Cornucopia’s travel guide

Beykoz


The bay of Beykoz is the Bosphorus at its widest. The village of Beykoz is the last substantial village on the Asian shore – in fact it is huge. Behind a modest village square lie several towns, almost countries, rolled into one. Arrive by sea (a dolmuş shuttle service runs every 20 minutes from Yeniköy on the European shore) and you step into a hard-working gritty affair, an old-fashioned village little changed since the scruffy seventies. Enter Beykoz from the Fatih Bridge and you might be descending to Lugano. Freeways and viaducts fly through the hills past smart housing estates and forest ending in a narrow avenue of century-old planes.

A new reason to go to Beykoz is the recently restored Beykoz Kasrı, a gentle 10-minute stroll (provided you are not brained by the mirrors of passing buses on the two narrow stretches of the road). This is a place to settle down with a history of the late Ottomans.

After the kasır, and perhaps a walk in the park above the village square, take a bus or dolmuş down to Kanlıca for yoghurt piled with icing sugar. Or simply hop on the boat back to Yeniköy and restore yourself with rakı and meze at Aleko, a lovely place for an early lunch when the sun still hits the waterside terrace. In summer, when not starved of winter sunshine, go early in the evening.

Getting there

A dolmuş boat sails between Yeniköy and Beykoz every 20 minutes, and there are regular buses and minubuses down the Bosphorus to Üsküdar. Other crossing points are Çubuklu–İstinye (a car ferry), and Kanlıca–Emirgan (a tiny fishing boat, Kanlıca Motorları). Mr Topbaş, the former mayor, in his wisdonw scrapped the wonderful ferries that used to ply the Bosphorus hourly in the old days. You will find a commuter service down in the morning and up in the evening – not much use for museum visiting. However, the National Palaces (Milli Saraylar) do sometimes have boats sailing between the main palaces.