I’m planning my third short trip to Istanbul next month. I’ve seen all the sights in the Old Quarter (Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar) but would like to know what is worth visiting across the Bosphorus on the Asian side. Any ideas? Emma, via email
Istanbul is a fascinating place so I can see why you’re keen to visit a third time! Straddling two continents, Istanbul sits on both the European and Asian sides of the Bosphorus River, making it a tantalising mix of cultures.
Whilst the city’s old quarter, Sultanahmet, is a tourist hotspot packed with famous sights such as the Ayasofya and the Blue Mosque, there are many more sides of this cosmopolitan city to see.
Üsküdar on the Asian side of the Bosphorus is just a 15-minute ferry ride from the European part. Visit during the week and divide your time between admiring the contrasting architecture of the area’s two mosques – the modern Sakirin Mosque and the more traditional Atik Valide Mosque – and indulging in some people-watching from one of the busy cafes.
Mistabul Hancı Café has a great view of the Bosphorus and there’s always the chance you’ll spot a local fisherman reeling in a catch.
The Golden Horn section of the Bosphorus is also definitely worth checking out. This frenetic and exciting part of the city is best seen from Taksim Square, which at night comes alive with thousands of tourists and locals alike converging to sample the wild nightlife. Istiklal Caddesi is the main artery of this area and a good place for an evening stroll.
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