Don’t Miss Out On a Bosphorus Cruise Tour While in Istanbul

Picture of the Bosphorus in Istanbul at night.

by Istanbul Trails

in City Trip, Things To See & Do

No Istanbul experience is complete without a cruise up the Bosphorus. A bold statement? Sure, but in my opinion, it is as crucial as visiting any of the other major sightseeing spots. Certainly from June to September it’s one of Istanbul’s greatest pleasures. There are several ways to take a tour on the Bosphorus. But take my advice, don’t get tempted by the private bout tour offers ‘hustlers’ on the docks of Eminönü make. There is no better deal than the Scenic Bosphorus Tour operated by IDO – Istanbul’s Fast Ferry and Seabus Company. And did you know they also offer an unmissable night cruise on the Bosphorus?

Bosphorus Details

With two shores laden with highlights over a 32 km stretch, I decided to break up the more detailed descriptions of the Bosphorus and its main attractions in the following pages:

Bosphorus Cruises (Boğaz Turu)

As I said before, stay clear of the private companies that offer cruises on the Bosphorus. They are overpriced, offer smaller tours and operate boats that often barely look seaworthy. Instead, either opt for tours provided by Turyol or IDO, where the latter has my preference.

IDO Scenic Bosphorus Tour (IDO Boğaziçi Özel Gezi)

The IDO dock in Eminönü.

The IDO dock in Eminönü.

Standing in Eminönü facing the Galata Tower, you’ll find the IDO Bosphorus Tour dock on the right-hand side of the Galata Bridge. The full cruise takes you for TL 20 from Eminönü to the Black Sea and back. Each way takes about 90 minutes, but you also want to get off the boat and spend some time in Anadolu Kavağı (the last stop, close to the Black Sea). There you can have lunch in one of the many fish restaurants and/or visit the fortress. So don’t throw away your boat ticket, because you’ll need it to board the ferry again after your excursion.

Every day, there are three boats going in the direction of the Black Sea, and of course three boats back. You can get on and off the ferry at either of the following docks, but to make the most of your trip I suggest starting in either Eminönü or Kabataş. Please note that the timetables below are only valid from 15 June to 23 September 2009.

Eminönü Beşiktaş Kanlıca Yeniköy Sarıyer R.Kavağı A.Kavağı
Departures in the direction of the Black Sea Arrival
10:35 10:50 11:15 11:30 11:45 11:55 12:05
12:00 12:15 12:40 12:55 13:10 13:20 13:35
13:35 13:50 14:15 14:30 14:45 14:55 15:05
A.Kavağı R.Kavağı Sarıyer Yeniköy Kanlıca Beşiktaş Eminönü
Departures in the direction of the city center Arrival
15:00 15:10 15:20 15:35 15:50 16:15 16:30
16:15 15:50 16:25 16:40 16:50 17:15 17:30
17:00 17:10 17:20 17:35 17:50 18:15 18:30
18:00 18:10 18:20 18:35 18:50 19:15 19:30

Not applicable on Saturdays and Sundays
Applicable on Saturdays and Sundays

IDO Scenic Bosphorus Tour by Night (IDO Boğaziçi Özel Gezi)

The Dolmabahçe Palace at night.

The Dolmabahçe Palace at night.

If you ask me, this one really is top of the bill. From 1 July until 21 August, every Saturday you can make a nightly cruise on the Bosphorus. The ferry heads for the Black Sea just before the sun starts to set. Once in Anadolu Kavağı, you have 70 minutes to go ashore and enjoy a dinner in one of the many fish restaurants.

By the time you board the ferry again, darkness has fallen and you’ll enjoy the Bosphorus by night, in all its grace with nicely lit monuments and a variety of city lights, including the Bosphorus Bridge. So, for a mere TL 20, you get to see both shapes of the Bosphorus in one cruise.

Going Returning
Bostancı 18:10 A.Kavağı 22:00
Moda 18:40 R.Kavağı 22:10
Kadıköy 18:50 Çengelköy 22:45
Eminönü 19:15 Ortaköy 22:55
Üsküdar 19:30 Beşiktaş 23:05
Beşiktaş 19:40 Üsküdar 23:15
Ortaköy 19:50 Eminönü 23:30
Çengelköy 20:05 Kadıköy 23:55
R.Kavağı 20:40 Moda 00:05
A.Kavağı 20:50 Bostancı 00:35

Make sure though not to miss the boat back at 22:00, it really is the last boat!

Turyol Bosphorus Tour (Turyol Boğaz Turu)

If you’re pressed for time or don’t fancy a long cruise on the Bosphorus, then you may want to check out Turyol. They are located on the left-hand side of the Galata Bridge. For TL 9 Turyol takes you on a 90 minutes Bosphorus trip to the second bridge and back. From 12:00 onwards (11:00 on Saturdays and 10:00 on Sundays), boats depart approximately every hour. The last boat leaves the docks at 20:00.

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