maltepe, Altintepe Bostanici and more.

However, the Kadikoy market highlights cultural Anatolian Istanbul if you want to go low-key. As the most popular bazaar in Asian Istanbul, it sells everything and anything. Otherwise, the broad range of shopping malls, including Akasya, Palladium, Maltepe Park and Kozzy, prove that when spending your cash, there is ample places to do so.

What to See and Do

As mentioned, seaside life gets popular at weekends, especially in bars and cafes. However, exploring the old churches of Kadikoy displays the diverse history when teamed with a visit to the nostalgic mosques of Uskudar and Maidens Tower. Also called Kiz Kulesi and sitting just off the shoreline, the tower, one of Istanbul’s oldest landmarks, hosts a small restaurant for evening-time dining.

For authentic architecture, head to Yeldeğirmeni or Kuzguncuk neighbourhoods. The latter is where many Turkish soap operas have been filmed because of the old Ottoman yali houses, while the first is also famous for the art murals. Take a trip to the northern point to visit Anadolu Hisari, an ancient fortress and prominent historical landmark that makes for a relaxing day out and gives off stunning views. Bostancı also boasts a beautiful seaside promenade, perfect for leisurely walks, jogging, or enjoying sea and island views. The district has parks and recreational areas along the coast.

The famous Bull Statue, also called the "Kadikoy Bull" (Kadikoy Boğası in Turkish), is a prominent and iconic landmark and popular meeting place and photography spot. Made by the famous French sculptor Isidore Bonheur, the Bull Statue, a bronze sculpture, stands on a marble pedestal. And symbolises Kadıköy's energetic and dynamic character.

The Moda District of Asian Istanbul

Moda, also called Caferaga Mahallesi, is a fabulous location within the larger Kadıköy Municipality. Famous for picturesque streets, vibrant atmospheres, and blended modernity with traditional Turkish charm, Kadife Sokak is a popular place within Moda. As a dynamic and culturally diverse area in Asian Istanbul, Moda is also one of Istanbul's oldest and most historic neighbourhoods. It was once a prominent summer resort area during the late Ottoman period, and remnants of that era's architecture can still be seen.

Moda’s scenic seaside promenade offers stunning Marmara Sea views and is popular for leisurely walks, jogging, or simply relaxing and enjoying sea breezes. Moda also features several parks and green spaces, including Moda Park (Moda Parkı), a central gathering place for residents and visitors. These parks are ideal for picnics, outdoor activities, and socializing, or you can eat and drink in the many cafes, restaurants, and eateries with various dining options, from traditional Turkish cuisine to international dishes and trendy coffee shops.

The district’s thriving cultural and artistic scene features numerous art galleries, theatres, and live music venues. Otherwise, Moda’s shops, boutiques, and markets are where to find fashion, antiques, and local products. You'll also find artisans and craft shops offering handmade goods and souvenirs. Moda is easily accessible by public transport, including buses and the Kadıköy-Moda Nostalgic Tramway (tram), which provides nostalgic travel experiences.

The Glory of Bahariye Street

Bahariye Street, or Bahariye Caddesi, is a famous and busy street in Kadikoy, Bahariye Street’s vibrant atmosphere lends weight to lined shops, boutiques, cafes, restaurants, bookstores, and cultural venues. This popular destination for locals and tourists alike offers traditional Turkish charm and modern amenities. Visitors to Bahariye Street explore numerous shops selling clothing, jewellery, antiques, and handicrafts.

The street also has several theatres and art galleries to enjoy live performances and exhibitions. One key attraction on Bahariye Street is the historical Süreyya Opera House, an elegant and ornate theatre that hosts various cultural events, including operas, ballets, and concerts. In addition to cultural and commercial offerings, Bahariye Street is famous for its lively street life. You can sit in cafes or tea houses along the street and watch the world go by, making this street an excellent spot for people-watching.

Food and Drink in Asian Istanbul

Eating out in Asian Istanbul, specifically in Kadikoy and surrounding areas, offers diverse and delicious culinary experiences, from traditional Turkish cuisine to international restaurants and trendy cafes. Try Adana kebabs, Iskender kebabs, or shish kebabs at local grill restaurants like Ciya Sofrasi, Develi, or Karadeniz Pide & Kebap Salonu.

Head to the Kadikoy Fish Market (Balık Pazarı) for fish and seafood restaurants. Balıkçı Sabahattin is a renowned seafood restaurant. Enjoy traditional Turkish breakfasts with cheeses, olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, and pastries. Cafes like Van Kahvaltı Evi and Journey Cafe & Bistro offer delightful breakfast spreads.

Try Turkish flatbreads like pide (similar to pizza) and lahmacun (thin, round dough topped with minced meat and spices). Pideci Şahin Usta and Güneş Pide are popular spots. Taste Turkish dumplings known as manti, typically filled with meat or cheese and served with yoghurt and garlic. Visit Mivan Restaurant for delicious manti dishes. Satisfy your sweet tooth with baklava, Turkish delight, and other delectable desserts. Karaköy Güllüoğlu and Hafız Mustafa are renowned for their sweet treats. Check out places like Zencefil or Bi Nevi Deli for vegetarian and vegan food.

Don't miss trying popular Turkish street foods like simit (sesame-covered bread rings), midye dolma (stuffed mussels), and kokoreç (spiced lamb offal sandwich) from street vendors. Lastly, enjoy strong and aromatic Turkish coffee at local tea houses and cafes. Coffee shops range from your traditional Turkish cup of coffee that is stronger than black coffee to the modern Starbucks

The Famous Landmark of Haydarpasa Station

Haydarpaşa Station, officially known as Haydarpaşa Terminal (Haydarpaşa Garı in Turkish), is Istanbul’s most iconic and historic railway station. Completed in 1908 by the Anatolian Railway (CFOA) as part of the Ottoman railway network. The station building is an impressive example of neoclassical and neo-renaissance architecture with grandeur, a distinctive clock tower and intricate façade details. The station reflects 20th-century European architectural styles.

Haydarpaşa Station connected Istanbul's Asian side with the rest of Turkey and Europe by rail. It was the main terminal for trains departing to Anatolia and other major cities in Turkey; hence, it was the busiest train station in Turkey. The station is also historically significant as the starting point for the renowned Orient Express, a long-distance passenger train service connecting Istanbul to Paris via several European capitals.

Due to renovation and restoration efforts, passenger train services from Haydarpaşa Station have been temporarily suspended. However, commuter trains (suburban trains) operate from the station's adjacent platforms. There have been discussions and plans to redevelop and repurpose the station area, but they remain controversial among preservationists, urban planners, and authorities.

Uskudar in Istranbul

From Asian Istanbul to the Princes Islands

Travelling from the Asian side of Istanbul to the Princes' Islands (Adalar) is popular with locals and tourists. The Princes' Islands feature Buyukada, the largest and most frequently visited by people who want to see Aya Yorgi Church.

Start your journey by making your way to Bostancı. Bostancı has a ferry terminal (Bostancı İskelesi) from which you can catch a ferry to Buyukada and other Princes' Islands. Purchase your ferry ticket at the terminal or online through the official websites of ferry companies, such as İDO (Istanbul Deniz Otobüsleri) or Turyol. Once aboard the ferry, enjoy the scenic journey across the Sea of Marmara. The ferry ride provides beautiful views of Istanbul’s skyline, the Bosphorus, and the islands.

Upon arriving at Buyukada, disembark from the ferry and explore the island by walking, renting a bicycle, or taking a tour. Buyukada offers picturesque streets, historic buildings, beautiful beaches, and various dining options. Popular attractions include Aya Yorgi Church and the island's historic mansions. The journey from Asian Istanbul to the Princes' Islands is a delightful day trip or getaway from the city's hustle and bustle.

                                 Why Home Owners Like Asian Istanbul

Affordability: While European Istanbul often gets more attention, the Asian side offers several advantages and opportunities for real estate investment. Property prices in Asian Istanbul are more affordable than on the European side, making the area attractive for those looking to enter the Istanbul real estate market or invest in a second home.

Scenic Beauty and Lifestyle: Asian Istanbul offers picturesque landscapes, including views of the Bosphorus, the Sea of Marmara, and the Princes' Islands. Waterfront properties, in particular, provide breathtaking vistas. There is also more relaxed and suburban lifestyles compared to the European side. Neighbourhoods are often quieter and less congested, making this side ideal for families and those seeking peaceful environments. Numerous parks and green areas also provide opportunities for outdoor activities, picnics, and relaxation. Moda, Caddebostan, and Fenerbahçe are just a few examples of neighbourhoods with beautiful green spaces.

Transportation, Education and Healthcare: The Asian side is well-connected to the European side by various transportation options, including ferries, bridges, the Marmaray metro line, and Metrobus. Commuting between the two sides is relatively convenient. In addition, Asian Istanbul offers access to quality international schools, universities, and healthcare facilities.

Investment Potential and Development: While property prices are generally lower on the Asian side, there is still significant potential for property appreciation over time. As Istanbul continues to grow and develop, property values may increase. The Asian side is experiencing ongoing development and infrastructure improvements. This includes new residential projects, commercial developments, and transportation upgrades contributing to the area's appeal.

Enquire About Homes in Asian Istanbul

So, as you can see, the Asian side of Istanbul is a great place to live and own property. If you would like to know more, call our Istanbul office today and chat with one of our local agents. Alternatively, see our wide range of properties by pressing the button below. Each listing contains everything to know, including price, home features and location details without Asian Istanbul.

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