We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Getting to the Asian side of Istanbul on your own

Which Istanbul hotels are on sale?
dd/mm/yyyy dd/mm/yyyy
See hotels
Florida
Level Contributor
12 posts
108 reviews
Save Topic
Getting to the Asian side of Istanbul on your own

We sailed into Istanbul on the Celebrity Reflection for 2 days this summer. Others have posted extensively on navigating the city and the major sites which was helpful in planning our trip. I was very interested in visiting the Asian side but couldn't find much advise in that regard. This post is to help those figure out the ferry system who want to visit the Asian side.

Although the cruiseline offered cruises along the Bosphorus, none actually stopped on the Asian side. With advanced planning we were able to do this on our own. It's safe, inexpensive and easy. What I learned before going is that the company which operates Istanbul's official sea bus/municipal ferries is called Sehir Hatlari. Think about the municipal ferry lines like you would a subway or city bus system in any major city. Sehir Hatlari is owned and operated by the government just the same way. Many people live on the Asian side but work on the European side and commute back and forth each day by boat. It also operates the Bosphorus cruises, but if you don't have time/interest in one of those you can certainly just hop a passenger ferry between the 2 continents.

Ferry line stops and schedules are on their website at http://sehirhatlari.com.tr/en. They're clean, modern, and convenient. If you're going to do this, you can print out maps of the stops and corresponding schedules to help you determine where you want to go and when the ferries arrive/leave. The ferry stops are well-marked and all the people are very nice if you need help. TIP: They also have a mobile app which I downloaded on my phone in advance of the trip.

Here are 3 stops to help you get your bearings:

European Side

The Karakoy ferry stop is nearest where the cruise lines dock on the European side. This ferry stop is at the base of the Galata Bridge before you cross the Golden Horn.

The Eminonu ferry stop is on the other side of the Galata Bridge nearer the Sultanhamet (historic district) across the Golden Horn but still on the European side.

Asian Side

The Kadikoy ferry stop is just one town on the Asian side and the destination we'd planned to visit before leaving home. It was described as a lively area with up-market shopping, eating, and entertainment making it popular with wealthy locals.

Leaving Europe / Buying our Ferry Token / Boarding the Ferry

At the Eminonu ferry stop, we saw the building that said Kadikoy (our destination). You buy a token for your fare from a kiosk. The only difficulty we had with this, and what I hadn't prepared for, was that it was in Turkish. Luckily, a very nice man working a fruit stand saw we were having difficulty and actually ran over to help us. Like our own vending machines, the kiosk seems sometime temperamental with paper money. He kept flattening it out (a universal solution apparently) and had to try several times before it actually took the money. If you put paper money in, you'll get change back in coins. The ferry token and coins look a lot alike to the foreign visitor. He was nice enough to pull the token out separately and hand it to us. The token is slightly smaller. TIP: If you know you're going to return to the same stop, then go ahead and buy your return token at the same time.

After you have your token, just walk to the entrance (it's right there and can't be missed). Drop your token into the turnstile and just walk on the ferry. There's indoor and outdoor open seating and upstairs had a coffee stand selling food and drinks. We left from Eminonu and the fare cost us 1.95TL pp each way and the trip was about 15 minutes and provided breathtaking views of Istanbul.

Arriving in Asia / Returning to Europe

We got off the ferry in Kadikoy and there are people everywhere along with ice cream stands, etc. We walked down to the right a hundred yards or so along the promenade on the waterfront taking pictures. We came to a large square where locals were milling about, children playing in the square, and a large Turkish flag (more pictures). If you face the town with the water at your back and look straight ahead about 200 hundred yards, you'll see a Starbucks on the corner. We walked in that direction and spent about 2 hours exploring the narrow streets lined with shops, cafes, restaurants, stopping for Turkish coffee, browsing bookstores, etc. To return, we walked back to the Kadikoy ferry stop and this time looked for Eminonu. We could've also taken the Karakoy ferry if we were headed back directly to the ship.

On a related note, I can't stress enough how helpful the Turkish people are. We stopped numerous times to ask for directions to various museums, mosques, and other landmarks and each person was kind and encouraging. Although salesman were certainly interested in our business, we found them to be friendly in their persistence but never rude or aggressive.

I'm so glad we did this and I hope this helps others who want to do the same thing but who might be nervous. It was so easy to do and worth the little bit of effort to figure it out to say you actually stepped foot in Asia. Next time, I'm going to Asia for dinner!

Mount Dora, Florida
Destination Expert
for Istanbul
Level Contributor
14,122 posts
243 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Getting to the Asian side of Istanbul on your own

HI learnlovelivetravel, Thank you for an exceptionally detailed set of instructions for people who want to visit the Asian side of the city. You have provided some very practical information for new visitors. You explored one of my very favorite neighborhoods in Kadikoy. I am particularly fond of the fresh food market. It always makes me hungry, but the famous Ciya restaurant is only a few blocks on down the road from the fresh food market, and you can have a very authentic Turkish meal there before returning to the European side. You should try it the next time you visit Kadikoy.

My other favorite food in Kadikoy is the coup grillet served at Baylon very near Ciya. This is the best ice cream sundae I have ever eaten.

Surrey England
Level Contributor
2,327 posts
85 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Getting to the Asian side of Istanbul on your own

Thanks for this LLLTravel.This is really useful information.

Maryland
Level Contributor
518 posts
37 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Getting to the Asian side of Istanbul on your own

We'll be in Istanbul this saturday and I plan on taking the ferry to Kadikoy, so this detailed thread comes just in time, am bookmarking it, thanks a ton!

Istanbul
Destination Expert
for Istanbul
Level Contributor
36,263 posts
65 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Getting to the Asian side of Istanbul on your own

Mummygaot and prish_12, Here is my thread on things to do at the Asian side Istanbul. "tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g293974-i368-k1844…".

enigma...

ventura, ca
Level Contributor
18 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Getting to the Asian side of Istanbul on your own

Just to add, Turqol also runs ferries over to Kadikoy. Definitely worth a trip over. We did it today and enjoyed the whole neighborhood plus the ferry has great views of the sights in the old city. A Turkish version of the Staten Island Ferry. With the Istanbul kart just 1.4 TL each way.

Maryland
Level Contributor
518 posts
37 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Getting to the Asian side of Istanbul on your own

Thanks enigma:)

Florida
Level Contributor
12 posts
108 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Getting to the Asian side of Istanbul on your own

So glad. Have fun!

Florida
Level Contributor
12 posts
108 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Getting to the Asian side of Istanbul on your own

Yes, I'd read about CIYA and we passed by. The food looked and smelled delicious. I'm keeping it on my list of places to dine if we have a return trip. Thanks for the added endorsement.

9. Re: Getting to the Asian side of Istanbul on your own

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 26 September 2014, 06:20