Ortaköy information

Lonely Planet review

This charming waterside suburb embraces a jumble of Ottoman buildings renovated as stylish boutiques and eateries. On balmy nights the restaurants, bars and cafes on and around the teeny cobbled square by the water overflow with locals enjoying a drink or meal while indulging in some of the city's best people-watching.

Right on the water's edge, the decorativeOrtaköy Mosque is the work of Nikoğos Balyan, one of the architects of Dolmabahçe Palace. A strange mix of baroque and neoclassical influences, it was designed and built for Sultan Abdül Mecit III from 1853 to 1855. With the modern Bosphorus Bridge looming behind it, the mosque provides the classic photo opportunity for those wanting to illustrate İstanbul's 'old-meets-new' character.

Try to time your visit for Sunday, when the bustling street market fills the cobbled lanes. Do as the locals do and come for brunch, then pick through the market's beaded jewellery, hats and other trinkets before heading home to avoid the late-afternoon traffic crush.

To get here from Sultanahmet, catch the tram to Kabataş and then bus 22, 25E or 30D; from Taksim Sq, catch bus DT2, 40, 40T or 42T (get off at the Ortaköy or Kabataş Lisesi bus stop). Be warned that traffic along Çirağan Caddesi is almost always congested, so bus and taxi trips here can be excruciatingly slow.