It was a beautiful day in Istanbul, and we ventured over to the Asian side to explore and relax. First, we travelled by ferry from Besiktas to Uskudar. Then, we took a Beykoz-bound dolmus (minibus) along the shore. At least at first. It was a holiday, which meant all of Istanbul was out, ready to play. So, in typical Turkish fashion, our driver zig-zagged through the back streets to ensure we would avoid any and all traffic. Despite a bit of car-sickness, it was a success. We saw parts of Istanbul we never saw before, and we were in Beykoz in less than 40 minutes.
Every town along the shore has a unique small-town flair, enhanced by its beautiful promenade along the shore. Everything is green, and the Bosphorus sparkled. We wandered past fishing boats, and ate durum at a seaside restaurant. Afterwards, we wandered along the promenade and through the tulip-filled gardens of Beykoz Sosyal Tesisleri (a social facility). We ate ice cream and sipped tea, and for an afternoon, we felt worlds away from our daily lives, without actually leaving the city. If you are looking for a day trip in Istanbul, I strongly encourage a trip to the seaside villages of the Asian shore.
In addition to Beykoz, there are several others I would recommend.
-Kanlica- Famous for its yogurt, this seaside village also has a lively covered market and numerous shops and cafes.
-Anadolu Hisari-Located next to the fortress of Asia, there is a small park as well as a canal lined by cafes and full of boats.
-Cengelkoy- There is an old maple tree that brings shade and charm to this seaside town. There are lots of cafes, and a bazaar on Monday.
-Beylerbeyi- Close the second bridge, Beylerbeyi has wonderful fish restaurants and some hidden courtyards nestled in the backstreets.