Kadikoy, a former Greek colony, is one of the oldest settlements in Istanbul. Although not much remains of its past, Kadikoy provides a glimpse into the “real” Istanbul of today. Home to more than half a million inhabitants, this jewel on the Asian side of Istanbul somehow still manages to be both lively and laid back at the same time.
Kadikoy’s appeal is broad. With its narrow, cobbled streets, artsy cafes and bars, bustling street markets and reasonably priced restaurants, it’s a welcome contrast from the tourist oriented and often pricey Sultanahmet.
There is a quaint looking nostalgic tram which runs the 2.6km distance from Kadikoy center, along Bahariye Street and onto to the upmarket seaside district of Moda.
Kadikoy has a large number of universities and English language schools, making it a popular choice for students and expats to live and work. It’s also a good place to find English books including second hand ones. Those in the know head to Akmar Passage arcade which houses over thirty different bookshops.
For a pleasant shopping and coffee experience, take the tram to Bahariye Street - a rival of Istiklal Caddesi; or head to Bagdat Street, one of Kadikoy’s most upmarket shopping streets which stretches for a whopping six kilometers.
Foodwise, there’s also a fish market which stocks an impressive array of fresh seafood and has a number of neighboring shops specializing in cheeses, dried fruit, nuts and other gourmet foodstuffs. Popular restaurants in the area include Ciya Restaurant and Selale.
Although the nightlife is not as large as that of Beyoglu’s, Kadikoy nevertheless has an impressive array of bars and nightclubs playing a variety of music ranging from metal to rock, pop, folk and jazz, including those on Guneslibahce Street and the unofficially named Barlar Caddesi (Bar Street).
If all the consumerism gets too much, set to the skies to clear the head. For one of the best aerial views of Istanbul, Kadikoy’s Turk Balon (Balloon) soars to a height of 200 meters.
Kadikoy has a well-developed transport system with links to many parts of the city. The main ferry, bus and minibus terminal are all located in the same area, while Haydarpasa, the main railway station on the Asian side, is where all trains departing south and east of Istanbul leave from.
There are ferry terminals which depart to destinations on the European side of the city including Besiktas, Karakoy and Eminonu.