A cruise in Istanbul may be the best way for you to fully appreciate Istanbul tourism. A Bosphorus cruise is a cheap method to see some of the main sights of both sides of the city and enjoy the beautiful views across the water.
Highlights include the Ortaköy Mosque, the twin fortresses of Rumeli Hisarı (built by Mehmet II in 1461)and Anadolu Hisarı (built by Beyazıt I in 1394), Kuleli Askeri Lisesi (an imposing military academy on the Asian side), the two bridges connecting Asia and Europe, and the splendid Ottoman mansions flanking both shores further up the Bosphorus.
How much time do you have?
IDO (Istanbul Deniz Otobüsleri/Istanbul Sea Buses & Fast Ferries Co. Inc.) offers two types of tours to discover the Bosphorus: the Full Bosphorus Tour and the Short Circle Bosphorus Tour. The Full Bosphorus Tour, which lasts approximately six hours, departs from Eminönü going all the way to the tip of the Black Sea. You can get on or off the ferry at various stops along the way to explore sights of interest in detail. The Short Circle Tour, which lasts approximately two hours, departs from Eminönü and goes as far as Istinye on the European side and Çubuklu on the Asian side before turning back.
For a more luxurious option, rent one of Plan Tours’ yachts for a private lunch or dinner cruise. For a truly unique experience, cruise and dine on the elegantly-decorated, 33-meter wooden yacht Süreyya V.
If you are feeling adventurous, explore the Bosphorus with Sultan Kayıkları (Sultan’s Boats), replicas of Ottoman-style boats that Sultans used to travel with. Powered by 12 rowers, these 31-meter-long boats are made of woodwork, golden embellishments, and feature imperial sofas covered with rich, red fabrics. You can choose to have a private tour or join a scheduled one up the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn.
Don’t miss out on this affordable and enjoyable way to guide Istanbul and get a deep sense of the city from a cruise.