• Follow a guide across the Bosphorus to see things you can’t find on your own
  • Take a 20-minute cruise to the Asian shores and explore two contrasting suburbs
  • For phenomenal food, don’t miss the culinary markets and mind-boggling kebab selection

Surprisingly few visitors to Istanbul venture over to the Asian shores of the Bosphorus. Explore the contrasting suburbs of Üsküdar and Kadıköy with Emin Saatci, an exceptional guide who will take you to places you’d never find on your own. Getting there is half the fun. From Beşiktaş pier, Sehir Hatlari commuter ferries shuttle between the two continents roughly every half an hour until around 9 p.m. It’s an exhilarating 20-minute cruise to conservative Üsküdar, then a short cab ride to Şakirin Camii, the first mosque in Turkey designed by a woman. With its plexiglass chandeliers and futuristic fountains, it’s a dazzling antidote to the adjacent Karacaahmet Cemetery, where thousands of inscribed gravestones lie among cypress groves. Kadıköy has a more bohemian feel, with its student bars and dusty antique shops along Tellazade Caddesi. Don’t miss the fish market on Güneşli Bahçe Sokak, a few blocks inland from the dock landing. The potent pickles and spices are a steal, and the expensive organic honey from Etabal is worth every penny. Çiya, which has three outposts on the same street, looks like an unassuming canteen, but the food is phenomenal. The vast repertoire of obscure Anatolian dishes at Çiya Sofrasi is heaven for vegetarians. Carnivores can choose from a mind-boggling selection of kebabs across the street (try the “sour kebab” marinated in pomegranate juice). Time your return to watch dusk settle over Topkapı as you sail back to Europe.

Make your way to Beşiktaş pier to hop aboard a commuter ferry. After a 20-minute cruise to Üsküdar, take a short cab ride to Şakirin Camii which is on Nuhkuyusu Caddesi. Adjacent to the mosque is Karacaahmet Cemetery and the local outposts Etabal and Çiya can be found on Güneşli Bahçe Sokak.

EMIN SAATCI: +90-536-243-8488;


ŞAKIRIN CAMII: Nuhkuyusu Caddesi No: 2;


ETABAL: 28/A Güneşli Bahçe Sokak; +90-(0)216-414-9977;

ÇIYA: 43, 44, & 48/B Güneşli Bahçe Sokak; +90-(0)216-336-3013 or +90-(0)216-330-3190;