Bosphorus tours in Istanbul: Explore The City
Istanbul has so many amazing historical sites and tourist attractions, you may not consider taking a cruise tour of the Bosphorus. In many ways, a cruise tour on the Bosphorus is the most overlooked experience you can have while visiting Istanbul.
If you want to take a ferry along the Bosphorus, which you really should do, set aside a few hours to board a boat and experience one of the most amazing tourist sites in all of Istanbul. You won’t regret spending a few hours floating down the famous strait.
Booking a private Bosphorus cruise tour
There are a variety of private cruise companies around Istanbul that will take you and your group up and down the strait. One of the keys to selecting a private Bosphorus cruise tour is to choose a reputable company that you can trust. You may come across a few groups selling private tours of the Bosphorus, but ensure that whichever group you book with, you read customer reviews online.
Often uninformed tourists seeking a Bosphorus tour as they walk along the docks of Eminönü searching for a cruise of the strait. Don’t be tempted by the people attempting to sell you private tours which often are more expensive, on rickety boats, and pack on as many people as possible – which makes the tour not very private.
Şehir Hatları provides the best tours of the Bosphorus
Şehir Hatları is the official ferry company in Istanbul. It provides three Bosphorus Strait tours: Short Circle Cruise, Full Cruise, and Full Cruise by Night. Tour availability changes due to the season. Before planning out your full Istanbul itinerary, research the times and dates when tours of the Bosphorus operate. You will find the Şehir Hatları sales offices located on the left docks of Eminönü when arriving from Galata Bridge.
Short Circle Cruise
The Short Circle Cruise is a non-stop tour of the strait. It is ideal for people who are short on time but want to experience the Bosphorus. The tour is available every day during summer from April 1 to October 31. The Short Circle Cruise sails from Eminönü to Istinye. It sets sail from the Eminönü docks at 14:30 and costs 12 TL for adults and 6 TL for children under 12.
The Full Cruise provides you with a great experience. It takes a few hours in total to complete and costs 25 TL. The cruise starts at Eminönü and goes to the Black Sea before returning. Each journey is around 90 minutes as the cruise makes five stop offs.
Full Cruise by Night
The Full cruise by night provides you with the same experience of the Full Cruise of the Bosphorus. The only difference is you get to see Istanbul in all its glory at night. The cruise begins at dusk allowing you to take in the sunset over the city. The ferry stops in Anadolu Kavağı for around two hours giving you the chance to dine in fish restaurants that dot the shore. At 10:30pm, the cruise sets sail again for a moonlight cruise. The Full Cruise is just 20 TL for a ticket.