Every visitor to Istanbul wants to—and
should—take a Bosphorus cruise day-trip up
the 32 km (20-mile)-long
strait which joins the Sea
of Marmara to the
south with the Black
Sea to the north of Istanbul.
Here's what you'll see on a Bosphorus cruise.
Your cruise can take as little as 25
minutes, or a full day; it may just
be transport across the water, or may
include sightseeing and lunch.
are many varieties of Bosphorus cruises:
Intercontinental Ferryboat (1 hour)
For only a few Turkish liras you can board a ferryboat in Europe at Eminönü, Kabataş or Beşiktaş and cruise across the Bosphorus to Asia: Üsküdar, Harem, Haydarpaşa or Kadıköy. The cruise takes as little as 25 minutes (one-way/single; an hour round-trip/return.)
You'll get to see the domes and minarets of Old Istanbul, Leander's Tower (Kız Kulesi), the sprawling new districts of office towers, and the sweep of the Bosphorus to the north and the Sea of Marmara to the south.
This is the shortest and least expensive kind of Bosphorus cruise.
Short & Frequent (1.5 to 2.5 hours)
Several companies operate short Bosphorus cruises that take you part way up the Bosphorus and back down. They run frequently in warm weather, so it should be easy to find a date and time for your cruise:
frequent 90-minute cruises that take
you from Eminönü up the Bosphorus to
Bridge, then turn around and
return to Eminönü. The trip is transport-only,
with no stops nor commentary, but it
allows you to see much of the city
in a short time for a low price. More...
Perhaps the easiest way to do a TurYol cruise is to take Efendi Travel's Bosphorus Cruise & Eminönü half-day tour. All logistics and tickets are taken care of, and you get a guided tour of the Rüstem Pasha Mosque and Spice Bazaar as well. More...
Avrasya operates 2-1/2-hour
cruises from Kabataş, making several
stops at docks along the way. More...
Full Day Ferryboat Cruise
A traditional Şehir Hatları ferryboat departs from the Eminönü ferryboat
docks (on the Golden
Horn between Galata
Bridge and Sirkeci
Station) mid-morning and cruises all the way up the Bosphorus to Anadolu Hisarı on the Asian shore, arriving around noontime. After a 3-hour layover—plenty of time for lunch in a local seafood restaurant (not included in the fare)—you cruise back down the Bosphorus, arriving by late afternoon. It's a full day, but if you don't want to take that much time—and see things on the return trip that you already saw on the outbound trip—there are alternatives. More...
Numerous tour companies operate their own Bosphorus cruise vessels offering half-day, full-day, evening, dinner, moonlight, or Istanbul-by-night cruises, usually with a meal and sightseeing commentary included. This is perhaps the most comfortable way to cruise, but also the most expensive.