Freedom Park (Özgürlük Parkı) – a diverse and verdant oasis

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Freedom Park (Özgürlük Parkı) – a diverse and verdant oasis

The megacity of Istanbul is a green, active, sporting, artistic, and even child-friendly city, as long as you venture beyond the traditional historical tourist area. You can find all of this, for example, in Freedom Park (Özgürlük Parkı) located on the Asian side, where you can spend a fantastically diverse day, starting with a rich Turkish buffet breakfast on the terrace of the park's restaurant.

“The green lungs of Kadıköy”

Freedom Park (Özgürlük Parkı) located in the Kadıköy district on the Asian side of the Selamiçeşme neighborhood in Istanbul.

Freedom Park (Özgürlük Parkı) is located in the Kadıköy district on the Asian side, in the neighborhood of Selamiçeşme. The park is so versatile that I could almost jokingly promise everything for everyone. It has even been referred to as the lungs of Kadıköy. However, as a grandma I will now introduce this park mainly from the perspective of my grandchild.

Freedom Park (Özgürlük Parkı) located in the Kadıköy district on the Asian side of the Selamiçeşme neighborhood in Istanbul.

Özgürlük Parkı is not just a modest green patch but a vast area covering 120,000 m2, with a remarkably wide range of activities. And the Turkish love for children can truly be seen here.

Although the park is enormous, it’s worth noting that it can get crowded on weekends and public holidays. These times are especially favored by families with children for their park outings.

Freedom Park (Özgürlük Parkı) located in the Kadıköy district on the Asian side of the Selamiçeşme neighborhood in Istanbul.

The park is open from early morning until midnight, and in my opinion, the light during sunset gives the park a magical ambiance. But the area is so vast that you could easily spend an entire day here.

Freedom Park (Özgürlük Parkı) located in the Kadıköy district on the Asian side of the Selamiçeşme neighborhood in Istanbul.
Freedom Park (Özgürlük Parkı) located in the Kadıköy district on the Asian side of the Selamiçeşme neighborhood in Istanbul.

Naturally, the park is home to an incredible variety of beautiful plants and different types of areas. Just admiring the flora alone could occupy you for several hours. The area has been designed beautifully with a wide range of plants, blooming flowers, water basins, small wooden bridges, and cafes.

Freedom Park (Özgürlük Parkı) located in the Kadıköy district on the Asian side of the Selamiçeşme neighborhood in Istanbul.
Freedom Park (Özgürlük Parkı) located in the Kadıköy district on the Asian side of the Selamiçeşme neighborhood in Istanbul.

Athletes, children, and animals – something for everyone

Freedom Park (Özgürlük Parkı) located in the Kadıköy district on the Asian side of the Selamiçeşme neighborhood in Istanbul.

For sports enthusiasts, the park offers football and basketball courts, a tennis court, a running track, a cycling path, and various exercise equipment.

Children, on the other hand, can choose their favorite among three different playgrounds.

Freedom Park (Özgürlük Parkı) located in the Kadıköy district on the Asian side of the Selamiçeşme neighborhood in Istanbul.

And there’s also a train track in the park for the joy of the children. In addition, a real rarity is a small outdoor skating rink, though it’s only available at certain times.

Children's train in Freedom Park (Özgürlük Parkı), located in the Kadıköy district on the Asian side of the Selamiçeşme neighborhood in Istanbul.

Animals have not been forgotten either, as the park features enclosed areas for outdoor activities with pets. And of course, there are plenty of stray cats and dogs here as well, so animal lovers will undoubtedly find delightful company here too.

In the park’s cafe, a few street cats even formed a queue in my grandchild’s lap. Cats, of course, know how to choose the best and most loving lap.

The Turkish focus on family and love for children is also evident in the park’s vast picnic area, where families bring everything from food to furniture and decorations to enjoy family lunches or celebrate children’s birthdays.

A clown entertains children in Freedom Park (Özgürlük Parkı), located in the Kadıköy district on the Asian side of the Selamiçeşme neighborhood in Istanbul.

Art and cuisine

In addition to all this, Özgürlük Parkı also offers art, as it houses an amphitheater (Selamiçeşme Özgürlük Parkı Amfi Tiyatro). Especially during the summer season, the theater hosts events such as outdoor movies and concerts. You can find more information about the program here

Art in Freedom Park (Özgürlük Parkı), which is located in the Kadıköy district on the Asian side of the Selamiçeşme neighborhood in Istanbul.
Freedom Park (Özgürlük Parkı) located in the Kadıköy district on the Asian side of the Selamiçeşme neighborhood in Istanbul.

A special delight is the abundant buffet breakfast served on the park restaurant’s terrace on weekends – of course in a Turkish style.

Buffet breakfast in Freedom Park (Özgürlük Parkı), which is located in the Kadıköy district on the Asian side of the Selamiçeşme neighborhood in Istanbul.
Buffet breakfast dessert selection in Freedom Park (Özgürlük Parkı), located in the Kadıköy district on the Asian side of the Selamiçeşme neighborhood in Istanbul.
Examples of the buffet breakfast dessert selection.

I highly recommend these mornings, as what could be a more fantastic way to start a slow and relaxed weekend morning than indulging in treats amidst the lush beauty of Istanbul’s morning sun. Although I can’t promise you tranquility and peace during these breakfast moments, I can guarantee lively chatter and joyful togetherness.

Freedom Park (Özgürlük Parkı) located in the Kadıköy district on the Asian side of the Selamiçeşme neighborhood in Istanbul.

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