Previously I already explained when and why it is worth to visit the Asian side of Istanbul. If you missed that part, I strongly suggest you to read it first. In this second leg of this series on Istanbul’s Asian shore, I’ll focus on famous places such as Fenerbahçe, Bağdat Caddesi, Haydarpaşa, Üsküdar, and how to reach the Maiden Tower.
Fenerbahçe and Kalamış Marinas
Behind Moda, and still in the south west of Kadıköy, you’ll find the adjacent Fenerbahçe and Kalamış Marinas. With a combined capacity of 1120 boats, it is the biggest marina of Turkey. To pay them a visit you can walk parallel with the sea from Moda all the way until you reach the Fenerbahçe S.K. football stadium. Alternatively you can take a taxi or dolmuş that leave from Kadıköy to Bostancı. In that case, get off 250 meters past Fenerbahçe football stadium. Either way, on the right hand side take Kökdere Street which connects to Minur Nurettin Selçuk Street approximately 100 meters further. After you pass Kalamış Park on your right, you will reach the marinas.
When you keep on walking in the same direction you will not be able to see the sea for a while, but there is no need to worry. After you pass the historical Kalamış Kiosk on your right, you will connect to Fener Kalamış Street. Stay on that street and keep on walking until you arrive in Fenerbahçe Parkı. This park has plenty of nice cafes in a green environment overlooking the Sea of Marmara.
Private Cruise Operators
If you take a yellow minibus from Kadıköy to Bostancı (alt Bostancı for the seaside route) you can observe the most noteworthy part of the southeast coastal districts of Kadıköy. The road you take runs parallel with the sea. When you reach Bostancı, look for the famous Bağdat Caddesi and start your walk back to Kadıköy.
Today the area surrounding Bağdat Avanue is an upper-class residential area. The avenue itself is well-known for its posh shops with world famous and local brands, shopping malls, department stores, both local and international cuisine restaurants, cafes and pubs. The atmosphere is great and almost all the stores are open every day of the week — including Sunday afternoon. This one-way avenue runs 6 km from Bostancı to Kızıltoprak, almost parallel with the coastline of the Sea of Marmara. In case you get tired (of shopping), just hop on a dolmuş passing by back to Kadıköy.
Guided Tours of Istanbuls Asian Side
If you take the ferry to Kadıköy, then it’s hard not to notice the Port of Haydarpaşa and the Haydarpaşa Railway Station. The first is one of the main container terminals of Turkey, while the second is a Neo-Renaissance style building built in 1908 as the Istanbul-Baghdad and Istanbul-Damascus-Medina railway terminal.
North of Kadıköy
When you get off the ferry in Kadıköy, the first main street you will come across is Haydarpaşa Rıhtım Caddesi. While facing the land, turn left. At a certain point the two way street becomes a one way street and starts listening to the name of Tıbbıye Caddesi — you will walk in the opposite direction. This is a wide and nice road to walk and see both Kadıköy and the waterfront from a higher viewpoint.
When you reach the point where the Dr. Siyami Ersek Hospital is on your right and the Haydarpaşa Campus of the Marmara University is on your left, take a taxi down to the left on Burhan Felek Street. That road will take you to Harem where the Anatolian Bus terminal is located. You are now again on the sea side road which takes you to Üsküdar and even further to Beykoz.
Local Guided Tours that include Ferry Rides
Üsküdar was a Greek colony in the 7th century B.C., known for its pier and Byzantine Chalcedon shipyards. Today it consists of no less than 52 districts. During the Ottoman Empire Üsküdar was a very popular Turkish settlement area. Proof of which the huge amount of mosques, fountains, waterside mansions and palaces in the area. Among the most famous ones are Beylerbeyi Palace, Beylerbeyi Mosque, Yeni Valide Mosque, Ostrorog House, Edib Efendi Mansion, Hidiv Kiosk and the Ahmet III Fountain on Üsküdar Square. You can take a taxi to Üsküdar from Kadıköy or you can hop on a ferry from Eminönü or Beşiktaş and reach Üsküdar Square in 20 minutes.
The Maiden Tower
The first notes about the tower go way back to 410 B.C. Constructed and rennovated several times, the Maiden Tower (Kız Kulesi) opened its doors to the public for the first time in 2000. Today it is a bar, cafe and restaurant combination with undoubtedly one of the greatest Istanbul views. The restaurant is not worth the money, so I suggest just going for a drink or a snack.
You can reach the Maiden Tower by boat from Üsküdar-Salacak. Starting from 12:30, there is a shuttle every 15 minutes. There are also boats departing from Ortaköy and Kabataş on the European side. (Attention! Kabataş ferry dock closed, use Eminönü or Beşiktaş instead) For the latest information, check out the Maiden Tower’s official site.