Discover Istanbul Through The Bosphorus Strait
Quick Guide to the Bosphorus River
- Also Known As: Bosporus Strait and, in the Turkish language, it is called İstanbul Boğazı or Karadenız Boğazı.
- Point of Entry: Kabatas Pier is a popular starting point for Bosphorus cruises. It is located near Taksim Square and is easily accessible by tram in case your ticket does not include hotel transfers.
- Point of Origin: The Bosphorus Strait is a natural water channel in northwestern Turkey, separating Thrace from Anatolia. The strait flows continuously between the two bodies of water without a specific point of origin or end.
- Types of Cruises: Dinner Cruises, Lunch Cruises, Sightseeing Cruises, Princes' Islands Cruises, and Combo Cruises.
- Popular Sights on the Strait: Galata Tower | Dolmabahce Palace | Topkapi Palace | Hagia Sophia | Blue Mosque | Ciragan Palace | Ortaköy Mosque | Bosphorus Bridge | Beylerbeyi Palace | Üsküdar | Maiden Tower | Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge | Kiz Kulesi Tower | Küçüksu Palace | Rumeli Fortress | Anatolian Fortress
Why Visit The Bosphorus Strait?
- Breathtaking Views: The Bosphorus boasts stunning vistas and sunsets. The Bosphorus is even more magical at night, with its illuminated bridges, palaces, and mosques. Take in the beauty of both the European and Asian sides of Istanbul.
- Rich History: As a vital trade and transport hub for over millennia, the Bosphorus history is fascinating. Visit landmarks like the Rumeli Fortress, Maiden's Tower, and the historical neighborhoods of Ortakoy and Bebek.
- The Princes' Islands: A short ferry ride from Istanbul, experience the Princes' Islands cluster of nine in the Sea of Marmara. Visitors can only explore the Islands by bike or horse-drawn carriage to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere.
- Shop at the Bazaars: The Bosphorus region is home to some of Istanbul's best bazaars, such as the Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar. Shop for souvenirs, Turkish carpets, spices, and other traditional goods.
- Visit the Bosphorus Villages: Visit the charming fishing villages along the Bosphorus, such as Anadolu Kavagi on the Asian side or Rumeli Kavagi on the European side. Here, you can enjoy traditional Turkish food, relax on the beach, or hike the surrounding hills.
Depending on your ticket and itinerary, these are some attractions you can visit and explore!
Plan Your Visit
- Istanbul Bosphorus Sightseeing Cruise- Opens at 10:30 AM and runs every hour until 4:45 PM.
- 2-Hour Boat Tour in Bosphorus- Pick your slot: 12 PM to 2 PM, 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM, and 7 PM to 9 PM.
- Bosphorus Luxury Yacht Cruise with Asian Side Stopover- Opens at 10:30 AM to 1 PM and 2 PM to 4:30 PM.
- Istanbul in a Day Tour- Starts at 9 AM and ends at 7 PM.
- Bosphorus Sunset Cruise- Starts at 4 PM and ends at 6:30 PM.
- Fast Track Princes Island Round Trip- Opens at 9:45 AM and 11:45 AM
- Bosphorus Black Sea Lunch Cruise- Starts at 12.30 PM and ends at 5 PM.
- Princes' Islands Lunch Cruise- Starts at 9:30 AM and ends at 3:30 PM.
- Full-Day Tour of Princes Island- There are two slots, 9 AM to 6 PM and 9:30 AM to 6:30 PM.
- Bosphorus Dinner Cruise with Private Table- Starts at 8:30 PM and ends at 11:30 PM.
- Bosphorus 3-Course Dinner Cruise with Oriental Show- Starts at 9 PM and ends at 12 AM
The best times to visit Istanbul are from March to May and between September and November. That’s when crowds at the city’s attractions are manageable, room rates are average and daytime temperatures generally sit between 15.5°C and 21.1°C.
Where can I board my Cruise?
Most Bosphorus Cruises begin and end at Kabatas Pier.
Address: Ömer Avni, İskele Yolu, 34427 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Türkiye
Please refer to your tickets for more information.
- Hagia Sophia: A world-famous former Byzantine church and Ottoman mosque, now a museum, known for its impressive architecture and historical significance.
- Grand Bazaar: One of the world's oldest and largest covered markets, featuring over 4,000 shops selling traditional goods such as jewelry, carpets, spices, and textiles.
- Topkapi Palace: It is a vast palace complex that served as the primary residence of Ottoman sultans for over 400 years, featuring ornate courtyards, gardens, and galleries.
- Dolmabahçe Palace: It is a lavish 19th-century palace that served as the administrative center of the Ottoman Empire and later the Republic of Turkey.
- Blue Mosque: A stunning mosque with six minarets, a grand dome, and intricate blue tiles, located in the heart of Istanbul's historic Sultanahmet district.
- Galata Tower: A medieval tower that offers panoramic views of Istanbul's skyline and the Bosphorus Strait, with a restaurant and observation deck at the top.
- Ali Ocakbaşı Gümüşsuyu is located at Inonu Caddesi No: 22/1 Gumussuyu Beyoglu, Istanbul and operates between 11:30 AM and 11:30 PM every day. This restaurant serves traditional Turkish cuisine with a focus on grilled meats, kebabs, and meze dishes. They also have a selection of vegetarian options, including stuffed eggplant and zucchini, as well as seafood dishes.
- Nobu Istanbul is located at No:6 Askerocağı Caddesi The Ritz-Carlton Istanbul, Istanbul, 34357 and operates between 6 PM and 11 PM. This upscale restaurant specializes in Japanese-Peruvian fusion cuisine, blending the flavors and ingredients of both cultures to create unique and innovative dishes. They also offer a selection of sushi and sashimi, as well as vegetarian and gluten-free options.
- City Lights Bar is located at Asker Ocagi Cad. No: 1 Taksim, Istanbul 34435 and operates between 2:00 PM and 02:00 AM every day. This restaurant offers a diverse range of cuisine, including Chinese, Japanese, Turkish, and Greek dishes. They have a variety of options for vegetarians and meat lovers alike, and also boasts a rooftop terrace with stunning views of Istanbul.
Interesting Facts About the Bosphorus
- The Bosphorus Strait is a busy and challenging waterway, with an estimated 48,000 ships passing through it annually. It is also the world’s narrowest strait used for international navigation.
- The Bosphorus Strait is a chokepoint for the maritime transit of oil and, is a popular shipping route for oil transportation from the Caspian Sea region and Russia to areas including Asia, Western and Southern Europe.
- The Bosphorus Strait has been the site of several naval battles throughout history, including the Battle of the Bosphorus in 1915 during World War I.
- The Bosphorus Strait was also known as the “Strait of Constantinople” to differentiate it from the Cimmerian Bosphorus in Crimea.
- The Bosphorus Strait has inspired many poets, writers, and artists throughout history, including Lord Byron, who described it as "the great ocean stream of Constantinople."
How to buy you Bosphorus Cruise Tickets?
Frequently Asked Questions About the Bosphorus
The Bosphorus Strait is a natural waterway that separates the European and Asian sides of Istanbul, Turkey.
The Bosphorus connects the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara.
The Bosphorus has been an important waterway for more than 2,500 years, serving as a vital trade route between Europe and Asia.
The Bosphorus Strait has a strong current that flows from the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara, with an average speed of 1-2 knots.
Some of the notable landmarks along the Bosphorus include the Bosphorus Bridge, Rumeli Fortress, and Maiden's Tower.
An estimated 48,000 vessels pass through the Bosphorus Strait every year, making it one of the world's busiest shipping lanes.
The Bosphorus Strait is home to a variety of marine life, including dolphins, seals, and several species of fish.
Traditional Turkish dishes served along the Bosphorus include grilled meats, kebabs, meze dishes, and seafood.
The Bosphorus Strait has a rich history dating back thousands of years and has been the site of several naval battles throughout history.
The best time to visit the Bosphorus depends on personal preference, but many people enjoy visiting in the spring or fall when the weather is mild.
The weather along the Bosphorus can vary depending on the season, but summers are typically hot and humid, while winters can be cold and rainy.