Istanbul’s new mega cruise port Galataport is located in the heart of Istanbul in the waterfront neighborhood of Karaköy Tophane. It is more than a cruise port, transforming historical city harbor into a place to eat, discover the art, and shop while enjoying the Bosphorus view.
The Location and Transportation
Galataport is located right across the Historical Peninsula on the shore along Istanbul’s Karaköy district. You can reach there after a 15-20 minute walk from many key locations like Taksim Square, Karaköy, or Galata Tower. With public transportation, the easiest way to get to the Galataport is by taking the Kabataş-Bağcılar Tram line T1 until Tophane station.
Also, read my other travel articles:
Suleymaniye Mosque: Plan Your Trip
Istanbul Balat Guide From Local
Amasya Travel Guide: Food, History & Culture
Nearby Attractions At Galataport
Kılıç Ali Paşa Mosque
Before Entering the Galataport area, the Kılıç Ali Paşa Mosque complex welcomes you. Famous architect Mimar Sinan designed and built between 1580 and 1587. He was in his 90’s at that time.
It consists of a mosque, a madrasah, a hamam, a türbe, and a fountain. Originally, it was on the coastline. Over the years the sea in front of it filled. Kapudan-i Derya (Grand Admiral) Kılıç Ali Pasha ordered to build the complex. The 15th. century Hamam is still open. The entrance cost is about 40 USD as of February 2022.
Nusretiye Mosque & Clock Tower
The Galataport area begins from the Tophane square. The first monument you see is the Nusretiye Clock tower. Ordered by the Ottoman Sultan Abdülmecid I (1823–1861), designed by architect Garabet Amira Balyan and completed in 1848.
Baroque style Nusretiye mosque is one of the largest Ottoman mosques outside the historical peninsula of Istanbul. It was built in 1823-1826 with the order of Sultan Mahmut II. by Armenian descent architect Krikor Balyan. Krikor also worked in Beylerbeyi Palace and many other structures in Istanbul.
The mosque is open the whole day and the entrance is free, donations are welcome. If you want to witness a baroque-style mosque, definitely visit the mosque.
After some time around historical buildings, you go back to modern-day Istanbul; where Galataport’s new shopping and dining center welcomes you. As you walk along the edge of Galataport, the wind and sea scent coming from the Bosphorus is enchanting.
The Galataport has a lovely walking path; however, it was shorter than I thought. It takes about 10-15 minutes to walk till the end. You can sit down on benches. Relax a bit with the view of Bosphorus, get warm up with the sun.
Where to eat?
There are many restaurant options like Nusr’et, Günaydın Steakhouse, Big Chefs. I Haven’t tried any of them. If you want to taste more local Turkish cuisine Fasuli, Black Sea region cuisine restaurant seemed a good choice. If you have kids and want to treat them like they are in a heaven of candies and chocolate; Candy Shop Şekerci Cafer Erol might be for you.
So what did we have? We usually prefer to eat classic Turkish home-cooked meals. 😊 That’s why my group team, (mom and daughter) wanted to have a fast-food. And we completed the day with the best dessert you can get around Galataport, Karaköy, and even probably in Istanbul:
Karaköy Güllüoğlu Baklava (A Sweet Happy Ending)
If you ask “Where to eat baklava in Istanbul?”, the majority of people would first say Karaköy Güllüoğlu. It is within walking distance of Galataport. That’s why we went there, to have the best baklava in town. It is always crowded, I have never seen a calm time there. You have to get in the line (Watch the vlog at the beginning of the article) and usually wait to get an empty chair. But still, it’s worth it. On the other hand, I wish it could be more reasonable in price; so it wouldn’t be a luxury to eat there for most locals as well.
In conclusion, as a whole family, we had a great time walking through Galataport. Praying at the baroque-style 18th. century mosque, shopping, eating from the best baklava shop in town. The view of the historical peninsula, the Topkapı Palace, and the breezy sea scent was priceless.