Where in the world can you travel from one continent to another for less than a simple London bus fare? Exactly, only in Istanbul.
For a very enjoyable day trip take the ferry from either EminÃ¶nÃ¼ or Karakoy and embark on a 40 minute â€˜cruiseâ€™ to KadikÃ¶y. Arriving at the ferry terminal you feel the much more sedate, typically Turkish middle class atmosphere of the â€˜otherâ€™Â Istanbul. There is no sign which says Welcome to Asia, people donâ€™t look different or speak another language, but the first thing you notice is the absence of camera toting tourists.
Instead you are greeted by a sea of flowers, as right opposite the ferry terminal, in a vast square is one of the most beautiful flower markets I have seen in Istanbul. Right next to it you find another historical train station: Haydarpasa station, very much in the style of Sirkeci Gare but less spectacular. Once the terminal for the famous Bagdad-Istanbul line, it now serves trains to Asia.
The beauty of KadikÃ¶y is not as eye catching as the overwhelming array of world famous buildings and monuments which you find at every twist and turn in Sultanahmed and beyond. Hence the absence of tourist groups. You have to look a bit closer to find the charm of KadikÃ¶y. A lot of the attraction is about food and drink and many cafes and restaurants whichÂ excellent Turkish dishes, at much lower prices than on the other side. I loved this patisserie which specializes in sweets and decorations for new babies.
The main street, Bagdat Caddesi is a commercial place with department stores and other outlets ,much frequented by locals from both sides of Istanbul. A streetcar runs along, blue and white in color but, sadly, plastered from top to bottom with adverts.
You will find art as well in KadakÃ¶y, like this bronze hand, but, again, rather subdued as opposed to ostentatious. Stroll along, shop or window shop, sit in one of the restaurants and then make your way to the bank of the Bosporus to admire some very fine, old, wooden mansions.
Return to the European side either again by ferry or over one of the bridges where, indeed, you will see a sign saying: Welcome to Europe.
More Istanbul Tips
You’ll find lot of ideas for things to do in Istanbul in our Best of Istanbul Tips.
Where to Stay in Istanbul
To help you find a hotel for your stay in the city, you can check out our round-up of the Best Places to Stay in Istanbul, which includes a range of hotels from budget through to luxury.