Asian Part Walking Tour, Istanbul (Self Guided)

Istanbul, Turkey's wealthiest and biggest city is split by the Bosphorus in two parts - European and Asian. In this tour you can experience the eastern side and feel the true spirit of the Orient with small, crowded streets and countless mosques.
How it works: Download the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play to your mobile phone or tablet. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and its built-in GPS navigation functions guide you from one tour stop to next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Asian Part Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Asian Part Walking Tour
Guide Location: Turkey » Istanbul (See other walking tours in Istanbul)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 6
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.1 km
Author: kane
1
Leander's Tower

1) Leander's Tower

The Lenders Tower is also called the Maidens Tower and the Kız Kulesi in Turkish. The “Lenders Towers” was the name given to the tower during the ancient Greek and the medieval Byzantine periods which means “Tower of Leandros”. The tower is located on a small island in the middle of the Borphorus Strait, near its Southern entrance, approximately two hundred meters off the coast of Üsküdar in Istanbul.

The tower was built to control the movements of various ships in the Bosphorus Strait by the ancient Athenian general; Alcibiades in 408 BC. During those times the tower was located between the ancient cities of Chrysopolis and Byzantion. Byzantine Emperor Alexius Comnenus enlarged the tower and built a fortress in 1110 AD. The Ottoman Turks also enlarged and modified the tower several times. The most recent restoration was the addition of steel supports in 1999, to serve as precautions against earthquakes.

The tower was originally used as a lighthouse, but in recent times, the first floor of the tower contains a popular restaurant and the top floor contains a café. It has also been featured in many Hollywood and Turkish movies, Turkish plays and reality shows. The tower can be visited by boat by tourists.
2
Şemsi Pasha Mosque

2) Şemsi Pasha Mosque

The Şemsi Pasha Mosque is an Imperial Ottoman Mosque located in the district of Üsküdar, in Istanbul. Designed by the famous Ottoman Imperial Architect Mimar Sinan, the Mosque is a masterpiece of Ottoman architecture. The Şemsi Pasha Mosque was designed for the Grand Vizier Şemsi Pasha in 1580.

Although small in size compared to other mosques designed by Mimar Sinan, the mosque’s waterfront location makes it a popular tourist spot for visitors to the city of Istanbul, and it is one of the most attractive and skillfully designed mosques in the city.

The mosque is built in a square design and consists of a single dome. It consists of a madrassah (Islamic School), gardens, and the tomb of Şemsi Ahmet. The interior of the mosque is adorned with colored glass windows, a mirror vault, and three casement windows. The mosque is surrounded by a large complex, situated on the coast of Üsküdar, also built by the imperial architect Mimar Sinan. The complex is situated near the Şemsi Pasha Palace. The mosque complex consists of two gates, one facing the land and one facing the sea.

In the year 1940, the mosque was restored by the General Directorate of Religious Endowments of Turkey. The mosque is open to public 24 hours a day, except during prayer times.
3
Mihrimah Sultan Mosque

3) Mihrimah Sultan Mosque

The Mihrimah Sultan Mosque is also known as the Iskele Mosque and the Jetty Mosque. It is an Imperial Ottoman mosque located in, Üsküdar Square, Istanbul. This mosque is one of the best land marks of Üsküdar. This mosque was built on the order of the Princess Mihrimah Sultana, the most favorite daughter of Sultan “Suleiman the Magnificent” and the wife of Grand Vizier Rüstem Pasha. The mosque was designed by the famous Imperial Architect Mimar Sinan, and completed in 1548, and it takes its nick names from the ferry landing near which it is located.

The mosque has been built in the typical style adopted by Sinan, with a blend of Ottoman and Byzantine architecture. For the Mihrimah Sultan Mosque, he opted for a more modern style as compared to the Hagia Sofia. The mosque is large, with slender minarets and a high vaulted basement. There is a single large dome surrounded by three semi-domes.

The mosque complex consists of a madrassah (Islamic school), a caravanserai, a kitchen to feed the poor, a hospice for traveling dervishes and a tomb. It also contains a sadirvan (ablution fountain) and this fountain is one of the best in all of the mosques’ in Istanbul. The kitchen and caravanserai have not survived and the primary school is used as a health center today.
4
Fethi Paşa Korusu

4) Fethi Paşa Korusu

Fethi Paşa Korusu park, recently renovated, is one of the best places in the Asian part of the city to enjoy the beautiful view over the Bosphorus. Here you can have a walk in the vast green area, far from the crowds of the narrow streets outside the park.
5
Bosphorus Bridge (Asian Side)

5) Bosphorus Bridge (Asian Side) (must see)

The Bosphorus Bridge is the famous bridge in Istanbul that connects the Asian and European banks of the Bosphorus Strait. This is the first of the two bridges that connect the banks, the other being the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge, also called the Second Bridge.

The Bosphorus Bridge links the chic Istanbul destination Ortakoy on the European side with the Beylerbeyi on the Asian side. Currently, it has the 25th-longest suspension bridge span in the world at over one thousand meters. The bridge was completed in 1973, constructed of inclined hangers and steel pylons, and cost more than 200 million US dollars to build.

The bridge offers a spectacular view of the Bosphorus Strait, both the Asian and European sides of Istanbul, which can be seen when you are crossing it. Centuries old architecture line the banks of the strait on either side and churches and mosques dot the landscape. When it was first built, a sidewalk was there for pedestrians, but now it has long been closed. The bridge can be best viewed from the Bosphorus cruise or tours that allow ample opportunities to view and photograph this spectacular architectural masterpiece.

Why You Should Visit:
The views from the bridge are actually nicer than the sighting of the bridge itself.
Besides, what can be more amazing than having one foot in Asia and another in Europe!

Tip:
Note that the traffic of cars over the bridge is horrible during rush hours, so whether you cross it or get a view from afar, try doing so after dusk!
6
Beylerbeyi Palace

6) Beylerbeyi Palace

The Beylerbeyi Palace is a summer place overlooking the Bosphorus Strait from its Asian shore present in Istanbul. This summer palace was built for the Ottoman Sultan Abdulaziz. The Palace is located in Beylerbeyi, Istanbul.

This Imperial residence was often used by visiting dignitaries and royalty, and also by the Sultan himself. It is a tastefully decorated palace, with many chandeliers and a fountain present in the main salon. There are many decorative Chinese vases and Sevres, and the Palace Gardens are also beautifully kept.

Some of the famous guests who have stayed at the palace are: Empress Eugénie of France, Grand Duke Nicholas of Russia, Shah Nasruddin of Persia and many more. Sultan Abdulhamid II was placed under house arrest in the Beylerbeyi Palace in 1909 by the Turks, and he spent the last years of his life there. The Sultan was an accomplished cabinet maker, and he made a lot of furniture for the Palace during his confinement there.

The Palace can be reached by boat and by bus, but the preferred route is by boat so one can enjoy the scenic beauty of the Bosphorus Strait. It is open every day for visitors except Mondays and Thursdays and definitely worth a visit of a few hours.

Walking Tours in Istanbul, Turkey

Create Your Own Walk in Istanbul

Create Your Own Walk in Istanbul

Creating your own self-guided walk in Istanbul is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Walking the Bosphorus Coast

Walking the Bosphorus Coast

What Istanbul is today and what it was in medieval times is due to the geographical location of the city and the fact that it lies on the Bosphorus shore. This tour will take you along the coast so that you can enjoy the beautiful view and admire the city's architecture.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 7.7 km
Churches Walking Tour

Churches Walking Tour

Constantinople was a center for religion and the orthodox Christianity for over a millennium and even after the Ottomans came many Christians remained in the city. There are many churches in Istanbul and each of them has its uniqueness.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.7 km
Roman Heritage Walking Tour I

Roman Heritage Walking Tour I

Constantinople, being an imperial capital for over a millennium, still contains many important buildings and sites that show the greatness of the Eastern Roman Empire. This tour will take you through the most famous of them, giving you a glimpse of the most developed and flourishing city of the middle ages in Europe - Constantinople (Present day Istanbul).

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.1 km
City Orientation Walk

City Orientation Walk

Istanbul, Turkey's main city, straddling the Bosphorus Strait to bridge gap between Europe and Asia, is an ancient metropolis embracing cultural influences of many civilizations that once flourished on this land. The Blue Mosque in Sultanahmet part of the Old Town, the Roman-era Hippodrome, and the iconic Byzantine Hagia Sophia are just some of the multiple historic landmarks adorning the...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.4 km
Roman Heritage of Outer Constantinople

Roman Heritage of Outer Constantinople

Istanbul, known as Constantinople in the Middle Ages, was the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire for over a millennium. Although conquered by the Ottomans in 15th century, the city still preserves many signs of its imperial Roman past that reflect the might and splendor of this long vanished empire.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.5 km
Shopping Tour of Istanbul

Shopping Tour of Istanbul

Istanbul can easily claim to be one of the most interesting cities in the world. Located on the very edge of Europe, it later expanded into Asia resulting in a mixture of both cultures. When it comes to shopping you will be amazed by the variety of goods you can buy here and the way everybody bargains - even in the grocery store. Take this tour and explore the legendary bazaars and the hidden...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


Istanbul Shopping Guide: 16 Turkish Items To Bring Home

Istanbul Shopping Guide: 16 Turkish Items To Bring Home

Istanbul, known throughout history as Byzantium and Constantinople, has been a major center of commerce and trade, a place where merchants and general folk would rush to regularly in search of exotic things. In our days, modern travelers to Istanbul are also bound to enjoy a truly magnificent...

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Istanbul for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Istanbul has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Saving Money with City Passes


To save yourself time and money visiting Istanbul's multiple sights, you may want to resort to the so-called city passes, such as the Istanbul Tourist Pass or Istanbul Welcome Card.

A city pass combines all or multiple Istanbul's top highlights, tours and experiences in one prepaid attractions pass, using which you can save incredible amounts on general admission fees as compared to purchasing tickets separately. Often, a city pass also allows user to skip lines at major attractions, thus saving precious time.

Staying at Walk-Friendly Hotels


Since you're keen on exploring cities on foot (we assume that you are, and this is why you're here), it is important that you stay at a hotel close to the city's major attractions. It saves you time and energy. Here are a few of Istanbul hotels conveniently located for a comfortable stroll: Sura Hagia Sophia Hotel, Deluxe Golden Horn Sultanahmet Hotel, Great Fortune Hotel & Spa.

Taking Care of Your Feet


To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Istanbul, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device


Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.

Exploring City on Guided Tours


We have a strong bias towards exploring a city on foot, at your own pace, because this is how you get to see things up close with a maximum freedom. You decide how much time you wish to spend at each attraction and don't have to worry about following a crowd. That said, however, we also understand that some of you may want to go with a guided tour. If that is your case, here are some guided tours to consider. Be ready to fork out a bit of money, though, as a guided tour of Istanbul typically costs somewhere between US$20 and US$80 or more per person:

- Board a hop-on hop-off double-decker to enjoy sightseeing of Istanbul from the open top of a bus listening in the headsets to the commentary provided in a variety of languages, and be able get on and off at any of the stops along the two interconnecting routes (the ticket is valid for both). The ticket provides 24-, 48-, or 72-hour access, plus a free ride on Bosphorus sightseeing boat, and more.

- No visit to Istanbul is complete without savoring authentic Turkish cuisine. Embark on a 5-hour night food tour of Istanbul for a generous dollop of delectable Turkish culinary delights at the food hotspots many tourists don’t even know about.

- Get yourself lost for a while in the aromatic maze of stalls at Istanbul’s Spice Bazaar in the company of a knowledgeable guide, followed by a jaunt aboard a sightseeing boat along the Bosphorus Strait!

- Prepare for an action-packed day of sightseeing visiting Istanbul's top attractions in a single go including historic district Sultanahmet, the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, the dazzling Grand Bazaar and more.

- Follow an expert guide on a 3.5-hour walk around Istanbul’s must-see attractions to familiarize yourself with the city's contrasting cultures and history.

- Take an opportunity to witness centuries-old Istanbul culture in the form of whirling dervishes performing their dance-like spiritual ceremony accompanied by Persian chanting and traditional Turkish music played by live orchestra.

Day Trips


If you have a day to spare whilst in Istanbul, why not use it to explore some of the out-of-town destinations like Gallipoli, Ephesus, or Cappadocia. For as little as circa US$100 up to US$300+ per person you will get a chance to discover the highlights of the UNESCO World Heritage sites (rock pillars, cave villages and subterranean cities), explore World War I battlefields, see the finely-preserved ancient eastern Mediterranean city and walk the pavements once strutted by toga-clad Romans, visit what is believed to be St. Mary’s last place of dwelling, and more. For any of these tours you will be picked up either straight from your hotel or a designated place in Istanbul, and transported either by a comfortable air-conditioned coach, minibus, private vehicle or a plane (whichever is applicable) to the destination of your choice and back again.