Everyone struggles with Istanbul's heavy traffic; escaping the mayhem makes for an enjoyable weekend after the intense workweek. Riding a motorcycle is a good way to avoid the mass of vehicles as well as enjoy the last sunny days of autumn. Map a route through Istanbul, ride the seven hills of the city and enjoy a weekend escape on wheels!
Sleepy fishing villages
Your first stop should be Rumeli Kavağı. This quiet neighborhood, far away from all the chaos, is one of the best places to have a nice breakfast. Start your weekend accompanied by the sound of the sea, fishing boats and seagulls and enjoy the peace and quiet. Trees and crystal clear sky surround you on the way to your next stop. This is a very rare landscape in Istanbul, so accept this special gift and take time to enjoy the silence, the forest's delightful scent and the clean air.
After Rumeli Kavağı, turn the handlebar to a fishing village called Garipçe. It is a very popular spot, so it is hard to find a place to have breakfast there, as it swarms with Istanbulites wanting to get away from hectic city life. It may be better to choose a seafood restaurant for dinner. After a delicious meal, you can enjoy the natural scenery surrounding Garipçe. Organic products are sold in the village, along with various kinds of jams, honey and local products.
The next destination after the fishing villages is the Anatolian side of Istanbul; take Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge to get there. Photos you might have taken in the earlier villages will likely have captured a third village in the frame as well, on this side. When you turn towards Riva after crossing the bridge, do not forget to pay a visit to Uncle Mukayyet and Aunt Nevin, a nice couple who sell corn and tea on the roadside. The special tea they brew in the urn is delicious - give it a try, you won't regret it.
Cafes and castles
Poyrazköy is a fishing village on the Anatolian side. It is quite pleasant to enjoy a nice lunch on its quiet and clean beach, looking right across the third Bosporus Bridge. This spot welcomes thousands of people who come here to swim and cool off on hot summer days. The village cafe on the beach still retains its authenticity and amazing view.
The fourth recommended spot is Yoros Castle in Beykoz. This castle, which was built during the Byzantine period, is a place of note you may like to visit. The castle, also called Ceneviz Castle, derives its name from the Greek word "oros," which means mountain or hill. However, the area was also commonly called "Hieron," meaning "holy place." It is also claimed that the name comes from Zeus Ourios (Zeus, granter of fair winds). The castle covers a larger area than the total combined area of all the castles surrounding Istanbul. Some of the inner towers are still in good shape, and there are Greek inscriptions on the walls.
Some run, others rest
Next you will reach the European side. It is a special experience for bikers to cross the bridges that connect the two sides of the Bosporus Strait. The European side's route runs from Baltalimanı to Sultanahmet. Following a short trip on the coast at Baltalimanı, turn your handlebar to Bebek Park, following the coastline. Have something to drink in one of the nice cafes and take a look around. Some people take a walk, while some run and others have fun in the park with their kids. The next stop after Bebek is Ortaköy.
From Ortaköy to Karaköy
The places in Ortaköy Square are very diverse when it comes to food, drinks and scenic views. If you are a photo enthusiast in the square, then you will have so much fun suddenly finding yourself amidst lots of activity. After a half hour break in Ortaköy, the last stop on this European side tour is Sultanahmet. But before this, you must pause at Karaköy, currently one of the most popular districts in the city. It is one of the best locations to have a nice cup of coffee, especially by "third wave" coffee makers, and is a great place for different eating and drinking experiences.
Sunset from Galata Tower
It is about to get dark. Watch the crimson sunset from Galata Tower. All the photos you take from on high at this hour could break records on Instagram. You will have finally reached Sultanahmet, so you must, of course, have Sultanahmet "köfte" (meatballs) for dinner. Then witness the area's colorful and energetic atmosphere one more time and take a ride around the narrow streets of the district. This will bring you to the end of an invigorating motorcycling weekend spent away from the stress of work and traffic -refreshed and ready to start a new week.