Istanbul Day Trips: Kanlıca

Istanbul 2014

Istanbul is expansive–so expansive that the journey and visit to certain parts can consume an entire day in itself. I will be writing a couple of posts describing these out-of-the-way gems hidden in the vastness of Istanbul. In this post I will talk about Kanlıca. Later I will write about Belgrade Forest, Princes Islands, and Kilyos.

Kanlıca is an old seaside village on the Anatolian side of Istanbul, just past Anadoluhisarı in the Beykoz district and across from Istiniye on the European side. Kanlıca can be reached by taking the Boğaz Turu ferry line which starts in Eminönü, or by taking any of several bus lines from Üsküdar–the latter option affords more flexibility in terms of timing but contains the risk of traffic. Either way, once at the pier, there are several cafe/restaurants replete with couples and groups sitting outside, drinking tea, and eating yogurt out of white plastic cups.

To Istanbulites, the name “Kanlıca” is synonymous with “yogurt,” because of the village’s famous yogurt, which is natural (no preservatives added), made fresh daily, and eaten with powdered sugar on top. I thought the taste was more pungent and crisp than that of typical yogurt, although the sugar was a bit too sweet for my liking. Still, it was a nice treat while sitting meters from the sparkling Bosphorus and across the way from the neighborhood full of historic wooden Ottoman-era mansions, which I plan to explore more fully next time I’m in the area.

Istanbul 20141

About a 20 minute walk uphill from the pier is Hidiv Kasrı, or Khedive Mansion. Formerly the summer residence of a Egyptian king with an interesting back story, it is now a municipal park. The mansion itself was designed in an attractive art-noveau/neo-baroque style, with a large tower and a circular pavilion. Inside the mansion is a classy but affordable restaurant and some cafes.

The front grounds are a lovely manicured lawn which was bursting with beds of  multicolored tulips; several sets of newlyweds were taking advantage of the picturesque surroundings to shoot wedding photos. The rest of the sprawling grounds consist of trails winding uphill and downhill through a forest of lovely mature trees. Local families were taking walks while their children rode little bikes and scooters next to them; others were jogging. Through the branches, large birds and other interesting fauna as well as stunning views of the Bosphorus could be glimpsed, especially from the lookout point directly across from the mansion.

Overall, I found Hidiv Kasrı to be a surprisingly wholesome attraction, and even more attractive and pleasant than Gülhane Park. It is now my favorite green place in Istanbul.

Read more about Kanlıca and Hidiv Kasrı here.

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