If you’re a big fan of cheerful street markets like I am, the Beşiktaş fish market should definitely be on your to-see list. With its local crowds buzzing around dusk till dawn, cheap and cheerful restaurants and black-and-white clad die-hard football fans, Beşiktaş is a unique neighborhood of Istanbul.
Although very central, it isn’t home to many tourist attractions and is a densely populated residential and commercial area – so, if you want to feel like a local in this city, taking a stroll around Beşiktaş will be more than enough.
The fish market has always been a giant contributor to the lively scene in the neighborhood: it’s right in the middle of all the buzz, and with its fishmongers singing tunes about how fresh the fish is or the sounds of the clients bargaining, even passing by this place makes you feel jolly.
The market attracted a lot of critique with its renovation in 2008, some said that it looked too out-of-place in such an old neighborhood, but I think the concrete structure and the light bulbs that hang from the high ceilings bring a breath of fresh air to the street.
I recommend visiting the market in the evening even if you’re not buying any fish – just to look around and feel the vibe, see for yourself whether the controversial architecture is any good, and if you’re hungry, there are a lot of good fish restaurants like the Beşiktaş Balıkçısı attached to the market.