It’s a well known fact that even residents on the Asian side of Istanbul don’t explore all of its beautiful corners on a regular basis. Although the residential character might make wandering around seem like a logistical nightmare, follow these helpful tips for a productive and entertaining morning along the Bosphorus.
7am: outdoor yoga session
Start on the European side of the Bosphorus with a free yoga class at the Sakıp Sabancı Museum, led by teachers from Cihangir Yoga studio. The Müze’de Yoga event series continues every Wednesday morning through September between 7 and 8:15am.
8:30am: breakfast with a view
Even if you decided to skip yoga, you can still treat yourself to a delicious breakfast at MSA’s Restaurant at the museum. Featuring a perfectly executed, innovative menu, and offering a spacious outdoor area with views of the Bosphorus, the restaurant is ideal to enjoy the warm Istanbul fall. Keep in mind that both the restaurant and the museum are closed on Mondays.
10:10am: boat to Kanlıca
Be on time to hop on a boat that will carry you across the strait, to Kanlıca. The trip takes less than 10 minutes (the schedule might differ on weekends) and if you miss this connection, you can still get to the Asian side on little dolmuş-type boats which depart when they’re full.
10:30am: yogurt time
Taking its name after the neighborhood, Kanlıca yogurt is a local trademark best enjoyed at its place of origin. Established in 1870, İsmail Ağa Cafe by the pier serves it the traditional way, with kaymak (clotted cream) on top and sprinkled with some powdered sugar. It also has nostalgic photographs and memorabilia on display. Cash only.
11:30am: palace sightseeing
Among the impressive palaces located along the coasts of the Bosphorus, Küçüksu Pavilion is probably the most overlooked. However, its detailed facade, well maintained gardens, as well as interiors that combine European glamour with Eastern opulence are definitely worth a short visit. Entrance is 20TL and comes with an audio guide that covers all the important information.
12:30pm: fish and mezze for lunch
Kandilli Pier is just a short walk away. Generations of Istanbulites cannot be wrong-the best place to eat in the area is the famous Suna’nın Yeri, where tables slowly take over the entire square as day turns to evening. After a long morning outdoors, nothing is better than diving into some classic Turkish mezze and fresh fish.
2pm: head to Üsküdar
Since the Kandilli Pier is not very busy and has limited service, for more flexibility, head instead towards the Üsküdar ferry port, where you can find convenient connections to most piers in the city. If you haven’t had enough of the Bosphorus for one day, Bosphorus tours are also available and offer breathtaking views of both the European and Asian coasts.