Cornucopia’s travel guide

Yeniköy


The sea is at its cleanest in Yeniköy, and the point jutting out into the Bosphorus is shallow enough for you to hear the flow of the currents. Swimming is strongly recommended in front of the Austrian Consulate General, the old Hapsburg embassy, on the way out of Yeniköy, heading for Tarabya, and is one of the few places women can swim discreetly (unlike Emirgan where they get bullied by rowdy youths). However, there are no amenities so take fresh water to wash with.

The sandwich of choice next to the small fishing harbour is mackerel from Norway, but the three little fish shops are excellent places to buy fresh fish, whether it is kalkan (turbot) from the Bosphorus or the Black Sea in spring or sardines from Çanakkale in high summer. The lüfer is also wonderful here, and the race is on every August among old fishermen born with patience in their genes to catch the first as the lüfer run begins. The soft chugging of their motors at night is as haunting a sound as any on the Bosphorus. The first lüfer, it has to be said, are not necessarily the tastiest.

There are lots of churches in Yeniköy, including a Roman Catholic Armenian Gothic church, above the fishing harbour. A bust of Cavafy was unveiled last year in the garden of the Greek Orthodox church on the main road, Köybaşı Caddesi. The Alexandrian poet so admired by EM Forster experienced his first formative love affair here staying in the yalı that belonged to his mother's parents.

What you will see

The sea is at its cleanest in Yeniköy, and the point jutting out into the Bosphorus is shallow enough for you to hear the flow of the currents. Swimming is recommended in front of the Austrian Consulate General, the old Hapsburg embassy, on the way out of Yeniköy, heading for Tarabya, and is one of the few places women can discreetly join the boys (unlike Emirgan where they get bullied by rowdy youths). However, there are no amenities so take fresh water to wash with.

The sandwich of choice next to the small fishing harbour is mackerel from Norway, but the three little fish shops are excellent places to buy fresh fish, whether it is kalkan (turbot) from the Bosphorus or the Black Sea in spring or sardines from Çanakkale in high summer. The lüfer is also wonderful here, and the race is on every August among old fishermen born with patience in their genes to catch the first as the lüfer run begins. The soft chugging of their motors at night is as haunting a sound as any on the Bosphorus. The first lüfer, it has to be said, are not necessarily the tastiest.

There are lots of churches in Yeniköy, including a Roman Catholic Armenian Gothic church, above the fishing harbour. A bust of Cavafy was unveiled last year in the garden of the Greek Orthodox church on the main road, Köybaşı Caddesi. The Alexandrian poet lived here as a young man and wrote his first poetry in English, French and Greek here.

Getting there

Very short-sightedly, the municipality no longer allows ferries to dock in the recently restored boat station. However, a dolmuş boat shuttles every 20 minutes between Yeniköy and Beykoz, on the Asian shore. İstiniye is the nearest iskele for Bosphorus ferries. The nearest metros are Daruşaffaka and Hacıosman. A bus also hisses and sighs up and down the coast road – many of them icy cool Mercedes buses, but avoid the Sunday gridlock – taxi drivers know of improbably backroads, some with amazing shops.

Getting around

To walk the main coast road between the upper and lower villages of Yeniköy is a bit tedius. Take the short cut over the hill behind the new mosque and park by the iskele.