Every visitor to Istanbul wants to—and should!—take a Bosphorus cruise on 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.
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.
There are many varieties of Bosphorus cruises:
In 30 minutes or less, 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 10 minutes (one-way/single between Kabataş and Üsküdar on a Dentur Avrasya commuter ferry) to 1 hour (round-trip/return Şehir Hatları or TurYol ferry between the Golden Horn (Eminönü or Karaköy) and the Asian ports of Haydarpaşa or Kadıköy.)
You’ll get to see the domes and minarets of Old Istanbul, Leander’s Tower (Kız Kulesi), the magnificent façade of Dolmabahçe Palace, 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. It’s not really a cruise, of course. It’s the short but pleasurable voyage that Istanbul commuters get to experience every day. More…
Short Bosphorus Cruises
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 that suits your plans.
Dentur Avrasya Hop On – Hop Off
Dentur Avrasya operates 1-hour 40-minute Hop On – Hop Off loop cruises from Kabataş, taking you to the Fatih Bridge about half-way up the Bosphorus and stopping at docks that allow you to visit several Ottoman palaces and interesting sights along the way. You can stay on the boat and finish the cruise in less than two hours, or you can hop off, visit a palace for an hour, then hop on the next ferry to continue your voyage at no additional fare. It’s the most efficient and pleasurable way to combine a Bosphorus cruise with visits to Ottoman palaces!
TurYol Short Bosphorus Cruise
TurYol operates 90-minute cruises that take you nonstop from Eminönü by the Galata Bridge, up the Bosphorus to the Fatih Bridge, then turn around and return to Eminönü for TL12. There are departures from Kadıköy and Üsküdar on the Asian shore as well. The trip is transport-only, with no stops nor commentary. In spring, summer and autumn boats depart every hour on the hour from mid-morning until the evening, allowing you to depart when you want and to see much of the Bosphorus in a short time for a reasonable price. More…
Şehir Hatları Short Bosphorus Cruise
Traditional Şehir Hatları ferryboats depart the Eminönü docks by the Galata Bridge each afternoon, sail up beyond the Fatih Bridge, turn around and return, taking about 2 hours, for TL10.
Full-Day Bosphorus Cruise
Two companies will take you from the city center all the way to the northern Bosphorus port of Anadolu Kavağı where you can visit the hilltop Byzantine fortress of Yoros Kalesi, enjoy panoramic Bosphorus views, have a pleasant lunch, then return by the same boat to the city center, all in about 5-1/2 hours.
Dentur Avrasya Long Bosphorus Cruise
The Dentur Avrasya cruise departs before noon and takes you from the Kabataş and Beşiktaş docks all the way to Anadolu Kavağı and return on a modern ferry in 5-1/2 hours for TL20—the best value. More…
Şehir Hatları Long Bosphorus Cruise
A traditional Şehir Hatları ferryboat departs the Eminönü docks by the Galata Bridge mid-morning and cruises all the way up the Bosphorus to Anadolu Kavağı and return in about 5-1/2 hours for TL25. The bonus here is that you sail on a traditional Istanbul ferryboat. 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.
—by Tom Brosnahan
Crucero por el Bósforo
El paseo en barco por el Bósforo es una de las actividades que no podéis perderos en Estambul, los precios son realmente asequibles y las vistas, tanto de día como de noche, son fantásticas.
Durante el recorrido veréis varios palacios (entre ellos Bylerbeyi, Ciragan y Dolmabahçe) y disfrutaréis de la animada vida de Estambul. A lo largo de todo el trayecto comprobaréis como el ambiente de la ciudad no se reduce sólo al centro histórico (especialmente en verano).
¿Qué es el Bósforo?
El Bósforo es un estrecho que conecta el Mar Negro con el Mar de Mármara separando Estambul en dos partes: la europea y la asiática. La longitud total del estrecho es de 30 kilómetros y la anchura va desde los 700 metros hasta los casi 4 kilómetros de la salida al Mar Negro.
Para cruzar el estrecho hay dos puentes: el Boğaziçi (al sur) y el Fatih Sultan Mehmed (al norte). Ambos tienen una longitud muy similar de algo más de un kilómetro.
La encrucijada de mares y continentes que confluyen en el estrecho del Bósforo fue determinante a la hora de establecer la ubicación de Constantinopla.