For many years, Turks and foreigners have ignored the Istanbul Asian side, instead preferring the nostalgia of the old city or vibes of Beyoglu in the European part. 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 on the growing popularity of city dwelling.
Also known as the Anatolian side, increasingly more people are taking an interest in Asian Istanbul, especially property buyers lured by the calmer face of Istanbul, and pleasantly surprised at its lower price brackets for apartments and villas.
Which Part is the Istanbul Asian Side?
The Asian side is the east of Istanbul that 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.
The two most prominent and famous hubs of the Asian side are Kadikoy and Uskudar. The first has a large student population and naturally, a vibrant nightlife scene and bar street has grown up around it. It sits aside the Moda district, known for its exclusive and swanky vibes, while Uskudar portrays an entirely different vibe with its low-key nightlife and conservative outlook.
How to Get There
If you are on the European side of Istanbul, regular ferry services leave from Eminonu, Kabatas and Besiktas. Arriving at Kadikoy or Uskudar, the ferries are a surprisingly enjoyable and cheap method of city travel.
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 instead prefer the Marmaray train running from Kazlicesme to Uskudar that goes under the Bosphorus.
If you are arriving from other places in Turkey, use the clean and cheap cross-country bus system. Otherwise, if you are coming from other countries, Sabiha Gokcen airport serves the Istanbul Asian side. It has received many international awards and handles 25 million passengers a year.
Shopping on the Istanbul Asian Side
Explore the 14-kilometre Bagdat Avenue that some travel writers have called Turkey’s equivalent of Rodeo Drive. Known for its glitz, and swanky roadside cafes, the one-way avenue is home to many shopping brands, centres, boutiques and stalls. Often high-end luxury cars cruise the road covering the neighbourhoods of Cevizli, Maltepe, Altintepe and Bostanici to name but a few.
If you want to go low-key, however, Kadikoy market is a journey into the cultural side of Anatolian Istanbul. It is the most popular bazaar in this region and many people who have bought apartments and villas on the Istanbul Asian side visit it, just because it sells everything and anything.
Otherwise, the broad range of shopping malls including Akasya, Palladium, Maltepe Park and Kozzy prove that when it comes to spending your cash on the Istanbul Asian side, there is no shortage of places to do it.
Attractions, Activities and Things to Do
Whether you buy property on the Istanbul Asian side for a holiday retreat or permanent living, you will always find a wealth of recreational pursuits on your doorstep. As mentioned before, seaside life is the preferred thing to do at the weekend, especially in the 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, sitting just off the shoreline is one of Istanbul’s oldest landmarks and hosts a small restaurant for evening time dining.
Many Turkish soap operas have featured the neighbourhood of Kuzguncuk, that along with other areas is famous for its old Yali houses. During Ottoman times, these were summer homes for wealthy people of the empire. These days, some are still privately owned while others are open to the public, but even if you cannot get inside, the exterior architecture and individuality of each Yali are spectacular.
The area is an excellent base to reach, the rest of the city which offers, even more, things to do so if you are looking for property for sale on the Istanbul Asian side, you will find all the qualities of city life, just in a more relaxed and calmer atmosphere than the centre.