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Boat tours along the Bosphorus

Last updated: 10 February, 2024

Linking the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea, the 32km Bosphorus strait divides Istanbul itself, and Europe from Asia. One of the world’s busiest waterways, it’s also one of the most fascinating – passing grand Ottoman palaces, the majestic Bosphorus bridge, picturesque Ottoman yalis (wooden villas), seaside villages and the Rumeli Hisari (‘the Fortress of Europe’).

Options range from one-hour trips to a full day’s cruise, on vessels ranging from no-frills public ferries to luxury dinner cruises.

Logistics

Price from: £10
Minimum age: 0
Age suitable: 4+
When: All year around
Duration: 1 hour to full day

Getting there & doing it

There are multiple organised boat tour options – see our recommendations below. If you prefer to go it alone (and/or save money), the easiest year-round option is to hop on the public ferry (Sehir Hatlari) from Eminonu Docks between the Galata Bridge and Sirkeci station (on the tram T1 line).

Options range from short round trips, to full day excursions to Anadolu Kavagi – the last stop on the Asian side near the Black Sea, where there’s a 3-hour lunch stop before returning to Istanbul. Get to the Eminonu Docks 45 minutes before each departure to beat the queues at the Sehir Hatlari ticket offices.

When to do it

Boat tours run all year round, but from November to March there are fewer boat options (and you’ll probably need an overcoat if not an umbrella). Sehir Hatlari ferries run daily year-round, with one to three daily departures depending on the season.

April and May are the most beautiful times on the river, when the parks are at their most glorious and it’s not too hot. September and October are also usually beautiful, with fewer tourists.

Who to go with: organised tours

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Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

Bosphorus Sunset Cruise on Luxury Yacht

  • Istanbul

Your Most Personalised Bosphorus Cruise Experience in Istanbul. Experience Istanbul from an unusual point of view and take in the sunset from a 25-meters luxury yacht. Relax and enjoy the refreshments on board. Board our luxury yacht, SUNSET BOSPHORUS and you'll soon be heading out to sea in these 2-Hours and 30 min. shared sunset cruise on the Bosphorus. As the crew raises the sails you can sit back, relax and enjoy some music. Take in views of the Istanbul skyline as you enjoy a glass of Champagne, white wine, or soda. There's nothing like a Bosphorus sunset right in between two continents of Europe and Asia, and nothing beats seeing a sunset at sea. Enjoy a scenic cruise toward the Black Sea and back down the city, pausing on the way back to catch the moment the sun slips below the horizon by Maiden's Tower! More than just a cruise, it's an experience of a lifetime! Book your Bosphorus Sunset Cruise experience with the official Sunset Bosphorus Yacht.

Price €40

Min age 0

Rating 4.83 / 5 [1258 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Bosphorus Yacht Cruise with Stopover on the Asian Side - (Morning or Afternoon)

  • Istanbul

Morning Bosphorus Cruise on Luxury Yacht See both the European and Asian sides of Istanbul on a 2.5-hour boat cruise of the Bosphorus Strait. Get the opportunity to visit a lovely village on the Asian side and try the most delicious yogurt in the world ever. The best way to see Istanbul is from the water! Board SUNSET BOSPHORUS YACHT, our two-deck yacht, for an unforgettable Istanbul sightseeing cruise. You’ll get a panoramic view of the Bosphorus Bridges, Dolmabahce Palace, Rumeli Fortress, Beylerbeyi Palace, Maiden's Tower, and more. During your 2 hours and 30 min Bosphorus sightseeing cruise, you’ll be free to wander between decks to capture the best shots of Istanbul’s attractions. Our experienced guide will illustrate the history of what you see during the cruise; Bosphorus has a storied past, and our guides know the fun facts you can’t find in a tourist handbook. See why this is one of the best Istanbul city sightseeing cruises. Book now and enjoy your adventure with us!

Price €50

Min age 0

Rating 4.89 / 5 [936 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Istanbul Sunset Cruise - Luxurious Yacht Cruise with Live Guide on the Bosphorus

  • Istanbul

See the Bosphorus and Istanbul from a remarkable perspective on this 2.5 hrs. sunset cruise on a luxurious yacht. Aboard our luxury yacht, you’ll glide across the water while savoring delicious snacks, baklava, fresh seasonal fruits and drinks. While romantics will delight in watching the sunset over the old part of Istanbul, our legendary guide will tell you interesting stories of the Bosphorus. The cruise will take you from PIER KABATAS and past Istanbul's icons, Dolmabahce Palace, Bosphorus Bridge, Rumeli Fortress Maiden's Tower and much more. Continue to take in the many sights while the sun goes down as you go through the Asian side, and around The Maiden's Tower. The best part is after sunset when we approach the Galata Bridge and Bosphorus Bridge. Watch as the entire western span of the bridge lights up and transforms into LED light sculpture creating a never-repeating dazzling display. Don’t miss this breathtaking experience from the best seats on the Bosphorus!

Price €30

Min age 0

Rating 4.91 / 5 [636 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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All in One Day Istanbul - Historical Tour of Istanbul with Bosphorus Cruise

  • Istanbul

HISTORICAL TOUR OF ISTANBUL WITH BOSPHORUS SUNSET CRUISE Combine a trip to both Istanbul's greatest sites including the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Grand Bazaar, and a luxury yacht cruise on the Bosphorus in one day. Take advantage of a special no-wait entry at the Topkapi Palace and skip-the-line access to the great Ottoman Palace during this full-day tour. Witness the classic sites of heritage and history that abound in Istanbul on your full-day tour. Visit architectural masterpieces, marvel at awe-inspiring, Byzantine-era tile works, and see the imperial treasures of Ottoman sultans. Along the way, experience the customs of a bustling bazaar. When you finish exploring the old city of Istanbul, the next thing is to take a magical journey on the Bosphorus. Sail down the Bosphorus passing Dolmabahce Palace, impressive Bosphorus Bridges, and beautifully designed seaside villas along both sides of the Bosphorus.

Price €150

Min age 0

Rating 4.84 / 5 [412 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Istanbul Lunch Cruise: Long Circle Bosphorus Cruise up to Black Sea

  • Istanbul

Enjoy incredible views of Istanbul sailing between two continents towards the Black Sea as you enjoy delicious two-course lunch onboard a lovely boat. Spend a pleasant afternoon exploring the Bosphorus Strait during this spectacular 4-hour lunch cruise. Take in the iconic sights along the way and stop for a visit to the fishing village of Anadolu Kavagi and discover the old fortress remnants on a hill with breathtaking views of the Bosphorus and The Black Sea. Climb aboard a gorgeous boat and forget your worries as you enjoy a relaxing half-day cruise down the Bosphorus Strait. Admire the views of beautiful castles, palaces, old mansions, and the minarets of the city mosques. During the cruise, you will have plenty of time to relax, sit back and indulge in two-course lunch that offers a variety of delicious dishes and fresh seasonal fruits. During the summer months, you can also swim in the Black Sea or in Poyrazkoy Village.

Price €80

Min age 0

Rating 4.87 / 5 [358 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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