Galata Bridge: The lively centre of Istanbul
During a city trip to Istanbul, one question arises: “What is the liveliest place in Istanbul?”
One of the best answers to this question is: “Clearly on, under and next to the Galata Bridge!” So what makes the drawbridge over the Golden Horn so interesting?
The Galata Bridge is one of the most important transport hubs in Istanbul. The many people passing by have created their own microcosm at the two-story drawbridge.
This is why I like the Galata Bridge so much!
The passing locals attracted sellers with typical street food from Istanbul.
Above all, the all-time favourites the Simit and Balik Ekmek – “fish in bread”.
It is grilled on boats anchored next to the bridge.
The simit is a sesame bread that is shaped like a donut. It is to Istanbul what the pretzel is to Bavaria.
There are two types of typical photos of the Galata Bridge in travel catalogues:
One is taken from the Galata Tower with a panoramic view over Istanbul’s old town or option two is together with dozens of fishermen from the banks of the Golden Horn.
I prefer the photo with the fishermen.
So why is the bridge so great?
That’s simple. This is due to her incredibly busy attitude towards life that she spreads.
Hundreds of people walk past you every minute without even one of them actually noticing you.
They are all busy doing something in Istanbul.
You see tourists as well as locals, street vendors or the captains of Bosporus ferries who advertise their tours next to the bridge.
They all go down, one by one, in the hustle and bustle of the bridge. Together they make up the charm of the Galata Bridge.
You can stand at the Galata Bridge railing for hours and just people watch without anyone bothering you.
All the while you’ll hear the loud humming engines of the ferries and smell the sea water of the Bosporus as it rises up in your nose.
Six (6) reasons why you will like the Galata Bridge!
1. Try the delicious street food in Istanbul
The Galata Bridge is the place with the most food stalls for Simit, Balik Ekmek, mussels, sweets, corn, chestnuts, Kokorec, …
2. Sit in the restaurants on the lower side of the bridge
The restaurants on the lower side of the bridge have a wide variety of country kitchens on their menus. The Turkish and Ottoman cuisine are represented there as well as exotic Indian food and sushi.
You can also comfortably smoke a Turkish water pipe (the Nargila) in one of the many pubs, bars and cafes.
3. Watch the ferries on the Golden Horn and Bosporus
Sit on the Bosporus-facing side of the restaurants or just watch the ferries from the top of the bridge.
4. Balik ekmek and the floating fish shops
For 100 years, fishermen have been bringing their catch from the Marmara Sea and the Bosporus to the Golden Horn.
One of them had a great idea: “Why not cook the fish on the boats and offer it ready for sale?”
No sooner said than done: They installed grills and deep fryers on their boats.
They put the finished fish in a kind of baguette and sell it to the tens of thousands of people passing by on the Galata Bridge with these words:
“Balik ekmek! Balik ekmek!”(“Fish in bread! Fish in bread!”).
5. Book a Bosporus cruise
Ferries leave regularly near the Eminönü tram stop. The two-hour Bosporus tours only cost 12 Turkish Lira.
6. It is close to other attractions
During a trip to Istanbul you inevitably pass the Galata Bridge. It takes you to the Galata Tower, offers one of the most beautiful views of the Suleymaniye Mosque, and the Egyptian Bazaar is only 100 meters from its southern end.
I wrote a list of many other places of interest in a separate post. Maybe you will find inspiration for your next trip to Istanbul in it.
Reader’s question: Is the Galata Bridge an interesting place in Istanbul for you too?