The Bosphorus Strait Istanbul: how to explore, boat tours, tips

The Bosphorus Strait is one of the most iconic and important waterways in the world, connecting the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara and dividing the city of Istanbul into two parts: the European side and the Asian side. This magnificent strait is a crucial commercial route, as well as a major tourist attraction.

Quick Overview

The Bosphorus Strait is not just a shipping channel; it’s also a popular tourist destination, offering visitors breathtaking views of Istanbul’s skyline, historical landmarks, and natural beauty. Whether you’re taking a leisurely Bosphorus cruise or exploring the shores of the strait, the Bosphorus offers an unforgettable experience for both locals and tourists.  

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Rumeli Fortress at Istanbul Turkey – architecture background

A boat tour along the Bosphorus Strait is a must-do activity for anyone visiting Istanbul. The tour provides stunning views of Istanbul’s skyline, including famous landmarks such as the Bosphorus Bridge, Rumeli Fortress, and Dolmabahce Palace. The Bosphorus Strait also serves as a natural border between Europe and Asia, offering visitors the unique opportunity to be in two continents at the same time.

Besides the scenic views, the Bosphorus Strait also has a rich history. The strait has played a significant role in the history of Istanbul and the surrounding areas, being an important trade route for thousands of years. During the Ottoman Empire, the strait was heavily fortified with many castles and fortresses to protect the city from enemy attacks.

Today, the Bosphorus Strait is a bustling waterway, with ferries, cargo ships, and pleasure boats navigating its waters. Tourists can take a leisurely cruise on a traditional Turkish boat called a “vapur” to experience the beauty of the strait and its landmarks.

How to best explore Bosphorus?

The best way to experience and enjoy the Bosphorus is to take variety of Bosphorus cruises such as Bosphorus sunset cruise, Bosphorus dinner cruise, hop-on hop-off Bosphorus cruise, Bosphorus cruise with yacht, Princes’ Islands boat tours, as well as Bosphorus tours with public ferries.

There are a variety of tour companies that offer both public and private tours, ranging from a few hours to a full day. These tours usually start from either the European or Asian side of the city, and take you on a scenic journey along the Bosphorus, passing by historic landmarks such as the Dolmabahce Palace and Rumeli Fortress.

Another way to explore the Bosphorus is by taking a ferry ride. The Istanbul ferry system is extensive and affordable, and taking a ferry along the Bosphorus can be a great way to experience the city from a different perspective. You can take a ferry from Eminonu to Kadikoy, for example, and enjoy stunning views of the city’s skyline and the Bosphorus Bridge.

If you’re feeling more adventurous, you can even rent a private boat or yacht and explore the Bosphorus at your own pace. This is a great option for those who want a more personalized experience or want to enjoy a romantic evening on the water.

Top-Rated Bosphorus Cruises

You can feel free to book one of these Bosphorus cruises. They all have excellent traveler ratings. If you change your mind, you can also make free cancellation with a FULL REFUND up to 24 hours in advance.

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