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Seeing the Bosphorus Strait via Istanbul's Public Ferry

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Anna enjoys traveling with her husband and son. The family does international/local trips and carry with them loads of cherished memories.

The Bosphorus strait runs through Turkey and divides Asia and Europe.

The Bosphorus strait runs through Turkey and divides Asia and Europe.

The Bosphorus strait runs through Turkey and is the dividing line between the continents of Asia and Europe. It also connects the Sea of Marmara to the Black Sea and is one of the world's busiest waterways. There are currently three bridges connecting the European and Asian sides of Turkey across the Bosphorus, namely:

  1. Bosphorus Bridge (also called the First Bosphorus Bridge).
  2. Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge (also called the Second Bosphorus Bridge).
  3. Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge (also called the Third Bosphorus Bridge).

There are a variety of customized packages for Bosphorus cruises that are offered by private tour operators. However, this article will focus on using public ferry transportation, which offers both long and short tours across the Bosphorus. This article details the full-day cruise provided by Sehir-Hatlari that my family and I utilized during our trip.

The Public Ferry

The longer Bosphorus tour starts at 10:35 a.m. from Eminonu and is an approximately two-hour ride across the waters toward Anadolu Kavagi. Passengers get an opportunity to experience a ride on a double-decker boat. There are stops made at the following piers during this ride:

  • Besiktas
  • Uskudar
  • Kanlica
  • Sariyer
  • Rumeli Kavagi

Tickets for the tour can be purchased from the ticket counters operated by the service provider at Eminonu dock. Currently, a two-way trip costs 65 Turkish liras (TL) for adults and 32 TL for kids. This is definitely the cost-effective option available for the budget-conscious traveler. The boat also has a counter that sells snacks and beverages at nominal costs.

Nevertheless, be wary of hecklers lining the street at Eminonu who are always on the lookout for an uninformed tourist to sell tickets to at an inflated price.

The double-decker boat

The double-decker boat

Anadolu Kavagi dock

Anadolu Kavagi dock

Bosphorus Bridge

Bosphorus Bridge

Views Along the Bosphorus

When you undertake a ride through the Bosphorus, you are not just settling for the majestic views of the sprawling blue waters. Instead, there are many views of Istanbul's historical landmarks located along the strait and grace the rich blue waters.

These include the Dolmabahce Palace, Bosphorus Bridge, Ortakoy Mosque, and the Haydarpasa Railway Station. Each structure has a story of its own to tell and stands tall and proud among the well-planned clusters of buildings.

The major historical structures like the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and Galata Tower loom above the city's coastline. Views like these will surely get etched into a traveler's mind and make for some memorable moments. I would recommend trying to grab a spot on the top deck of the boat to relish the grandeur of the waters and the neighboring structures.

Dolmabahce Palace

Dolmabahce Palace

Galata Tower

Galata Tower

Anadolu Kavagi and Anadolu Hisari Fort

The Bosphorus ride from Eminonu ends at Anadolu Kavagi, a fishing village located on the Anatolian side of Istanbul. This area is famous for the Anadolu Hisari Fort, a medieval Ottoman fortress, and is a half-an-hour trek from the ferry station. Admission is free.

A cafe located mid-way sells refreshments and snacks but at exorbitant rates. I would recommend that you purchase a couple of water bottles from the ferry dock before starting the trek. Travelers should also wear comfortable footwear as climbing the hill is a bit arduous.

The major attraction of the fortress is its viewpoint. From here, the picturesque Black Sea and the Bosphorous bridge stretch out in their full glory and offer a backdrop for some amazing photographs.

With only the outer walls currently being accessible to the public, I think most travelers would spend about an hour around the castle. It should be particularly noted that the trek downhill and back to the ferry station is much easier compared to the climb up.

The ferry station is lined with eating joints, some offering good views of the waters. The specialty of these eateries is fresh seafood with french fries and pilaf rice that are usually served as accompaniments. The prawn casserole is highly recommended!

The return ferry towards Eminonu departs at 3 p.m. The approximately three hours at Anadolu Kavagi will give travelers ample time to explore the fortress and enjoy a hearty meal at one of the seafood restaurants.

The steep roads at Anadolu Kabagi.

The steep roads at Anadolu Kabagi.

The Anadolu Hisari fortress.

The Anadolu Hisari fortress.

A Memorable Cruise

The highlight of the Bosphorus cruise is definitely the view; its beauty is unmatched. Despite the daily traffic plowing along the Bosphorus, it is a wonder to see the waters still retaining their gorgeous turquoise-blue color.

The efforts taken by the government and the public in maintaining the historical structures are very much appreciated. This is a country that is rich in history, and every attempt being made to fiercely protect and preserve it should be celebrated.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Anna