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A Day In Kadikoy: Scenes From Istanbul’s Asian Side


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Dodie Lahr



Welcome to Kadikoy, the vibrant cultural hub on Istanbul’s Asian side. Known for its rich history, artistic flair, and buzzing atmosphere, Kadikoy offers a unique experience for both locals and tourists. While the European side of Istanbul often steals the limelight, venturing to the Asian side introduces you to a different side of the city. Here, you’ll find a blend of tradition and modernity, with a thriving arts and culture scene that is unparalleled.


Kadikoy is a neighborhood steeped in history, tracing its origins back to ancient times. Formerly known as Chalcedon, the area was an important settlement during Byzantine, Roman, and Ottoman eras. Today, it proudly carries the legacy of its past, evident in its historic buildings, cobblestone streets, and archaeological sites.


Aside from its historical significance, Kadikoy is known for its vibrant morning and nightlife. Whether you’re an early riser or a night owl, Kadikoy has something to offer. Start your day by immersing yourself in the local culture, exploring the bustling markets, indulging in delicious Turkish delicacies, and strolling along the seafront.


Kadikoy is famous for its markets, where locals and tourists alike come to shop for fresh produce, spices, and various other goods. The Kadikoy Market, also known as the Kadikoy Pazari, is a popular spot where you can find an array of colorful and aromatic items. Get lost in the maze of stalls, taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of the market.


After a morning of exploration, satisfy your taste buds with a traditional Turkish lunch at one of the many authentic restaurants in Kadikoy. Feast on mouthwatering kebabs, mezes, and baklava as you soak in the ambiance of the local dining scene.


No visit to Kadikoy is complete without a leisurely stroll along the seafront. Gaze out at the serene waters of the Marmara Sea and enjoy the cool breeze as you walk along the Kadikoy Pier. This is the perfect spot to take in the beauty of Istanbul’s skyline from a different perspective and capture some breathtaking photos.


If you’re looking for an escape from the hustle and bustle, head to the Moda neighborhood, a tranquil oasis within Kadikoy. This neighborhood is known for its charming streets, picturesque parks, and cozy cafes. Take a leisurely walk and immerse yourself in the laid-back atmosphere of Moda.


Historical Background of Kadikoy

Kadikoy holds a rich historical background that spans centuries. Its story begins in ancient times when it was known as Chalcedon, one of the oldest settlements in the area. Founded in the 7th century BC by Greek colonists, Chalcedon thrived as a prosperous city-state that played a significant role in the region’s trade and commerce.


During the Byzantine period, Chalcedon continued to flourish and grew in importance. It became a major port city and a significant center for trade with its strategic location on the Anatolian side of the Bosphorus. The city witnessed conquests and struggles between several empires, including the Romans and the Persians.


In 1353, Chalcedon was captured by the Ottomans, marking the end of Byzantine rule in the area. Under Ottoman rule, the city gradually transformed, and its name was changed to Kadikoy, meaning “Village of the Judge” in Turkish. The new name reflects the importance of the neighborhood as a center for legal matters during the Ottoman era.


During the Ottoman period, Kadikoy played a crucial role in the cultural and economic development of Istanbul. It became a hub for art, literature, and music, attracting scholars, artists, and intellectuals from all over the empire. Many renowned Turkish poets and writers resided in Kadikoy, leaving behind a rich literary legacy that is still celebrated today.


Throughout its history, Kadikoy has faced various challenges, including fires and earthquakes. However, the resilient spirit of its residents has always prevailed, allowing the neighborhood to rebuild and reinvent itself time and time again.


Today, Kadikoy showcases a mesmerizing blend of ancient structures and modern developments. Its streets are lined with historical buildings adorned with intricate facades, while stylish cafes, trendy boutiques, and contemporary art galleries bring a modern touch to the neighborhood.


Kadikoy’s historical significance is further enhanced by its archaeological sites. The Yoros Castle, located on the nearby hill, offers panoramic views of the surrounding area and serves as a reminder of the neighborhood’s past. Visitors can also explore the remains of the ancient town walls and the Chalcedon Necropolis, where ancient tombs and burial chambers can be found.


By understanding the historical background of Kadikoy, visitors can truly appreciate the neighborhood’s unique charm. From its ancient origins to its vibrant present, Kadikoy showcases the layers of history and culture that have shaped Istanbul’s Asian side.


Morning Activities in Kadikoy

Start your day in Kadikoy by embracing the energetic and lively atmosphere that fills the streets. Whether you’re an early riser or prefer to sleep in, there are plenty of activities to kick-start your morning in this vibrant neighborhood.


One popular morning activity is to visit the Kadikoy Market, also known as the Kadikoy Pazari. This bustling market is a feast for the senses, with a wide array of stalls selling everything from fresh produce to spices, clothing, and artisanal products. Take a leisurely stroll through the market, and immerse yourself in the vibrant colors, enticing aromas, and lively sounds. Engage in friendly banter with the local vendors, sample some of the delicious street food, and experience the dynamic energy of the market.


If you’re interested in exploring Kadikoy’s artistic side, a visit to the Istanbul Modern Art Museum is a must. This contemporary art museum showcases a diverse collection of Turkish and international artworks, ranging from paintings to sculptures and installations. Take your time to appreciate the thought-provoking exhibitions and immerse yourself in the vibrant art scene of Istanbul.


For those seeking a more tranquil start to their morning, a visit to one of Kadikoy’s many parks is a great choice. The Fenerbahce Park, with its lush greenery, picturesque pathways, and stunning views of the sea, offers a peaceful oasis away from the city’s hustle and bustle. Take a leisurely walk or find a quiet spot to relax and enjoy the serenity of nature.


Another option is to start your day with a refreshing walk along the Kadikoy coastline. The Moda Sahili, a popular seaside promenade, offers breathtaking views of the Marmara Sea. Breathe in the fresh air, feel the cool breeze on your face, and embrace the tranquility of the seafront as you stroll along the path. You can also catch a glimpse of the famous Maiden’s Tower, a small tower built on a tiny islet just off the coast.


If you’re an early bird, you may also want to experience the local tradition of Turkish breakfast. Many cafes and restaurants in Kadikoy offer a traditional Turkish breakfast spread, known as “kahvaltı.” Indulge in a variety of cheeses, olives, fresh bread, pastries, and jams, accompanied by a cup of strong Turkish tea. This hearty and delicious breakfast will fuel you up for the day ahead.


As the morning unfolds in Kadikoy, you’ll find yourself immersed in the local culture, energized by the vibrant atmosphere, and ready to explore everything this charming neighborhood has to offer.


Exploring the Local Markets

One of the highlights of visiting Kadikoy is the opportunity to explore its vibrant local markets. These bustling marketplaces are a treasure trove of sights, sounds, and flavors, offering a glimpse into the daily lives of the locals and the rich culinary traditions of Istanbul. Here are a few markets you shouldn’t miss:


Kadikoy Market (Kadikoy Pazari): This is the heart of Kadikoy and a bustling hub of activity. As you wander through the streets, you’ll be greeted by an array of stalls selling fresh produce, aromatic spices, artisanal goods, textiles, and more. The market comes alive with the sound of enthusiastic vendors promoting their products and locals haggling for the best prices. Don’t miss the chance to taste some of the mouthwatering street food options, such as simit (Turkish sesame bread rings), börek (savory pastries), and freshly squeezed juices.


Moda Market: Located in the trendy Moda neighborhood, this market offers a more laid-back and bohemian atmosphere. It is known for its collection of boutique shops, artisanal products, vintage clothing, and handmade crafts. As you explore the market, be sure to check out the unique artwork, quirky accessories, and local designer labels. This is the perfect place to find unique souvenirs or indulge in a bit of retail therapy.


Fish Market (Balik Pazari): If you’re a seafood lover, a visit to the Fish Market is a must. Here, you’ll find a wide variety of fresh fish, shellfish, and seafood delicacies. Immerse yourself in the coastal ambiance as you browse through the different stalls, interact with the knowledgeable fishmongers, and savor the tantalizing aroma of the sea. Many of the surrounding restaurants offer the option to select your desired seafood from the market and have it cooked to perfection.


Antique Market (Antika Pazari): For history enthusiasts and antique collectors, the Antique Market in Kadikoy is a hidden gem. Nestled in a narrow street, this market is filled with an eclectic mix of unique vintage items, including antique furniture, vintage accessories, old coins, and traditional Turkish artifacts. Take your time to explore the shops, admire the craftsmanship of the items, and perhaps find a one-of-a-kind piece to bring home as a memento.


As you wander through the local markets of Kadikoy, don’t be afraid to engage with the vendors, strike up conversations, and embrace the lively ambiance. Whether you’re simply browsing, looking for souvenirs, or indulging in a gastronomic adventure, the local markets in Kadikoy offer an unforgettable experience that will immerse you in the vibrant culture of Istanbul’s Asian side.


Lunch at a Traditional Turkish Restaurant

After a bustling morning of exploring the local markets in Kadikoy, it’s time to satisfy your appetite with a flavorful and authentic Turkish lunch. This neighborhood is renowned for its culinary offerings, and there’s no shortage of traditional Turkish restaurants where you can indulge in a delicious meal. Here are some fantastic options to consider:


Mutfak Dili: Located in the heart of Kadikoy, Mutfak Dili is a hidden gem that offers a truly immersive Turkish dining experience. The restaurant prides itself on serving traditional Ottoman cuisine, with a menu that includes signature dishes like lamb tandir (slow-cooked lamb) and hünkar beğendi (smoked eggplant with meat). The warm and welcoming ambiance, coupled with the attentive service, makes Mutfak Dili a top choice for a traditional Turkish lunch.


Çiya Sofrası: For a taste of regional Turkish cuisine, Çiya Sofrası is a must-visit. This renowned restaurant is known for its extensive menu featuring dishes from different regions of Turkey, with a focus on traditional Anatolian and Southeastern cuisine. From hearty stews and kebabs to mezes (appetizers) and freshly baked bread, Çiya Sofrası offers a gastronomic journey through the diverse flavors of the country. Don’t forget to try their famous dessert, such as baklava or künefe, for a sweet ending to your meal.


Sahil Lokantası: Located by the waterfront, Sahil Lokantası is a popular spot among locals and visitors alike. With its stunning views of the sea and a menu filled with classic Turkish dishes, it offers the perfect combination of ambiance and cuisine. Feast on freshly caught grilled fish, indulge in mezes made with local ingredients, and savor the traditional Turkish flavors while enjoying the laid-back atmosphere of the restaurant.


Antik Fırın: If you’re in the mood for something quick and easy, Antik Fırın is a fantastic choice. This charming bakery and café is known for its selection of traditional Turkish pastries and baked goods. Grab a quick lunch with a savory börek (pastry filled with cheese, meat, or vegetables), or treat yourself to a sweet delight like baklava or künefe. This is the perfect spot to experience the mouthwatering flavors of Turkish cuisine in a cozy and casual setting.


Whichever restaurant you choose, be prepared to indulge in an explosion of flavors and textures that define Turkish cuisine. From rich meat dishes to fresh seafood, aromatic spices, and delightful desserts, a traditional Turkish lunch in Kadikoy is sure to leave you satiated and satisfied.


Afternoon Stroll along the Seafront

After a delicious lunch at a traditional Turkish restaurant, take a leisurely afternoon stroll along the stunning seafront of Kadikoy. The neighborhood offers a picturesque coastline that stretches for miles, providing a tranquil escape from the bustling city. Here are some highlights you can look forward to during your walk:


Start your stroll at the Kadikoy Pier, a bustling hub where you can watch ferry boats arrive and depart, connecting Kadikoy to various parts of Istanbul. Take a moment to soak in the views of the Marmara Sea and the iconic Maiden’s Tower, which stands on a small islet just off the coast. The pier is an ideal spot to sit on one of the benches, relax, and enjoy the gentle sea breeze.


As you continue your walk along the seafront promenade, you’ll encounter charming cafes, restaurants, and parks where you can pause and take in the scenery. The Moda Sahili, in particular, is a favored spot among locals and visitors alike. This picturesque stretch offers stunning views of the sea, coupled with beautifully landscaped gardens and seating areas where you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the serene surroundings.


Along the way, you’ll find various outdoor recreational facilities, including basketball courts and skateboarding ramps. If you’re feeling active, you can join in on the fun or simply admire the skill and talent of the locals. The energetic atmosphere of the seafront is contagious and will keep you engaged throughout your walk.


Art installations and sculptures are scattered along the seafront, adding an artistic touch to your stroll. Keep an eye out for these unique pieces that combine creativity with the natural beauty of the surroundings. They provide a wonderful backdrop for photos and are perfect for capturing those special moments during your walk.


As the afternoon progresses, you might feel tempted to take a break at one of the seaside cafes. Sip on a cup of traditional Turkish tea or Turkish coffee as you relax and watch the world go by. You can also indulge in some tasty snacks, such as Turkish pastries or ice cream, while you enjoy the stunning coastal views.


Remember to take your time during your stroll along the seafront of Kadikoy. Embrace the tranquility, breathe in the fresh sea air, and allow yourself to be captivated by the beauty of Istanbul’s Asian side. Whether you’re a nature lover, a photography enthusiast, or simply in need of a peaceful retreat, the seafront of Kadikoy offers a serene and invigorating experience.


Visiting the Moda Neighborhood

When exploring Kadikoy, don’t miss the chance to visit the trendy and charming neighborhood of Moda. Nestled between the seafront and the hills, Moda offers a unique blend of bohemian vibes, stylish cafes, and a relaxed atmosphere. Here are some highlights to look forward to during your visit:


Start your exploration of Moda by wandering through its beautiful streets. Admire the well-preserved historical buildings with their colorful facades and architectural details. The tree-lined avenues and pedestrian-friendly paths add to the neighborhood’s tranquil ambiance, beckoning you to take a leisurely stroll.


Moda is known for its picturesque park, Moda Park, which is a popular gathering spot for locals and visitors alike. With its lush greenery, well-manicured lawns, and panoramic views of the Marmara Sea, the park is an oasis of serenity. Take a blanket or find a bench to relax and enjoy a peaceful moment surrounded by nature.


As you explore Moda, you’ll come across a wealth of charming cafes and boutique shops. These establishments add to the neighborhood’s bohemian character, inviting you to step inside and experience Moda’s unique charm. Browse through the eclectic stores, from vintage shops to trendy boutiques, and discover unique clothing, accessories, and handcrafted goods.


For art enthusiasts, Moda offers a flourishing creative scene. Visit the art galleries in the neighborhood and browse through a diverse range of contemporary and traditional Turkish artwork. These galleries often showcase exhibitions that reflect the local culture and provide a platform for emerging artists to showcase their talent.


If you’re in need of a caffeine fix or a delicious snack, Moda’s lively café scene won’t disappoint. Enjoy a cup of aromatic Turkish coffee or a refreshing iced latte at one of the cozy cafes nestled in the neighborhood. Pair your drink with a slice of freshly baked cake or a traditional Turkish pastry for a delightful treat.


Moda also boasts a vibrant nightlife scene, with a variety of bars and live music venues offering entertainment into the late hours. Catch a live performance by local musicians, enjoy a drink with friends, and immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere of Moda after the sun sets.


Whether you’re seeking a relaxed afternoon in nature, a unique shopping experience, or a taste of Moda’s vibrant nightlife, this neighborhood has something for everyone. The bohemian vibes, artistic flair, and laid-back atmosphere make Moda an enchanting destination within Kadikoy that shouldn’t be missed.


A Cultural Experience at Kadikoy’s Art Galleries

Kadikoy is not only a vibrant neighborhood with a rich history and delicious cuisine but also a hub for art and culture. With its thriving arts scene, the neighborhood is home to a variety of art galleries that offer a diverse range of artistic expression. Immerse yourself in the cultural fabric of Kadikoy by visiting its art galleries, where you can discover and appreciate the works of talented local and international artists.


One prominent art gallery in Kadikoy is the Istanbul Modern Art Museum. Situated near the seafront, this contemporary art museum hosts a collection of modern and contemporary artworks from Turkish and international artists. Explore the thought-provoking exhibitions that tackle various social, political, and cultural themes. From paintings and sculptures to multimedia installations, the Istanbul Modern Art Museum provides a dynamic and engaging cultural experience.


Another notable gallery is the Bozlu Art Project, which focuses on promoting contemporary art and emerging artists. It showcases a wide range of mediums, including paintings, photographs, sculptures, and installations. Bozlu Art Project is known for its innovative approach, pushing boundaries by featuring experimental and thought-provoking artwork. An excursion to this gallery guarantees a stimulating and immersive artistic encounter.


If you’re interested in exploring the local art scene, make sure to visit smaller independent galleries in Kadikoy. These hidden gems often feature emerging local artists and host regular exhibitions that highlight contemporary and traditional Turkish artwork. Take the opportunity to engage with the artists, learn about their creative processes, and gain insight into the local artistic community.


During your visit to the art galleries, you might also come across cultural events and workshops. These provide opportunities to engage with the art scene on a deeper level. Attend a gallery opening, artist talk, or workshop to gain a deeper understanding of the artistic process and to connect with fellow art enthusiasts.


Not only do Kadikoy’s art galleries showcase visual arts, but they also contribute to the overall cultural scene with their vibrant events calendar. They often host live performances, concerts, film screenings, and poetry readings. Check the schedules of the galleries during your visit to see if any cultural events align with your interests.


A visit to Kadikoy’s art galleries is a chance to appreciate the creativity and artistic expression that flourishes within the neighborhood. It provides a window into the contemporary art world of Istanbul and offers a means to engage with the local artistic community. Whether you’re a seasoned art enthusiast or someone who appreciates the beauty of creativity, exploring Kadikoy’s art galleries will enrich your cultural experience in this vibrant neighborhood.


Enjoying the Sunset at Kadikoy Pier

When the evening approaches in Kadikoy, make your way to the iconic Kadikoy Pier to witness a breathtaking sunset over the Marmara Sea. This picturesque spot offers the perfect vantage point to watch the sun as it dips below the horizon, casting a warm glow across the sky and sea. Here’s why enjoying the sunset at Kadikoy Pier is a magical experience:


As you arrive at the pier, you’ll be greeted by a lively atmosphere. Locals and tourists alike gather here to relax, socialize, and take in the beauty of the surroundings. Find a comfortable spot on one of the benches or settle down on the rocks along the shoreline to prepare for nature’s captivating show.


As the sun starts to descend, the colors of the sky transform into a kaleidoscope of hues, ranging from vivid oranges and pinks to soft purples and golden yellows. The reflections of the sky on the calm waters of the Marmara Sea create a mesmerizing panoramic view that is truly awe-inspiring.


Watch as the sunlight dances on the waves, creating a shimmering spectacle that adds a touch of magic to the scene. The rhythmic sound of the waves gently crashing against the rocks enhances the calming ambiance, creating a soothing soundtrack to accompany the sunset.


The Kadikoy Pier offers unobstructed views of the Istanbul skyline, with its domes and minarets silhouetted against the twilight sky. Witnessing the cityscape transform as the sun sets evokes a sense of awe and wonder, allowing you to appreciate the architectural beauty of Istanbul from a distance.


While the sun paints the sky with its vibrant colors, take the opportunity to capture the moment with your camera. The Kadikoy Pier provides countless opportunities for stunning photographs, whether you’re aiming for a postcard-worthy shot of the sunset or a candid picture of the locals enjoying the view.


As you bask in the beauty of the sunset, take a moment to embrace the tranquility and reflect on the day’s adventures. The sunset at Kadikoy Pier offers a serene and contemplative atmosphere, creating an ideal setting for quiet self-reflection or an intimate conversation with loved ones.


After the sun has set and darkness envelopes the sky, the ambiance of Kadikoy Pier transforms. The warm glow from the surrounding cafes and restaurants casts a romantic and enchanting vibe, inviting you to linger a little longer and savor the post-sunset ambiance.


Watching the sunset at Kadikoy Pier is a truly magical experience. The combination of stunning colors, serene surroundings, and the vibrant energy of the neighborhood creates a moment that will stay with you long after the sun has disappeared below the horizon. For a memorable and awe-inspiring evening in Kadikoy, don’t miss the chance to witness the breathtaking sunset at the Kadikoy Pier.


Nightlife options in Kadikoy

As the sun sets and darkness descends on Kadikoy, the vibrant neighborhood comes alive with a thriving nightlife scene. From trendy bars to lively music venues, Kadikoy offers a diverse range of options for those seeking an unforgettable evening out. Here are some of the top nightlife venues to explore:


Barlar Sokagi (Bar Street): Kadikoy’s famous Barlar Sokagi is a haven for party-goers and night owls. This lively street is lined with bars, cafes, and clubs, each offering its unique atmosphere and music genres. From alternative rock to jazz, electronic to hip-hop, there’s a venue that caters to every taste. Spend your evening hopping from one bar to another, enjoying live performances, and mingling with locals and tourists alike.


Roxy Club: Roxy Club is a legendary establishment that has been a pillar of Kadikoy’s nightlife for decades. Known for its eclectic lineup of live music performances, Roxy Club is a must-visit destination for music enthusiasts. From rock and punk to electronic and indie, the club hosts a range of bands and DJs that keep the party going until the early hours of the morning. Get ready to dance the night away and experience the energy that is synonymous with Roxy Club.


Zeplin Pub: If you’re looking for a laid-back atmosphere and a wide selection of beers, Zeplin Pub is the place to be. This cozy pub offers a friendly and welcoming ambiance, making it a popular spot among locals and expats. Enjoy a drink from their extensive beer menu, strike conversations with fellow patrons, and partake in the relaxed and casual vibe that Zeplin Pub exudes.


Karga Bar: Karga Bar is a cultural hotspot known for its alternative and indie music scene. The venue hosts live music performances by local and international bands, providing a platform for up-and-coming artists to showcase their talents. With its intimate setting and diverse lineup, Karga Bar offers an immersive and intimate experience for music aficionados.


Nayah Rooftop: For a more upscale and sophisticated experience, head to Nayah Rooftop, located atop the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel. This stylish rooftop bar offers panoramic views of the Kadikoy skyline and the Marmara Sea. Sip on beautifully crafted cocktails, enjoy the trendy ambiance, and soak in the chic atmosphere as you mingle with a sophisticated crowd.


No matter your preference, Kadikoy’s vibrant nightlife scene ensures that there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re in the mood for live music, dancing, or simply enjoying a relaxed evening at a cozy pub, Kadikoy’s nightlife options won’t disappoint. Take advantage of the bustling energy and enjoy an unforgettable night out in this lively neighborhood.



Kadikoy, with its rich arts and culture scene, historical charm, and vibrant atmosphere, offers a truly unforgettable experience on Istanbul’s Asian side. From exploring the local markets to indulging in traditional Turkish cuisine, there is no shortage of activities to fill your day. As the sun sets, the neighborhood comes alive with a lively nightlife, offering an array of options to suit different tastes. Whether you’re immersing yourself in the art galleries, savoring the sunset at Kadikoy Pier, or embracing the bohemian vibes of the Moda neighborhood, Kadikoy has captivating experiences for every visitor.


Kadikoy’s historical background provides a fascinating backdrop to its modern attractions. From its ancient roots to its Ottoman legacy, you’ll find traces of history around every corner. The local markets offer a glimpse into daily life, where you can interact with vendors and savor the flavors of Turkish cuisine. The seafront promenades beckon with their beauty and tranquility, while the art galleries showcase the creativity and talent of local and international artists.


Whether you’re a history buff, an art enthusiast, a food lover, or simply someone seeking a vibrant and dynamic neighborhood, Kadikoy delivers an exceptional experience. The blend of tradition and modernity, the warmth and friendliness of the locals, and the stunning surroundings of the Marmara Sea make Kadikoy a destination that captures the heart and leaves a lasting impression.


So, whether you’re exploring the local markets, savoring a traditional Turkish lunch, or marveling at the sunset over the sea, Kadikoy will envelop you in its rich culture, inspiring art, and unforgettable ambiance. Take the time to immerse yourself in all that this vibrant neighborhood has to offer, and you’ll leave with memories that will stay with you long after you’ve bid farewell to Kadikoy’s enchanting streets.