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This is the tenth of eleven posts on Istanbul. Check out our other posts here:

Istanbul has the distinction of being in two continents. While the old historic part of Istanbul is in Europe, the Asian side is merely across the Bosphorus Strait. Mr. Selfish and I love the idea of being in both Europe and Asia in one day, so we opted to take a day trip from Europe to Asia.

Day Trip

Starting in Europe: Dolmabahçe Palace

Right near our hotel and on the European coastline of the Bosphorus Strait is Dolmabahçe Palace. Construction on the palace finished in 1856 and cost approximately $1.5 billion USD in today’s currency. It was built to replace Topkapı Palace as the Sultan’s residence and is considered to be the Versailles of Turkey. The palace was a significant factor in the decline of the finances of the Ottoman Empire, which eventually slid into bankruptcy. Needless to say, it is quite elaborate and ornate.

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Admission to Dolmabahçe Palace costs 30 TL ($14.45 USD) and includes a tour of the inside in English. You can only visit the inside of the palace with a tour guide. While waiting for our tour to begin, Mr. Selfish and I wandered around the outside grounds.

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The inside tour took about 45 minutes. It was a rather large group, which made it difficult to hear the tour guide, whose English wasn’t that great. Nevertheless, it was a worthwhile tour because the inside is so well preserved. We weren’t technically allowed to take photos but I sneaked a few anyhow.

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Crossing the Strait: Great Views for Only 3 TL!

Next, we took a boat from Kabataş to cross the Bosphorus Strait. It only cost 3 TL ($1.45 USD) per person.

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Below are photos of Dolmabahçe Palace from the Bosphorus Strait.

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It was a lovely boat ride. We had great views of the Dolmabahçe Mosque, which is right next to the palace, as well as views of the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sophia, and the Süleymaniye Mosque.

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On the Asian Side of Istanbul: Maiden’s Tower

After the very short boat ride, Mr. Selfish and I were officially in Asia. We walked along the water until we came along a great view of the Maiden’s Tower, which is a small tower on an island in the Bosphorus Strait.

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Legend has it that an emperor had a much beloved daughter, whose prophecy was to be bitten by a snake and perish before her 18th birthday. To prevent this prophecy, the emperor supposedly built Maiden’s Tower so that his daughter could live on the island in safety. On his daughter’s 18th birthday, the emperor came to the island with a basket of fruit to celebrate that he had defeated the prophecy. Of course, there was a snake in the basket and the girl perished.

You can take a little boat to Maiden’s Tower for 20 TL ($9.63 USD). Mr. Selfish and I opted not to do so since the weather wasn’t that great. Instead, we had some apple tea and Turkish coffee and enjoyed the view of Maiden’s Tower from afar.

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Wandering Around Kadıköy: Ice Cream and Turkish Delights

Afterward, we took a taxi to Kadıköy, which is a quaint district on the Asian side of Istanbul. We had lunch at Ciya Kebab (located at Carsi ici Kadikoy) and a pre-dinner snack at Borsam Tasfirin (a small chain with several restaurants in Kadıköy), both of which I’ve discussed in previous posts.

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Despite these meals, Mr. Selfish and I still managed to have the amazing ice cream treat called “Kup Griye” at Baylan Patisserie (located at Muvakkithane Caddesi No:19 Kadıköy). It’s made out of creamy vanilla ice cream with smooth caramel sauce, ground pistachio, almonds, crunchy bits of toffee, and fluffy whipped cream. And yes, it is good as it sounds.

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Although the Kup Griye costs 14.5 TL ($7 USD), it’s totally worth it!

Right across the street from Baylan is a Turkish delight store called Ali Muhiddin Hadji Bekir (located at Osmanağa Mah. Muvakkithane Sok. 6/A, Osmanağa). We sampled a few, which were quite delightful indeed, and purchased a box as a gift.

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Ferry Back to Europe: Only 3 TL Per Person

Finally, we took the ferry from Kadıköy back to the European side of Istanbul. It only cost 3 TL ($1.44 USD) per person. It’s pretty easy to use the token machines; just be sure to have some change on you.

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The boat back was quite chilly but the views were quite nice.

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This was our last full day in Istanbul. Next up is Mr. Selfish’s post on the Turkish Airway’s business class lounge.