It took me 3 visits to Istanbul to even hear about Uskudar/ Üsküdar, a popular yet local neighbourhood on the Asian side of Istanbul, and what a mistake that was!
So I’m here to tell you why you should visit Uskudar Istanbul and things to do in Uskudar because it is one of the best neighbourhoods in Istanbul to visit, especially if you want to escape the tourist crowds in Istanbul, and it’s your second or third time in Istanbul and you want to see something different on your Istanbul itinerary.
Things To Do in Uskudar
Why visit Uskudar?? Well, if you want to get away from the tourist crowds, you want to see an authentic local neighbourhood in Istanbul which is tourist-friendly, you want a walk along the Bosporus to let the fresh sea air cleanse you, you want to see an impressive view of the European side of Istanbul and some pretty impressive mosques, also without the tourist crowds, then these are reasons to visit Uskudar, oh, and it’s cheaper than the European side too!
How To Get To Uskudar
Uskudar By Boat
Boat is the most obvious way of how to get to Uskudar because it’s likely you’ll be on one of the European sides and therefore need to cross the Bosporus to the Asian side.
If you’re on the European Side near Karakoy, Taksim, Galata Tower and Cihangar, which are popular places to stay in Istanbul, then I suggest you get the tram or bus to Kabatas Ferry Terminal and on arrival, you’ll see a very clear departure sign for Uskudar!
The other way you can get a boat is from Eminonu Ferry Terminal next to the Galata Bridge but on the same side as Hagia Sophia etc so if you are around this area, head to Eminonu, there is a tram stop outside the ferry terminal.
Uskudar By Metro
The other option is by metro, because yes, there is a metro line that runs right under the Bosporus and connects Europe to Asia! This is called the Marmaray and the Marmaray from Yenikapi Station goes to Uskudar Marmaray Station in just a few minutes!
Things To Do in Uskudar
1. Yeni Valide Mosque
As soon as you get off the boat at Uskudar Ferry Terminal or come out of Uskudar Marmaray Station you’ll get a pretty good view of Yeni Valide Mosque and I’d suggest heading here first as part of your things to do Uskudar.
Yeni Valide Mosque is an 18th-century Ottoman mosque, from the outside it doesn’t appear too big but with all its outer courtyards it is and the inside of the mosque is impressive and unique. Even if you have visited the Blue Mosque and Suleymaniye Mosque, you should still visit to see a mosque where all of the locals truly attend at prayer time in Istanbul.
Tourists can go inside but because this isn’t a tourist mosque, they do not provide covering outfits, so women should be wearing modest clothing with their legs, shoulders and chest covered and bring a headscarf to pop on, and men should also have their shoulders covered and legs.
During prayer time you will not be allowed in so google prayer time in Istanbul so you know what times to avoid, but being around the mosque to hear the call of prayer is really impressive!
2. Nevmekan Sahil
So many people told me to visit Nevmekan Sahil because its one of the best things to do in Uskudar, best places to visit in Uskudar and the best cafe in Uskudar, and I can now see why!
Nevmekan Sahil is pretty much a cafe inside a library. It looks like a museum outside and often there are museum displays but the core of it really is a cafe with plenty of seating and there are bookshelves surrounding this seating.
You can opt for a River view or you can sit in the inside dome which is the most unique place to sit because you are surrounded by books in a lotus style dome and you could be anywhere in the world, but in a really good way!
Whether you visit Nevmekan Sahil in Uskudar for lunch as they have a really nice, full cafe menu, or for a coffee and cake as I did, or even for a quick Cay, you will be impressed!
3. Maidens Tower Museum and Cafe
Maidens Tower, also known as Kiz Kulesi on Google maps, is very iconic and therefore easily one of the top Uskudar things to do and Uskudar points of interest because it is a tiny islet about 200 metres off the coast of Uskudar and at first glance I thought surely you can’t visit? But you can!
For things to do in Uskudar you can walk up to Maidens Tower so you are across the water from it and you’ll see a boat ready to take you the 200m across the water to the Tower and inside is a Museum and Cafe.
This is one of the unique cafes in Uskudar so be sure to head there for a coffee or tea, or even breakfast and dinner. Check out their website here for the menu. And of course whilst you’re there, visit the museum to see and read about the fascinating history of this tower.
4. Walk Along the Bosporus
Thankfully, Istanbul is a very pedestrian friendly city, I don’t think I would have lived here for 3 months if it wasn’t, sometimes you still need to dodge the traffic but in Uskudar there is a lovely walking and bicycle lane on the edge of the Bosphorus which starts from the Uskudar ferry terminal, right up to Maidens Tower and beyond.
It’s a lovely place to walk no matter what the time of day is, but sunset is the best time, so keep this in mind when planning your Uskudar things to do.
5. Watch the Sunset
Uskudar is the perfect sunset spot in Istanbul because the sun sets right across the Bosporus and behind the European side of Istanbul. Along the Bosphorus, there is a great walking path with no traffic and close to Maidens Tower you’ll see steps where locals sit and enjoy the sunset and you should join them too, especially in the summer on those warm evenings when you definitely need a sea breeze and sunset to cool you down.
Be sure to add watching the sunset in Uskudar to your list of things to do in Uskudar.
6. Uskudar Fishermans Market
A market is always the best way to see local life and a fish market is an even better way to see local life!
The Uskudar Fishermans Market is one of the things to do in Uskudar not only because it shows you a local side to Istanbul but also because as a tourist, you probably don’t want to buy fish, but, you may want to eat it and there is a food court inside the market selling incredible food, I’ve heard the fish soup is great, and for prices much cheaper than you’ll find elsewhere in Istanbul, especially on the European side!
If fish isn’t for you, still head to it because around it are other types of stalls selling clothes, foods and souvenirs!
7. Sakirin Mosque
There are many mosques in Istanbul and many mosques in Uskudar but most of them are local mosques and not frequented by tourists, however another mosque I really suggest you visit in Uskudar is Sakirin Mosque.
This should be part of your things to do in Uskudar because it’s a very unique, modern and even futuristic looking mosque, nothing like you’ve seen in Istanbul so far, and it’s also famous for being the first mosque in Turkey, and the world, to be designed by a female architect who did the interior design! And the inside is something to be seen!
Sakirin Mosque is in Uskudar but it is more inland and about a 30 minute walk from the ferry terminal however the walk there and back will give you a great look at the streets and local life in Uskudar, or you can get a bus or taxi there. A taxi from Uskudar Ferry Terminal to Sakirin Mosque cost me just 13TL.
If you are Muslim, I suggest you pray there, the inside is beautiful and there is a lovely women’s balcony. If you’re not Muslim, you can still go and look, just be sure to google Istanbul prayer times as around prayer time you won’t be able to go inside.
8. Beltur Pasalimani Cafe
My friend kept talking about wanting fried ice cream in Uskudar and so we ended up in Beltur Pasalimani Cafe one evening eating said fried ice cream on the edge of the Bosporus with incredible nighttime views of the city in front of us.
So, if you find yourself looking for things to do in Uskudar at night, or craving fried ice cream, then I suggest visiting here for another popular cafe in Uskudar. It is a bit of a walk from the ferry terminal and centre of Uskudar but you can get a bus there as there us a stop right outside the cafe and the view is incredible!
They also serve a full restaurant menu, although I do recommend the fried ice cream as one of the different things to do in Uskudar!
9. Fethi Pasa Grove
For another one of the places to visit in Uskudar which also offers Bosphorus views and the best cafes in Uskudar, you can visit Fethi Pasa Grove or Fethi Pasa Korusu on Google maps. It’s a quiet green area up on a hill. It’s a short walk from the ferry terminal or you can catch a bus, in fact, it’s opposite Beltur Pasalimani Cafe I mentioned above so you can go this way and afterwards work out if you want to sit right by the water or higher up on the hill.
Either way, heading out of the centre of Uskudar and going to one of these things to do in Uskudar will give you the best experience of Uskudar Istanbul!
10. Visit Turkey’s Biggest Mosque Camlica Mosque
If you’ve looked across at the Asian side of Istanbul from the European side, you may have noticed a huge mosque up on a hill. This is Camlica Camii or Camlica Mosque (Camii is the Turkish word for mosque) and also Turkey’s largest mosque, only completed in 2019!
I admit, this is not in Uskudar but I’m adding this to my best things to do in Uskudar list because it’s fairly easy to get to the mosque from Uskudar taking a taxi, metro or bus so if you find yourself with enough free time and looking for something really different to do in Istanbul, I recommend going!
Here’s my full post on how to visit Camlica Mosque in Istanbul with how to get to Camlica Mosque from Uskudar!
I hope you enjoy these things to do in Uskudar and you now know why and how to visit Uskudar, Istanbul!
- For more of my Istanbul posts to help you see the best of Istanbul see:
- How to Visit Camlica Mosque in Istanbul. Turkey’s Biggest Mosque!
- A 3 Day Istanbul Itinerary! Things To Do in Istanbul in 3 Days!
- How to Travel From Istanbul to Cappadocia! A Detailed Guide!