denkoskWay out west on the way to Atatürk Airport, Florya might not seem the most obvious place for a day trip. However, for families with children it's a surprisingly good choice with not only a large state-of-the-art aquarium but also some sandy beaches and a great park to take up time and energy.

Adult visitors may be more interested in the graceful Deniz Köskü (Sea Pavilion) where Atatürk used to come to unwind. There are also a lot of fine restaurants here which are particularly known for their Sunday brunches. 

Around Florya

If you come out of Florya station and turn right you will soon come to the Bauhaus-influenced Deniz Köşkü (Sea Pavilion, closed Mondays through Thursdays, Turkish-only guided tours), a little pavilion at the end of a pier justing out into the sea from a sandy beach that was designed in 1935 by architect Seyfi Arkan. Atatürk whiled away a total of 42 days here and his visits are immortalized in the photos on display in rooms which are still set up as they were in his day.

Subsequent presidents of the Turkish Republic took up Atatürk's lead and frequented the pavilion although today it is just a tourist attraction.

If instead you turn left out of the station you will come to the wonderful waterside Florya Sosyal Tesisleri (Florya Socal Facilities). Despite the rather offputting name this is a very fine park that parallels the coast of the Sea of Marmara and offers all sorts of unexpected facilities including the city’s first reflexology garden where you can kick off your shoes and give your bare feet a workout on semi-precious stones embedded in the ground.

Heading back towards the town centre you'll come to the site of the İstanbul Aquarium (open daily, steep admission fee but many discounts). The city’s second aquarium doubles as a basic city history museum. It’s a little more gimmicky than the Turkuazoo in the Forum Shopping Mall but many visitors will appreciate the walk-through tropical rain forest with some very unscary-looking piranhas. There’s a free pick-up service from Sultanahmet and Taksim.floryaaqua

Beyti Et Lokantası. Tel: 0212-663 2990
Görkem Kilis Sofrası. Tel: 0212-663 7979
Hatay Has Kral Sofrası. Tel: 0212-663 0700
Uludağ Et Lokantası. Tel: 0212-624 9590
Ziya Şark Sofrası. Tel: 0212-663 8840
Transport info
Suburban train services from Sirkeci and Cankurtaran used to run straight to Florya. Once the Marmaray opens it may be that the Sirkeci stretch of the line will become redundant.
There are also dolmuşes from Tarlabaşı Bulvarı behind Taksim Square to Florya. 
The Aquarium also operates a free shuttle service: http://www.istanbulakvaryum.com/tr/ucretsiz-servis
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