Kadıköy Merkez will be most people’s first look at the Kadıköy municipality of Istanbul. This small area near the ferry terminal has a few great restaurants, excellent cafés, and lively markets scattered throughout its bustling pedestrian streets. It’s a fun place to observe daily life in the city.
Near the ferry terminals you’ll notice a huge balloon with Turkish flags on it. This is the Türkbalon. It ascends into the air up to 200m for a panoramic view of Istanbul. In all my years in Istanbul, I’ve seen it in the air just once. If you go up, let me know how it is.
Crossing Kadıköy Meydanı with it’s Atatürk monument, then a road, then a small park and another road, you’ll find yourself in Caferağa, the heart of Kadıköy. Feel free to just explore the few streets parallel to the ferry terminal. They’re closed off to traffic and full of shops, restaurants (including my favorite – Çiya), fruit, vegetable, and fish markets, bars, cafés, and lots of life. This is one of the treats of living in Kadıköy. Also, if you make it up to the Franz Kafka Café rooftop, you’ll have great views while enjoying a decent meal or drinks.
A couple historic churches are located just one block in. One is Surp Takavor Armenian Orthodox Church. The other church is Agia Efimia Greek Orthodox Church. It’s the historic cathedral of Chalkedon and was originally built in 1694. The Anadolu Protestan Kilisesi, a Protestant church made up of a congregation of Turkish Christians, is nearby.
If you walk down the street towards the ferry from the Armenian church, you’ll notice the word “Khalkedon” spelled out on the path. This pays homage to the ancient roots of Kadıköy.