Kanlıca, sitting on the Asian side of the Bosporus in Istanbul, is a village known for its delicious yogurt and some of the most beautiful yalılar (a yalı is a seaside mansion). During Byzantine times, it was known as Vorádion (Βοράδιον) or Gláros (Γλάρος). It’s a popular stop on the touristic Bosporus tours offered by Şehir Hatları, Istanbul’s public ferry service.
Kanlıca Yoğurdu is a brand of yogurt that’s been produced since 1893. It’s readily sold on the touristic cruises and at the ferry terminal. What set it apart from other Turkish yogurts is that it’s eaten with powdered sugar while others are typically eaten with savory foods. It can also be served with jam or honey. The yogurt is a nice little treat and a must try on any touristic Bosporus cruise or visit to Kanlıca.
The shores of Kanlıca are lined with Ottoman yalılar, both modern and historic. Of course, they’re best seen from the sea, so it’s recommended to come by ferry or a touristic Bosporus cruise. I’ve walked along the road and it’s impossible to admire these homes from the street because of the high security fences. As the ferry approaches the terminal, you’ll get the best views of these unique homes.
One of the most noticeable yalılar is the Yağcı Şefik Bey Yalısı, sitting just north of the pier. It stands out because of the mannequins that have been placed by the owner on the fence at the edge of the Bosporus.
The ferry terminal sits on a small square, where you’ll be able to sample the yogurt. You’ll also find plenty of outdoor cafés and restaurants and a tall lighthouse called Radar Kulesi.
Atop the hill just to the north of Kanlıca is a palace called the Hıdiv Kasrı. It was the residence of Khedive Abbas II of Egypt and Sudan, the last Khedive of Egypt. Because of his frequent trips to Istanbul, he had the palace built as a summer home in 1907. The Turkish government bought the home in 1937 and let it sit until 1979 when it was renovated. It has been a very reasonably priced restaurant run by the city of Istanbul since 1984.
To the north of the village is a walkway right on the edge of the Bosporus. It’s a fantastic place to walk with amazing views across to Europe.
The easiest way to get to Kanlıca is through Üsküdar. Take a ferry to Üsküdar and walk to the Üsküdar Cami Önü stop (in front of the mosque across the street from the ferry terminal). Hop on pretty much any bus with a number 15 until you reach the Kanlıca stop. You can also take a dolmuş going to Beykoz and ask the driver to let you out at Kanlıca – it’s much faster than the bus. If you’re on the European side, there’s a ferry service on the same line from either Arnavutköy or Bebek to Kanlıca every few hours throughout the day. Alternatively, you can take an aforementioned touristic Bosporus cruise. Kanlıca is one of two stops on the Asian side.