Upper Bosphorus (Asia)
The Asian side of the Bosphorus, above the two Hisars, Rumeli and Anadolu, and the Fatih Sultan Mehmed bridge, is less often visited, but the area beyond Beykoz is calm and sleepy, a perfect antidote to Istanbul's hustle and bustle, where you can get your boatman to switch off the engine and listen to the nightingales
What you will see
Some of the prettiest rows of yalıs can be found between Anadolu Hisarı and the upper end of Kanlıca, where the straights are particularly deep. The Küçüksu Kasrı is the grand 19th-century Ottoman palace in a nutshell. The Khedive’s palace an eccentric foible. A favourite walk is from the iskele in Anadolu Kavağı to the ruined Genoese castle above – the entrance to the Black Sea is at your feet.
Hire a boat, easily done from Anadolu Hisarı, and dawdle. There are scheduled boats from between Istiniye and Anadolu Hisarı. Kanlıca also has an informal motor service, and between Beykoz and Yeniköy a motor service runs every 20 minutes.
There are buses and minibuses up and down the European shore, that, if you are not sitting down, enable you to discover muscles in your legs and arms (hang on for dear life) you never knew were there.
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, several towns, almost countries rolled into one.
One of the most charming and rewarding villages on the Asian shore, with some of the loveliest yalıs, powerful currents, an eccentric Egyptian hilltop palace (for tea) and karga beyni (crow's brain) – delectable yoğurt topped with icing sugar.
The last ferry stop on the Asian shore and one of the prettiest villages on the Bosphorus, if a little overpopulated with fish restaurants. Best out of season and during the week.