Connecting the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara and bordering the magnificent city of Istanbul, the Bosphorus is one of the busiest commercial waterways in the world. A fun fact about the Bosphorus is that this very strategic waterway divides the Asian and European parts of Istanbul, with each side having its own history and culture. You’ll be charmed by the rich culture and beautiful views this place offers. A cruise down the Bosphorus Strait is definitely something that you should experience at least once in your lifetime. If you wish to see this magnificent city from the water, check out this guide to Bosphorus Cruise for all the information you need before embarking on your adventure.
Things to do / Highlights
There are various cruise tours that are available, and you can choose the one that best fits your interests and your itinerary.
The city’s official ferry company offers a variety of tours, including the Short Circle Bosphorus Cruise and the Full Bosphorus Cruise. Most of them are guided tours, so you’ll get to learn more about the rich history and culture of Istanbul.
Hop-on-hop-off boat tour
If you are an avid explorer and you want to explore the city on foot as well as on water, you can opt for a hop-on-hop-off tour. Alight at any of the stops and discover the beautiful mosques, museums, and landmarks near the Bosphorus. Just hop onto the next ferry to go to your next destination and have fun exploring this beautiful city at your own pace.
Bosphorus Tour Istanbul
Bosphorus Tour Istanbul offers various cruise tour options for you to choose from. If you are up for a private adventure, you can even charter a yacht to take in the beautiful view of the Bosphorus River with your loved ones. Aside from that, they also have various lunch, dinner, and buffet cruises. A meal overlooking the water is an experience that will be hard to forget.
What to eat
If you wish to enjoy a meal by the Bosphorus Strait, there are a few dinner cruises for you to choose from.
Istanbul Bosphorus Dinner Cruise
Usually lasting three to four hours, the Istanbul Bosphorus Dinner Cruise offers a memorable dinner right by the water. Aside from the authentic Turkish cuisine on offer, you will also get to enjoy panoramic views of the charming city at night and watch special folk dances and music shows. Most dinner cruises have belly dancers so you’ll have the complete experience.
Ciragan Bosphorus Grill
Exploring the area on foot? There are a lot of restaurants and bars for you to choose from. Chill with a cocktail at the nearby Ciragan Bosphorus Grill and enjoy charming views of the city right by the famous Bosphorus Bridge (15 July Martyrs Bridge). The restaurant offers both traditional Turkish and international cuisines so you’ll be spoilt for choice!
Choose a reputable cruise company
Although there are a lot of Bosphorus cruise tours to choose from, remember to do your research and choose a reputable cruise company because if you are not careful, you might get scammed. Several less reputable ferry companies target uninformed tourists and offer them cruise rides for double the price and shorter durations. You might even get a ferry that doesn’t meet the basic safety requirements. Look out for official ferry companies like Şehir Hatları. You can also check out Bosphorus Cruise Tours in Istanbul, another reputable ferry company that offers tours at great prices.
Check the schedule
The time and availability of boat tours will vary according to the season. Remember to check the timing and schedule online before choosing one so you know which tour will best suit your itinerary.
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How to get there
There are several docks right by the river where you can purchase your cruise tickets from, and you can find most of them at Eminönü. There are various ways for you to get here via public transport.
There are several buses that pass by Eminönü. Depending on your location, you can choose one of these buses and alight at Eminönü bus station to get to the pier.
Take the Marmaray commuter rail line. Alight at Sirkeci and make a transfer at the tram station to Eminönü Station.
Take the T1 line and alight at Eminönü Station.
Taxis are available throughout the city, so you can either hail a taxi off the streets or download the app BiTAKSi. It finds the nearest registered taxi and directs them to you. Make sure to ask the driver to set the meter.
You will need the Istanbul Kart to access public transportation. You can get them at the metro or bus station and top-up the card as needed.
Bosphorus Cruise information
Address: Emin Sinan Mah, Emin Sinan Hamam Sok, Beyzade Han No: 6 Kat: 2 Sultanahmet, Istanbul, Turkey
Cost: from 33.5 USD (30 EUR)
Official website: Bosphorus Cruise
Department of tourism: How to Istanbul
Duration: 4 hour
In light of the February 2023 earthquake that devastated Turkey and Syria, Trip101 urges you to be apprised of the latest news if you have any plans to travel to Eastern Turkey. Other parts of the country remain open to travelers.
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