When we visited Istanbul back in September, I had the opportunity to visit my third continent: Asia. As mentioned in my ultimate guide to Istanbul, the city is the only one in the world that sits on top of two continents; Europe and Asia, and it is relatively easy to hop between the two sides. One of my travel goals for 2019 was to visit three continents in one year, so I jumped at the chance to visit Asia on our final day in Istanbul (after our Florida trip and travels around Europe earlier in 2019).
Getting from Europe to Asia
We started the day at the Galata Tower on the other side of the Golden Horn to our hotel. We wanted to visit the tower in the morning before the crowds and then take the Metro over to Asia from there. It sounds so odd saying you can take a tube between continents, but it really was easy as that. The underground runs under the Bosphorus between the two sides of the strait, so it was a fun experience getting to travel under the water. We resurfaced on the Asian side just in time for lunch, heading straight out to look for somewhere to eat.
Lunch in Asia
The Asian side of Istanbul is far less geared up for tourists and we noticed this straightaway when we were looking for somewhere to eat. There was an absence of international menus and very little members of staff spoke other languages. Fortunately, one of the local restaurants had an English-speaking member of staff who could translate for us. We each ordered toasted sandwiches and sat out on the restaurant’s terrace, overlooking the local area. Once we were fed, it was time to head out to the transportation area and travel to Kuzguncuk – the colourful painted house neighbourhood which attracts photographers and bloggers.
Taxis are extremely cheap in Istanbul and the taxi ride from the metro station to Kuzguncuk only set us back the equivalent of £2. It was a 10 minute ride along the waterfront and it gave us plenty of time to get our bearings and prepare our cameras for Kuzguncuk.
We were instantly drawn to the beautiful colours. The neighbourhood main street was full of brightly-coloured independent stores, cafés and houses. It had an incredible cafe culture, so much so that I wish we’d headed straight to Kuzguncuk for lunch when we arrived on the Asian side. We walked around Kuzguncuk for about an hour, taking pictures, counting the neighbourhood cats (Istanbul is famous for them) and purchasing local treats for that evening. It was a very relaxed neighbourhood and a wonderful area to stroll around.
Back to Europe
After we’d finished in Kuzguncuk, we headed to the waterfront to take some pictures of ourselves standing in Asia, with the European side in the background. I can’t recommend making the most of the novelty enough!
We caught a bus, took the metro and walked for half an hour in order to get back to the hotel. The Asian side is far from the Old Town but if you can combine Asia with a visit to the Galata Tower or another nearby attraction, it’s definitely worth the trip. If we’d have had more time than an afternoon, I’d have really liked to go further onto the Asian side and see other new places.
If you’re visiting Istanbul anytime soon, definitely take a trip over to the Asian side. It’s a world away from the hustle and bustle of the European side and a chance to see what everyday life is like in this giant city.
Thanks for reading my blog today.
Love Kat xxxx