I’d heard that the Istanbul suburb of Ortaköy was worth a visit. So, after finding my way from the Kadıköy waterfront to Üsküdar (with a side trip to lovely Kuzguncuk) via dolmus (2.5TL), I headed for the Üsküdar – Beşiktaş ferry signs. A quick swipe of the Istanbulkart and I was aboard the speedy and economical Bosphorus ferry crossing (15 minutes, 2.15TL) from Asia to Europe (Beşiktaş).
Disembarking at Beşiktaş, and bearing to the right, the walk to Ortaköy is a lovely 15-20 minute stroll which follows the Bosphorus up to the imposing Ortaköy mosque at the foot of the “Bogazici Koprusu” bridge. Along this scenic road, you’ll pass striking architecture and plush hotels such as the Four Seasons and local Ciragan Palace, the Bahçeşehir University and Beşiktaş Lisesi.
Being a weekend, the Ortaköy waterfront area was crowded, but not unbearably so, by Istanbul standards. There are great little tea houses to sit, drink cay and enjoy the views. Tucked in behind the waterfront and mosque is a bustling network of lovely, shady laneways lined with even more tea houses, cafes, and eateries. The gözleme and kumpir (jacket potato, a local specialty) we ate there was fresh and tasty. There are Boshporus boat cruises on offer near the Ortaköy mosque.
I’d definitely add Ortaköy to the list of Istanbul oasis spots. Loads of atmosphere, spectacular Bosphorus views, and dozens of casual, shady tea/coffee/food nooks to choose from.