Bosphorus Strait, Istanbul

46 Reviews

Been here? Rate It!

hide
  • Sea of Marmara
    Sea of Marmara
    by Jim_Eliason
  • Sea of Marmara
    Sea of Marmara
    by Jim_Eliason
  • Sea of Marmara
    Sea of Marmara
    by Jim_Eliason
  • Donna_in_India's Profile Photo

    Ferry on the Bosphorus - Loved it! A Must Do!

    by Donna_in_India Updated Mar 16, 2014

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Our Bosphorus cruise was one of the highlights of our visit to Istanbul. We used the public ferry - IDO. We visited Istanbul while the ferry was running on its winter schedule so there were two departures - 10:35 a.m. and 1:35 p.m. If you plan to disembark at any of the stops I recommend taking the early ferry. If you just want to do the cruise then the 1:35 p.m. might work out better since it may be less crowded (and a little warmer!). Timing to catch a ferry back would probably only allow you to disembark at only two stops on the route.

    We left Eminou at 10:35 a.m. but did not seem to follow the schedule as advertised. The schedule shows stopping at Beskitas, Kanlica, Yenikoy, Sariyer, Rumeli Kavagi, and Anadolu Kavagi, in that order. However, after leaving Eminou our ferry went to Beskitas, Yenikoy, and then the unexpected happened. Thick, thick fog rolled in and when the ferry stopped in Sariyer, the captain decided that we could not go any further and that we would make the return trip after spending a couple of hours in Sariyer.

    Since one of the places we intended to see was Rumeli Kavagi we hopped a dolmus heading there from Sariyer. It was an experience we wouldn't have had otherwise and it was quite alot of fun standing and holding on as we zipped around the curves to the town. After spending little time in Rumeli Kavagi, we headed back to Sariyer. We walked around (saw some really interesting "everyday" things- butcher shops, bread shops, a vegetable "truck", fish shop, etc.), had some tea at a restaurant on the waterfront and some lunch at one of the many doner places lining the street. I would definitely recommend Sariyer as a stop.

    Finally back on board, the ferry did not head further out into the Bosphorus but turned back to Eminou. The only stop we made before reaching Eminou was at Kanlica, which had been our second planned stop. Since it was now late, we decided not to disembark the ferry. But...Kanlica is known for its yogurt and a steward will come around on the ferry selling some. You MUST buy it!! It was so delicious - extremely sour but then sprinkled with powder sugar.

    Ferry details: There is a huge crowd lined up at least a half hour before departure. When the gates are opened, the people are wild. We were there and in line early enough to have gotten a good seat but a huge gate leading to the street was opened at the same time as our gate and people just swarmed in. We ended up without a seat and had to position ourselves in a stairway.

    You will know immediately which side of the ferry to sit on for best views, how to avoid the glare of the sun, etc. Sit on the same side on the return trip.

    Be prepared for an unexpected change of plans as in our case. Make sure to dress appropriately and bring a head covering. It can be windy and/or cold. Have a great time!

    Fare was 17.50 TL round-trip

    Departs 10:30 a.m. and 1:35 p.m. from mid-September to mid-June. An additional ferry
    leaves at 12:00 p.m. during the rest of the year.

    Look for the IDO ticket booth/entrance. That is the ferry. There will be touts trying to get you onto one of the "cruises". May be fine if you don't want to make any stops but I really didn't check them out.

    Ferry Stopped at Sariyer
    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Photography

    Was this review helpful?

  • mikey_e's Profile Photo

    Jump the continents

    by mikey_e Written Dec 8, 2012

    The Bosphorus is famous for its position as a divider of continents, despite the fact that the two continents it separates are in fact joined by the massive landmass known as Russia. Nevertheless, it holds a certain mystique for the psychological divide it has always represented for Western Europeans: between Christianity and Islam; between West and East; between civilized and wild. I say Western Europeans because anyone who is acquainted with the cultures and peoples of the lands on either side of it is acutely aware of the fact that no such dividing line exists, and that centuries of migration and intermarriage have resulted in the Bosphorus meaning little in a sociological sense, except as a symbolic divider of narratives. In a modern setting, however, the Bosphorus is important for its economic and ecological position, as a massively busy shipping lane used by oil tankers and war vessels, not to mention a throbbing transportation route for the city's 13.5 million people.

    Ferry on the Bosphorus Ferry on the Bosphorus Ferries at dock A quiet cove Besiktas Quay

    Was this review helpful?

  • Huks's Profile Photo

    Border of two continents

    by Huks Written Sep 30, 2011

    Istanbul is city on two continents. There isn't wall to separate both continents but Bosphorus. if you like to look at both continents or both parts of the Istanbul from point of Bosphorus, then take a cruise and prepare cameras for taking many nice pictures.

    Bosphorus
    Related to:
    • Photography

    Was this review helpful?

  • The most romantic

    by Dinaelghitany Updated Sep 11, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    It was a free ride with the travel package, really beautiful, to go around the bophorus, with beautiful music, and gorgeous views, just make sure to take a light jacket for your kids, if you Have any. A must go.

    Related to:
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Sailing and Boating
    • Photography

    Was this review helpful?

  • pieter_jan_v's Profile Photo

    Bosphorus river

    by pieter_jan_v Updated Jun 8, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Bosphorus is a busy sea strait between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara. From the Highway bridges you have a great view onto the waters. Even better is to take a Bosphorus cruise. At the Galata bridge there are several cruise boats available and the ferry between the European- and Asian side of Istanbul.

    Bosphorus - Istanbul Bosphorus - Istanbul Cruise ships - Istanbul Bosphorus - Istanbul Bosphorus - Istanbul
    Related to:
    • Photography
    • Family Travel
    • Sailing and Boating

    Was this review helpful?

  • AlperIst's Profile Photo

    Between Europe and Asia

    by AlperIst Written Mar 30, 2010

    Hi,

    It is not allowed to stop and get out of your car to see and take photos on the Bosphorus Bridges. If you want to be in the middle of both continents;

    1. Take a public or private Bosphorus Strait boat cruise to enjoy.

    2. Go to Kiz Kulesi (Maiden Tower), a small island at the beginning of the Strait.

    Cheers.
    Alper

    Was this review helpful?

  • Olya777's Profile Photo

    LET YOURSELF TO BE CHARMED BY BOSPHORUS

    by Olya777 Written Apr 4, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Bosphorus comes from a Tracian word of unknown origin, interpreted in Greek as meaning "Ford of the Cow", from the legend of Io, one of the many lovers of Zeus, who swam across the sea here as a cow chased and continuously disturbed by flies sent by Hera.

    Known in Turkish as Bogazici (the Strait), it links the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara and, with the Dardanelles (in Canakkale), separates Europe from Asia. It is a former river valley which was drowned by the sea at the end of the Tertiary period. This is a very busy strait with many ships and oil tankers, as well as local fishing and passenger boats.

    With the shores rising to heights up to 200m (650ft), lined with palaces, ruins, villages, and gardens, this is one of the most beautiful stretches of scenery in Turkey. The best way of seeing the Bosphorus in all its beauty is to take a trip on one of the coastal boats, in this way you can also admire many of the old Ottoman wooden houses (called as Yali in Turkish). You can also stay in some of the best hotels or eat in some of the best restaurants along its shores during your stay in this magnificent city.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Arkeolog's Profile Photo

    ISTANBUL BOGAZI - BOSPHORUS-...

    by Arkeolog Updated Feb 25, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    ISTANBUL BOGAZI - BOSPHORUS- AND HALIC-GOLDEN HORN

    A stay in Istanbul is not complete without the traditional and unforgettable boat excursion up the Bosphorus, the winding strait that separates Europe and Asia. Its shores offer a delightful mixture of past and present, grand splendor and simple beauty. Modern hotels stand next to yali (shorefront wooden villas), marble palaces abut rustic stone fortresses, and elegant compounds neighbor small fishing villages. The best way to see the Bosphorus is to board one of the passenger boats that regularly zigzag along the shores. You embark in Eminönü and stop alternately on the Asian and European sides of the strait. The round-trip excursion, at a very reasonable cost, takes about six hours. If you wish a private voyage, you can contact one of the agencies which specialize in organizing day or night mini-cruises.

    During the journey, you pass in front of the magnificent Dolmabahçe Palace; farther along rise the green parks and imperial pavilions of Yildiz Palace. On the edge of this park, on the coast, stands Çiragan Palace ,now restored as a grand hotel. Refurbished in 1874 by Sultan Abdülaziz, it stretches for 300 meters along the Bosphorus shore, its ornate marble facades reflecting the swiftly moving water. In Ortaköy, the next stop, artists gather every Sunday to exhibit their works in a streetside gallery. The variety of people create a lively scene; sample a delicious bite from one of the street vendors. In Ortaköy, there is a church, mosque and a synagogue that have existed side by side for hundreds of years - a tribute to Turkish secularism and tolerance. Overshadowing Istanbul's traditional architecture is the Bosphorus Bridge, one of the world's largest suspension bridges linking Europe and Asia.

    The beautiful Beylerbeyi Palace lies just past the bridge on the Asian side. Behind the palace rises Çamlica Hill, the highest point of Istanbul. You can drive here to admire the magnificent panorama of Istanbul as well as the beautiful landscaped gardens. On the opposite shore, the wooden Ottoman villas of Arnavutköy contrast with the luxurious modern apartments of neighboring Bebek. A few kilometers farther out, facing each other across the straits like sentries guarding the city, stand the fortresses of Rumeli Hisari and Anadolu Hisari. The Göksu Palace, sometimes known as Küçüksu Palace graces the Asian shore, next to Anadolu Hisari. The second link between the two continents; the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge straddles the waterway just past the two fortresses.

    From Duatepe Hill, on the European side, you can admire the magnificent panorama of the bridge and the Bosphorus. Below Duatepe, beautiful Emirgan Park bursts with color when the tulips bloom in spring. Opposite, on the Asian shore is Kanlica, a fishing village now a favored suburb for wealthy Istanbulites. Crowds gather in the restaurants and cafes along its shores to sample its famous yogurt. Shortly after Kanlica and Çubuklu is the Beykoz Korusu (Abraham Pasa Woods), a popular retreat. In the cafes and restaurants you can enjoy the delightful views and clear fresh air. On the European side, at Tarabya Bay, yachts seem to dance at their moorings. The coast road bustles with taverns and fish restaurants from Tarabya to the charming suburbs of Sariyer and Büyükdere. Sariyer has one of the largest fish markets in Istanbul and is also famous for its delicious varieties of milk puddings and börek (pastries). A little further on past Sariyer, the narrow strait widens and disappears into the Black Sea.

    Haliç - The Golden Horn
    This horn-shaped estuary, divides European Istanbul. One of the best natural harbors in the world, the Byzantine and Ottoman navies and commercial shipping interests were centered here. Today, lovely parks and promenades line the shores where the setting sun dyes the water a golden color. In Fener and Balat, neighborhoods midway up the Golden Horn, whole streets of old wooden houses, churches, and synagogues date from Byzantine and Ottoman times. The Orthodox Patriarchy resides here at Fener. Eyüp, a little further up, reflects the Ottoman style of vermicular architecture. Cemeteries sprinkled with dark cypress trees cover the hillsides. Many pilgrims come to the tomb of Eyüp in the hope that their prayers will be granted. The Pierre Loti Cafe, atop the hill overlooking the shrine is a wonderful place to enjoy the tranquility of the view.

    Bosphorus

    Was this review helpful?

  • ozalp's Profile Photo

    Sirket-i Hayriye

    by ozalp Written Jan 9, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    If some big water divides a city, water transportation becomes an important part of city life. Bosphorus does this in Istanbul. And Sirket-i Hayriye tries to connect two parts since 1851.
    Everything had begun with the capitulations. Two companies, English and Russian, started to transport people with two ferries. Since they could not be forbidden, Ottoman Empire started to have its own ferries.
    First ferries ordered to England. All of them named by numbers first. Today all ferries have their names. Generally they are named after some public figures.
    I’ve read an essay about Huseyin Haki Efendi today. He was the manager of Sirket-i Hayriye between 1867-1894. He designed the first car-ferry and it was produced in England for Istanbul. “Suhulet” was her name. Also there was a ferry named after Huseyin Haki.
    Now, Sirket-i Hayriye is long gone but IDO (Istanbul Deniz Otobusleri) carry on their mission. IDO is the biggest (they claim this on their web page) with its 86 ferries and 86 piers.

    After all these historical information, you can pick up a ferry and enjoy the ride. Don’t forget to buy a “simit”, share it with seagulls and drink a tea on the ferry.

    Was this review helpful?

  • apbeaches's Profile Photo

    Bosphorus River

    by apbeaches Written Jul 17, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Istanbul (historically Byzantium, Constantinople, and other names) is Europe's most populous city (the world's 3rd largest city proper and 21st largest urban area) and Turkey's cultural and financial center. The city is located on the Bosphorus Strait and encompasses the natural harbor known as the Golden Horn, in the northwest of the country. It extends both on the European (Thrace) and on the Asian (Anatolia) side of the Bosphorus, and is thereby the only metropolis in the world which is situated on two continents.

    Related to:
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • WanderingFinn's Profile Photo

    The narrow Bosphorus separates Europe from Asia!

    by WanderingFinn Written Mar 7, 2008

    The Bosporus or Bosphorus, also known as the Istanbul Strait, (Turkish: Ýstanbul Boðazý), is a strait that forms the boundary between the European part (Rumelia) of Turkey and its Asian part (Anatolia). The world's narrowest strait used for international navigation connects the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara (which is connected by the Dardanelles to the Aegean Sea, and thereby to the Mediterranean Sea).

    The strait is approximately 30 km long, with a maximum width of 3,700 metres at the northern entrance, and a minimum width of 700 metres.

    Two bridges cross the Bosporus. The first, the Bosphorus Bridge, is 1074 metres long and was completed in 1973. The second, Fatih Sultan Mehmet (Bosphorus II) Bridge, is 1090 metres long, and was completed in 1988 about five kilometres north of the first bridge. A third road bridge is also being planned for one of seven locations designated by the Turkish Government. The location is being kept secret to avoid an early explosion in land prices.

    Another crossing, Marmaray, is a 13.7 kilometre-long rail tunnel has been under construction and is expected to be completed during this year (2008). Approximately 1,400 metres of the tunnel will run under the strait, at a depth of about 55 metres.

    Bosphorus - narrow strait between Europe and Asia Bosphorus - narrow strait between Euro

    Was this review helpful?

  • MM212's Profile Photo

    Bosphorus Strait

    by MM212 Updated Oct 13, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Point of clarification: The Bosphorus is NOT A RIVER, but a sea. It is a strait separating Europe from Asia and linking the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara and ultimately the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas.

    Like the canals to Venice, or the Nile to Cairo, the Bosphorus makes Istanbul what it is. The Strait has been a source of inspiration to the city's inhabitants, and admiration to its visitors, since its founding. The blue waters act as a beautiful backdrop to any city panorama and provide visitors with the ability to admire the city and its elegant silhouette from afar. A ferry ride on the Bosphorus is thus a must for any visitor to Istanbul, whether to cross to Asia or to another part of the city.

    The Bosphorus & Istanbul - Jan 2010 Bosphorus between Asia & Europe - Aug 04 Further north, Aug 2004 Ferry on the Bosphorus - Aug 04

    Was this review helpful?

  • realde14's Profile Photo

    Bosphorus River

    by realde14 Written Mar 11, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This is definitely one of the highlights of any visit to Istanbul: to get on a ferry and cross the Bosphorus from the European side to the Asian side or going down the rives past beautiful palaces, mosques, fortresses and mansions towards the Black Sea.

    Mosque and Bosphoros Bridge

    Was this review helpful?

  • Alikatt's Profile Photo

    Bosphorus strait

    by Alikatt Updated Nov 11, 2006

    No it's not a river, its rather a body of water that connects the Black Sea to the Marmara Sea and it joins Istanbul's Asian side to Istanbul's European shore by a few bridges. It is breathtaking to look at and a joy to be in and cross by boat. Seeing the Bos always makes me glad. In Istanbul, al my favorite restaurants, bars and tea places all have views of the Bosphorus. There's something magical about loking out at the Bos while sipping cocktails or tea with good friends.

    view of the Bos from Leb-I-derya the Bos from Nexus in Beyoglu the Galatasaray Island on the foreground of the Bos boys playing by the shore in Arnavutkoy
    Related to:
    • Photography
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Castles and Palaces

    Was this review helpful?

  • Gerrem's Profile Photo

    Crossing the Sea of Marmara

    by Gerrem Written Jan 28, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    (Turkish: Marmara Denizi), is an inland sea that connects the Black Sea to the Aegean Sea, thus separating the Asian part of Turkey from its European part. The Bosporus connects it to the Black Sea and the Dardanelles to the Aegean. The former also separates Istanbul into its Asian side and European side. It has area of 11,350 km?.
    There are two major island groups known as the Prince's and Marmara islands. The latter group is rich in sources of marble and gives the sea its name (Greek marmaros, marble).
    The North Anatolian fault, which has triggered many major earthquakes in recent years, such as the Izmit Earthquake of 1999, runs under the sea.

    Crossint the Marmaris Sea on a ferry
    Related to:
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Istanbul

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

21 travelers online now

Comments

View all Istanbul hotels