Kadikoy might not be the first neighbourhood that comes to mind of tourists when the matter is travelling in Istanbul but Kadikoy is quite popular among locals owing to its narrow streets lying in between old-fashioned buildings, to its open bazaar, and its prestigious streets filled with boutique stores and restaurants, to its kilometres long coastline attracting either runners or idlers and to its reputation for hosting many art festivals and music events.
Now that you are all curious about the unique texture of Kadikoy and cannot wait to discover it more, you might also have this one question in mind: What to do in Kadikoy? Where to start? This blog is at your service to help you plan a day in Kadikoy.
1. Ethemefendi Bazlama Kahvaltı
A day is a much lovelier day when it starts with a breakfast spread! We, as Turkish people, value breakfast a lot, and the greater it is, the better it is. Almost every family spends hours having breakfast on Sundays. Of course, we do not mean eating non-stop for hours, but we mean adorning it with chit chats and loud sips from that freshly brewed Turkish tea. Indeed, Ethemefendi Bazlama Kahvaltı offers this experience for you.
In this place, you get a full spread for a fixed amount. But this is not the end of the story. You can keep ordering whatever you please again and again. All the food you get and Turkish tea are unlimited. In fact, you can take a break and keep eating without a charge. Our recommendation is that do not get too crazy about it and check off the first to do in Kadikoy!
To see more breakfast venues, check out our Best 10 Places in Istanbul for Breakfast blog.
Comments: If you visit their Bağdat branch, take a photo with their angel sculpture! It’s mesmerizing. We also recommend you to try bazlama here. You can eat bazlama with almost everything, jam, butter, spread, olives… You’ll love how it tastes.
2. Istanbul Toy Museum
If you are wondering things to do in Kadikoy, then this museum is for you! A museum, close to our breakfast spot, is called Istanbul Toy Museum. This museum is located in an adorable old-fashioned white mansion, in front of which two massive giraffes and two tin soldiers await to greet you.
The museum was founded by the poet and author, Sunay Akın in 2005. In this museum, he wanted to display the toys that he collected through the span of 20 years from auctions and antique stores.
Moreover, the interior was designed by the stage artist, Ayhan Doğan. Hence, it is impossible not to get lost in the world of toys belonging to different time periods. As you pass by these vividly coloured booths, we assure you that you will get across at least one or two toys you yourself have once owned. As soon as you get back to our world, check off the second to do in Kadikoy!
Comments: It’s far better to tour this museum with different generations, be it your grandparents or your children. Because there are toys from different generations. So, you can share your memories and listen to theirs.
3. Haydarpasa Train Station
You may wonder what to see in Kadikoy! Haydarpasa Trains Stations is definitely worth to see with its picturesque building. Kadikoy and Haydarpasa Train Station are inseparable. When Haydarpasa is mentioned, one pictures Kadikoy in mind or vice versa. This is owing to Haydarpasa’s impressive location, gazing over the Marmara Sea on the one hand and Kadikoy on the other.
Although a train station was constructed here in 1872, the building we see today dates back to 1908, as the previous station was reconstructed due to its insufficiency in meeting high demand. As of 2013, the station has been out of service but is standing strong as a historical attraction. Whilst heading to the next destination, check off the third to do in Kadikoy!
Comments: If you take on ferry, Haydarpasa Train Station looks picturesque!
4. Kilisli Fiko
Not many know about Kilisli Fiko, and we admit that it might not be the most luxurious, but their kebab is for sure the tastiest. ‘Kilis’ is a city in Türkiye, and ‘Kilisli’ means the person who is from Kilis. Not surprisingly, the owner of this cute spot is ‘Kilisli’ and serves delicious kebabs.
We hear you saying but kebabs are on almost every corner in Istanbul… You might be right but not every place serves ‘Yuvalama’ soup and ‘Şalgam Suyu’ besides. The former is a soup, made with yogurt, chickpeas, and meat, whilst the latter is a drink, made of turnips. To be honest, it tastes more or less like pickle juice and we love it! After you finish having lunch, check off another to do in Kadikoy!
Comments: Don’t forget to try their ‘yuvalama’. You’ll love it!
5. Borsam Taşfırın Bahariye
Another option for lunch is Borsam. Taşfırın literally means oven (fırın) made of stone (taş) and, now, you have your answer to the question, of why the lahmacuns of Borsam are so tasty. Cooked by the wood fire in a stone oven, these lahmacuns are levelled up and we mean it. All you have to do is squeeze lemon, add greenery and onion on top, then roll it professionally and take a bite. Have ayran with it and check off another to do in Kadikoy!
Comments: Nothing much to recommend here. Have lahmacun and ayran, and enjoy your life!
6. Kadikoy Carsi
Here is Kadikoy shopping street! The liveliness of the bazaar (carsi) hits the streets of Kadikoy too. There are many shops in this district selling a wide range of stuff extending from clothing, accessories, handicrafts, tapestry, and carpets to fruits, vegetables, and fish. Shop endlessly and check off another to do in Kadikoy!
Comments: We recommend you take your time to stop by each schop. You’ll never know what you’ll find.
7. Confectioner Cafer Erol
As its name suggests, Confectioner Cafer Erol has been selling confections since 1807. Their rock candies flavoured with cinnamon, rose and bergamot are must-tastes and, back in time, people were consuming these after meals to help with digestion.
You can buy their products, but as their shop assistant will warn you, you have to consume their Turkish delights within two weeks because they do not contain any additives and cannot stand for long. If you stop by here on special occasions such as on Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve, you will be fascinated by their decorations. Now, it is time to check off another to do in Kadikoy!
Comments: Have you ever tried rooster candy? No, it’s not made from rooster. The name comes from its shape. If you have never tried it, we recommend you to try it!
8. Surp Levon Armenian Catholic Church
A day in Kadikoy would be incomplete without a historical attraction. And heading East, you will encounter the Surp Levon Armenian Catholic Church. The wooden chapel was built in 1890 but later in 1905 it was demolished and then the masonry construction was built in the same place in 1911.
Comments: Make sure to go inside, because the interior is spectacle.
9. Nazim Hikmet Cultural Centre
Nazim Hikmet was a remarkable poet. At present, his works are highly valued by academics and are being studied at universities. This cultural centre commemorates him. You might want to check their website beforehand for the ongoing exhibitions and events, but we brought you here because we thought that resting under the shades of trees in their backyard and having a Turkish coffee might be just what you need after a long day. Fill your soul with art, read one of Nazim’s poems, and check off another to do in Kadikoy!
Comments: We recommend you resting under the shades of trees in their backyard with a Turkish coffee. This is exactly what you need after a long day!
10. Fenerbahce Marina
Although this last location is kind of far from the previous one, we promise that it will be worth it. This district of Kadikoy is a lot calmer, and we believe that it is just the right place to enjoy a relaxing dinner after such a long day. First, you can walk by the coastline and check the boats anchored, then pick a venue for dinner and watch the sunset.
The restaurants available here are well-known restaurants having branches across Istanbul. As excited as you are, we are too, to check off the last to do in Kadikoy.
Congrats! You spent a day in Kadikoy and now are an expert in terms of what to do in Kadikoy!
Comments: Check this off the last! Because it will make you relax after a long day. We recommend you take a walk along the marina.