Bosphorus Cruise – experience the most beautiful Istanbul

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Bosphorus Cruise – experience the most beautiful Istanbul

If you only have the chance to explore one place during your visit, I definitely recommend this one: go cruising on the waves of the Bosphorus. The Bosphorus is the pearl of Istanbul, or rather the soul of the whole city, without which the magic of Istanbul would perhaps disappear completely. Every time I return to Istanbul, the most important thing for me is still to go first to breathe the turquoise winds of the Bosphorus.

The Bosphorus Strait (İstanbul Boğazı) is a true one-off in the world in dividing a city into two continents, Europe and Asia. It is a unique and interesting connection between East and West – attracting in some inexplicable way like a magnet. The Bosphorus is also an important and busy traffic route from the world via the Sea of Marmara to the Black Sea. On the other hand, it is absolutely vital for commuter traffic. Namely, up to 1.8 million Istanbulites travel from one continent to the other every day, and this largely happens specifically on the Bosphorus ferries. What a delightful commute!

But we are now going on a two-hour cruise just to enjoy the beauty and history of the Bosphorus and Istanbul. Probably Istanbul will also surprise you once again; after this cruise, you will know that Istanbul is, contrary to common misconception, a very green city.

Welcome to the sunny waves of the Bosphorus

Our sightseeing ship departs from Eminönü on the European side near the Galata Bridge (Galata Köprüsü), right next to the pier for ferries leaving for Kadıköy on the Asian side.
The map of the Bosphorus Cruise in Istanbul.
Our sightseeing route goes to the second bridge of the Bosphorus (Fatih Sultan Mehmet Köprüsü), and we will see many historical places in addition to the scenery. The cruises leave (at the moment) on the hour every day starting at 12 noon and the price is really reasonable 60 TL or about 3.30 euros. The ship goes around the circuit clockwise, starting from the European side of the coast and returning along the Asian (Anatolia) side. As a small tip: if possible, choose your seat so you can look to the left in the direction of travel.
The boy is feeding seagulls on our Bosphorus Cruise in Istanbul.
It’s always considerate to take a snack with you like this young gentleman – at least for the seagulls. In Istanbul, all animals are loved. But of course we can also buy snacks and refreshments on the ship.
After passing the Kabataş ferry port, we arrive in Beşiktaş, after which Ortaköy and the first bridge (15 Temmuz Şehitler Köprüsü) can already be seen ahead.
Beşiktaş on the European side in Istanbul.
In Beşiktaş we see the famous football stadium. In front of the stadium, right on the seafront, there is a charming terrace restaurant, Dolmabahçe Kafeterya, where you can enjoy the scenery of the Bosphorus by the water. This is also where the Dolmabahçe Palace area begins.
One of the important palaces of the Ottoman Empire: Dolmabahçe Palace (Dolmabahçe Sarayı) in Istanbul.
One of the important palaces of the Ottoman Empire: Dolmabahçe Palace (Dolmabahçe Sarayı). Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder and first president of the Republic of Turkey, also worked – and died – in this palace.
Ortaköy is both a neighborhood and a mosque (and probably the most famous image of Istanbul) located almost underneath the first bridge. The area is international, and there is also a small, charming outdoor bazaar. There you can buy, for example, a traditional ”Kumpir” meal and sit down to enjoy it with the amazing scenery.
Ortaköy in Istanbul.
Bebek and Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul.
Our journey continues to one of Istanbul’s luxury residential areas called Bebek. Although, of course, all apartments on the Bosphorus are expensive luxuries that the average citizen cannot afford.
Bebek in Istanbul.
Approaching the second bridge, we see the historic and magnificent Rumeli Hisarı, a medieval Ottoman fortress located in the Sarıyer district in Istanbul.
Approaching the second bridge, we see the historic and magnificent Rumeli Hisarı, a medieval Ottoman fortress located in the Sarıyer district. Today, the fortress is a museum open to the public, and it is also used as an event venue e.g. for concerts and art festivals. Opposite Rumeli Hisarı, in Beykoz district on the Asian side, is Rumeli Hisarı’s older sister building, Anadoluhisarı. It is the oldest surviving Turkish architectural structure built in Istanbul.
We begin the return trip just before the second bridge. If we continued to the Black Sea, we would see a third bridge (Yavuz Sultan Selim Köprüsü). On the Asian side, the first area is Otağtepe, which has a wonderful park of the same name, which offers great views over the city. From these hills it is also possible to see an amazing sunset behind the silhouette of Istanbul on the European side, for example from a restaurant called Güzelcehisar Cafe.
A view of the Asian side of Istanbul.
Istanbul is actually more than the “city of seven hills”. There are endless green hills and it creates a special beauty in the landscape, as well as a great view for many residents. The nature here is attractive in many ways with countless tree and plant species.
The summer home of the sultans of the Ottoman Empire, Beylerbeyi Palace (Beylerbeyi Sarayı) is almost left under the first bridge.
Üsküdar and  the Maiden's Tower (Kız Kulesi) on the Asian side of Istanbul..
Üsküdar. On the right you see the Maiden’s Tower (Kız Kulesi).
Üsküdar is considered a traditional and conservative neighbourhood, but it is a really large area, so many different nuances can be found here, too. Üsküdar ferry port is a very busy – besides Kadıköy, it is the second busiest ferry port on the Asian side. These ports largely cater for the intercontinental commuter traffic (in addition to the Marmaray local train under the Bosphorus and the traffic on the bridges).
We leave Asia across the Bosphorus back towards Europe and on our way we pass by the famous landmark of Istanbul, the Maiden’s Tower (Kız Kulesi). On the right side of the video, the area of Topkapı Palace (Topkapı Sarayı) on the European side can already be glimpsed.
Here you can see the view from the Bosphorus to the Sea of Marmara. Europe and the areas of Topkapı Palace and Gülhane Park (Gülhane Parkı) are already visible on the right. Farther on the left you can see the Prince Islands (Adalar).
Even though Istanbul has almost 20 million inhabitants and is a chaotic city in places, you often find almost meditative views and peace. Here you can see the view from the Bosphorus to the Sea of Marmara. Europe and the areas of Topkapı Palace and Gülhane Park (Gülhane Parkı) are already visible on the right. Further along on the left you can see the Princes ´ Islands (Adalar).
 We return to Europe towards our departure port in Eminönü.
We return to Europe and towards our departure port in Eminönü.
Our cruise ends under the Galata Bridge at the Golden Horn (Haliç).

Evening cruises

Naturally, you can choose from a wide variety of cruises in Istanbul or, for example, order a cruise tailored just for you and your friends. Evening cruises are usually dinner cruises (in Turkey, dinner is usually served late in the evening), but please be careful when selecting your cruise – do you want to go for a riotous party cruise or for calmer waves?

A special experience on our evening cruise when a giant cargo ship passed us very closely in the dark. The beauty and energy of the Bosphorus at night is truly magical, but unfortunately my camera is unable to capture this atmosphere realistically in the dark. You have to experience it for yourself.
Our Bosphorus Cruise ends with the silhouettes of the Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Camii) and Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya) and the beauty of the sunset of Istanbul.
With the silhouettes of the Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Camii) and Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya), and the beauty of the sunset, I thank you for our cruise, and I wish you amazing experiences on your future Bosporus excursions.

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