What Bosphorus Cruise Tour to Take in Istanbul?

Image of a IDO ferry cruising on a Bosphorus tour in Istanbul, Turkey.

by Erlend Geerts

in Sightseeing

A cruise on the Bosphorus is probably the most overlooked Istanbul tourist attraction. Understandable, with such an abundance of historical sightseeing spots in Istanbul and too little time to squeeze them all into your short holiday. But take my advice and set a few hours aside to take an unforgettable Bosphorus tour. Certainly if you’re in town between May and September. You won’t regret it — at least if you follow these simple guidelines.

Stay Clear of Private Bosphorus Tours

I see this scene unfold almost every day: poorly informed tourists willing to take a Bosphorus tour, walking on the docks of Eminönü in search for a Bosphorus cruise. Private companies can spot this kind of behavior from a mile away and offer them a seat on their Bosphorus cruise boat. But please, don’t get tempted by the offer these ‘hustlers’ make. Their tours are overpriced (double and more), shorter and on boats that can barely be called seaworthy.

Şehir Hatları Offers the Best Bosphorus Tour Experience

 

One of the many palaces on the Bosphorus shores of Istanbul, Turkey.

One of the many palaces on the Bosphorus shores.

Şehir Hatları is Istanbul’s official ferry company. It offers three great Bosphorus tours: Short Circle Bosphorus Cruise, Full Bosphorus Cruise and the Full Bosphorus Cruise by Night. Unfortunately, the availability of these tours change according to the season. So do keep on reading and check out the respective links for the most up-to-date departure times.

The Şehir Hatları Bosphorus lines sales offices are located on the left docks of Eminönü when coming off the Galata Bridge.

Short Circle Bosphorus Cruise (Kısa Boğaz Turu)

First up is the brand new non-stop Short Circle Bosphorus tour. This one is great for people who are pressed for time but don’t want to miss a genuine Bosphorus experience. This tour is available every day in summer time (April 1st until October 31st). The cruise takes you from Eminönü to Istinye (well past the second bridge that is), and back. The ferry leaves the Eminönü docks at 14:30, arrives at Ortaköy around 14:50 to pick up more people, and then continues its two hour non-stop tour. The price per person is 10 TL. For the latest updates, check the official timetable.

Full Bosphorus Cruise (Uzun Boğaz Turu)

The Full Bosphorus Tour offers a great Bosphorus experience and will take several hours in total. For a mere 25 TL this cruise will take you from Eminönü all the way to the Black Sea, and back. Each way takes about 90 minutes since the ferry makes 5 short stops to let people on and off. You must get off the ferry in Anadolu Kavağı, the last harbor before the Black Sea. This gives you the opportunity to grab a (late) lunch in one of the town’s fish restaurants located on the shore and/or visit the fortress.

The ferry does a few complete tours a day, so check the official schedule with the latest timetables. On board you can use digital guides explaining over 70 points of interest along the way, in 10 different languages (Turkish, English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Persian, and Arabic). The price for a round trip is 25 TL.

Full Bosphorus Cruise by Night (Mehtap Gezi)

Dolmabahçe Palace by night from the Bosphorus in Istanbul, Turkey.

Dolmabahçe Palace by night from the Bosphorus.

It offers the exact same tour as the regular Full Bosphorus Tour, but you get to see Istanbul at night! The ferry leaves before dusk providing great Istanbul sunset views. It again stops in Anadolu Kavağı for a bit over two hours so people can enjoy dinner in the fish restaurants at the shore. Around 22:30 the ferry departs again for a moonlight cruise on the Bosphorus — a unique experience!

Unfortunately, the Full Bosphorus Tour by Night is only available on Saturdays in July and August. The good news is that it still only costs 20 TL. Needless to say you better buy your tickets in time.

Photo Sources (1) (2)

What's Next

{ 162 comments… read them below or add one }

Harvey June 24, 2011 at 1:45 pm

In addition to the above cruise options, we were delighted to find that it is also possible to rent your own boat in Istanbul, in our case a private yacht, which should also be mentioned as another wonderful cruise option if looking for something more special as we were.

We found this possible using Zoe Yacht, a very efficient and well organized company. They gave us a fabulous yacht, spacious and well-looked after and we enjoyed an excellent drinks service during our sightseeing cruise. It’s wonderful to be able to spend time with those you love, listening to some great music on the water, enjoying the sights and drinking some delicious cocktails – It was probably the most relaxed we felt in Istanbul! (You can see the Zoe Yacht we used at http://www.bosphorusyacht.com)

The Bosphorus scenery is truly spectacular in June not to mention the historic and geographic importance and was certainly should not be missed – it was a highlight of our trip.

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Mrs Mary Nicholson December 23, 2011 at 9:34 am

We are on a Holland America cruise and will be in Istanbul afternoon 10 June 2012 and would like to know the cost of the Full Bosphorus Night Cruise and dinner please.
Or just Bosphorus Cruise and what time it leaves.
Cruise ship does not dock at Istanbul until 4pm. 10th. June
Thanks, Mary
Nicholson

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Erlend Geerts January 1, 2012 at 2:39 pm

Dear Mary,
Just as mentioned in the article, the Full Bosphorus Night Cruise doesn’t start until July. Moreover, it doesn’t serve dinner on board. Since you’ll be in Istanbul in June, I advice you to take the full daytime Bosphorus tour. You can find more information in the article on that.

Kind regards,
Erlend

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vaibhav February 9, 2012 at 1:02 pm

Hi,

I am planning to travel to istanbil in MAY.
Unfortunately,IDO/Şehir Hatları dont operate Night Bosphorus tour in May.
Is it like only they dont operate or no agenyc does teh night tour in may?
Is there any other agency? I am not inclined towards night bosphorus cruises offered by private agencies which include dinner + belly dancers.
I am only interested in the Bosphorus tour.

Thanks,
Vaibhav Saxena

Reply

Erlend Geerts February 9, 2012 at 5:56 pm

Hi Vaibhav,

You’re right that IDO/Şehir Hatları does not have a nightly Bosphorus tour in May. On one hand that’s unfortunate of course, but the biggest reason for that are probably the weather conditions. Although Istanbul may have nice, sunny days with very comfortable temperatures, at night (and certainly on the water) it will get chilly (not to say cold). Even in summertime, when it’s 30C during the day, and over 20C at night, the nightly trip on deck requires a sweater.

But there are certainly a few privately held boats that will offer night tours, with or without drinks, food and belly dancers. But it goes beyond the scope of this blog to list all private Bosphorus tour companies. The best advice I can give you is to ask the bellboy of your hotel upon arrival, which is the safest option. If they can’t help you (which I would doubt), then just walk to the Eminönü pier and ask around.

Kind regards,
Erlend

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Lidija Vasilevska February 29, 2012 at 9:55 am

Please send us the prices for Bosphorus Cruise Tour for short Cruise and for Full Cruise and
for Cruise by night.we are planet to come in Istanbul on April from 13 to 17 /2012.
Thanks,
Lidija

Reply

Erlend Geerts February 29, 2012 at 6:07 pm

Dear Lidija,

As mentioned in the article and in a previous comment, there are no night cruises in April. They’re only in July and August. As for the prices, please follow the links in the post, select the tour (short or full) you would like to take, and then click on fares.

Have a nice stay.

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Dani March 18, 2012 at 8:52 pm

The two of us will be in Istanbul for 4 days beginning April 4, 2012. We would like to join the Full Bosphorus Cruise (Uzun Boğaz Turu).
Question: we would like to know the schedule for the that period. What boat to look for at Eminonu, ie. the name of the company? The link you provided above is not working [not found in the server].
Thanks
Dani

Reply

Erlend Geerts March 25, 2012 at 6:02 pm

Hi Dani,

You’re right, the IDO/Şehir Hatları company’s website is currently experiencing problems and undergoing changes. This is out of our hands unfortunately. Since they’ll move to the summer schedule on April 1st (but timetables are not yet available), please check here again at that date, or inquire at their sales booth in Eminönü. It’s located on the right-hand side, when standing on the Eminönü pier facing the Galata tower.

Have a nice stay.

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Liz March 29, 2012 at 5:08 pm

We are traveling to Istanbul in May and would like to take a full day cruise but I would like to have an actual guide,not a pre-recorded tour. Can you recommend a tour company that provides relatively small group tours with very informed English speaking guides?

Many thanks

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Erlend Geerts April 1, 2012 at 7:39 pm

Hi,

Unlike (international) quality brand stores, good guides come and go. A great guide last year, may have chosen a different route this year, or do Turkey wide guidance instead of just focusing on Istanbul. Because of that we don’t recommend ‘personal’ guides here. Check with your hotel’s front desk who’s rocking these days.

Have a nice trip.

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Kristina May 17, 2012 at 3:52 pm

Is it possible or necessary to book in advance for the short cruise in May? Thanks

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Erlend Geerts May 18, 2012 at 8:05 am

Hi Kristina,

As far as I know, there is no possibility to make reservations. But what I always do is go early in the day, buy my ticket, continue doing what I had planned for that day, and then show up 15 minutes before departure time.

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eva June 20, 2012 at 8:47 pm

Will be in Instanbul ( 3 of us) the night of the 30th of June 2012, will there be a night cruise scheduled for that date?

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Erlend Geerts June 21, 2012 at 10:05 am

Hi Eva, yes it should be. Here’s a link to the night tour timetable.

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Lucie June 22, 2012 at 11:22 pm

Thank you for this article, very inspirational… We’ll try to add the “short bosporus tour” to our list when visiting Istanbul on July. Hope everything works out well. Thanks again, best regards form the Czech republic!

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Erlend Geerts June 24, 2012 at 12:16 am

Thanks a lot Lucie. Comments like yours make it all worthwhile.

I wish you a happy stay/holiday.

Kind regards,
Erlend

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Stelios June 28, 2012 at 5:27 pm

Hello,
I will be in Istanbul on Saturday, August 11th. I was hoping to do the night cruise picking up from Eminonu. Do you think I will be able to buy tickets or will they be sold out? Is there any way to buy a ticket online? Thanks.

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Elaine Abronson June 29, 2012 at 10:25 am

Are there any night cruises on the Bosphorus in November? I will be sailing on the Celebrity Equinox leaving Rome on November 5?

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Erlend Geerts June 30, 2012 at 6:04 pm

Hi Elaine,

Too soon to tell. Normally they only run in July and august, but this year they started earlier. Cross fingers.

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Nicki July 24, 2012 at 12:57 pm

Thanks Erlend for the information on the private tours. I was totally going to book with one (which includes dinner, etc) but their prices are ridiculous compared to this as you said. I would have been another tourist getting ripped off without you! Thanks so much. We will be travelling to Istanbul for a week starting Thursday! So excite :-) I’m going to keep reading!

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Erlend Geerts July 27, 2012 at 12:03 am

Thanks a lot Nicki, very nice of you.

I hope you will have a great time.

Erlend

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shahid July 29, 2012 at 1:23 pm

can any one tell me the ticket price of moon light full bosphorus tour for one person in turkish leira

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Erlend Geerts July 29, 2012 at 6:16 pm

It says so in the article Shahid, 20 TL per person.

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Pritam Nanda July 30, 2012 at 3:02 pm

Hi Erlend – Your articles are very informative and interesting. I wanted to ask you whether there are any changes in the Bosphorous Cruise schedules on account of Ramadan Bayrami? I would be in Istanbul during 18th – 20th August 2012 and wanted to go on a Bosphorous tour. Also, do I need to make early reservations on account of it being Bayrami holidays? Thanks in advance for your help.

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Erlend Geerts July 30, 2012 at 6:24 pm

Hi Pritam, thanks.

Well, I can’t tell for sure. But to be honest, I don’t think so, since it’s a private company. Here is some more info on the Sugar Feast.

As for reservations, you may pay them a visit the day before and ask if you can get tickets for a later day, but to my knowledge they don’t do that. And given the fact it is a religious holiday and nice weather, I’d go in time just to make sure, or even in the morning.

Have a nice stay,
Erlend

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Pritam Nanda August 1, 2012 at 12:38 pm

Thanks for the information Erlend. Hope everything truns out to be just fine. I had just one more un-related question. I would be travelling from Istanbul to Cappadocia, then to Pamukkale, Selcuk, Canakkale and then back to Istanbul all between the dates 10th – 16th August. This would again be the month of Ramadan, however not Bayrami per se. So do I still need to book bus tickets in advance or I can get the tickets one day prior to my respective travel date at the otogar? I am a bit apprehensive since I read that lot of people travel during the Ramadan Bayrami. What I am not sure is whether lot of people also travel during the week preceeding it as well in which case getting seats may become a problem. Any insight would be very helpful.
Regards,
Pritam

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Erlend Geerts August 1, 2012 at 5:44 pm

Hi Pritam,

No, normally the big travel happens during the Bayram itself.

Kind regards,
Erlend

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Khulood August 16, 2012 at 5:42 am

Hi Erlend, I loved your articles there very helpful , but i have a question , since it’s very crowded in Istanbul during Bay-ram or Eid time do you suggest any place tourists can go away fro this crewed , i’m coming with my family to Turkey for the first time at Aug 18 2012 , and i’m running away from the crewed & traffic of my country Kuwait during these days .
Thanks for your help

Khulood

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Erlend Geerts August 16, 2012 at 2:37 pm

Hi Khulood,

Thanks for the nice comment.

You may want to read this article about the Sugar Feast marking the end of Ramadan.

May I suggest a trip to the islands and/or a Bosphorus tour?
Have a nice trip,
Erlend

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Thomas Diem August 16, 2012 at 8:46 am

Well met Erlend -

Thank you for the excellent articles. I am planning a trip to Istanbul and they have helped me decide what and how to see the sights. I have a question regarding the night cruise and hope you may be able to provide an answer as I cannot find a definitive answer on the night tour site.
I start my travel from the U.S.A on 31 August and arrive in Istanbul on September 1st. I understand from your information above that the night tour runs weekends July to August. I wondered if the Saturday that I arrive counts as the last weekend of August (and will have a night tour) or since it is indeed technically September, if I’ll miss the opportunity.

I’m assuming the latter, but would be pleasantly surprised to find a night cruise operating that weekend. If you know either way and wouldn’t mind passing along the information, I would be grateful.

Thanks again for this excellent site and you efforts that ease the way for visitors to Istanbul.

All the best to you -
– Thomas

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Erlend Geerts August 16, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Hi Thomas,

Thanks a lot for the compliments.

You’re in luck, according to the latest information I have, they will continue the tour until September 16th.

Have a nice trip,
Erlend

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Thomas Diem August 16, 2012 at 2:57 pm

Hi Erlend -

Many thanks! You just made my day. I’m looking forward to this trip very much.

Thanks again and all the best -
- Thomas

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Anna Tavares August 17, 2012 at 3:35 am

And what is the cost of short circle cruise and the full cruise? Thanks.

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Erlend Geerts August 20, 2012 at 1:31 am

Anna, have you tried reading the last two sentences of every paragraph in this article?

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Kgree August 25, 2012 at 6:15 pm

Hello Erlend,
We will be in Istanbul on the 31st of August for 3 days and plan on taking the Full Bosphorus Cruise by Night, on the 1st Sept (Saturday), Since we will be staying in Sultanmet and going by the timetable at http://www.sehirhatlari.com.tr/en/timetable/mehtap-gezisi-415.html, it would seem that the pickuppoint would be from EMINONU(18:35) and our return would be at 00:10,
Question: I would like to know what mode of safe transport we could use to reach our hotel from EMINONU late in the night

thanks

Thanks

Reply

Erlend Geerts August 27, 2012 at 7:15 pm

Hi,

Just stop a taxi, and you should be fine. Do make sure you have the correct directions to your hotel and have the hotel’s phone number with you.

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Grover September 3, 2012 at 9:30 am

Hi Erlends,
I will be in Istanbul from 06 to 08 sep 12.We want to take Bosphorus cruise full day/night? Which is better? We want to see Belly dance & have dinner on board while on the cruise.Please advise from where to start,cost per person with fish/fruits/non alcoholic drinks & return to Hotel in Taxsim.Thanx.

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Erlend Geerts September 3, 2012 at 10:27 am

Hi Grover,

The Bosphorus tours I mentioned are the official ones and don’t offer belly dancers or dinner. Only private companies offer these kind of tours. Ask your hotel’s concierge, he should be able to help you out.

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Grover September 3, 2012 at 9:33 am

Hi Erlends,
Can you recommend good sight seeing tour for two days in Kusadasi & for three days in Cappadocia in September 2012.is it safe to take hot air ballon trip?
Thanx

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Erlend Geerts September 3, 2012 at 10:24 am

Hi Grover,

I’m afraid my knowledge and advice is restricted to Istanbul.

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Craig Byren September 12, 2012 at 8:00 am

Hi, can you purchase refreshments on the standard ferry trips? If yes, does this include beer and wine or not? Thanks,
Craig

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Erlend Geerts September 12, 2012 at 8:17 am

Hi Craig,

Yes you can buy refreshments normally, but no alcohol. Keep in mind that it is also not allowed to smoke on the ferries.

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Craig Byren September 12, 2012 at 8:53 am

Thanks, would we be permitted to take along a bottle of wine or would that be forbidden?

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Eva September 13, 2012 at 1:58 pm

Hi Erlend,
thanks for nice and informative article, finally I discovered details about official night cruises. But still have one question. You wrote several times, that night cruising is possible just from July till August. I visited official website of provider today and there is still time schedule for night cruising even today is 12th of September. Is that means, that night cruising still running or it’s just non update information? I tried write to costumer service, but I doubt, they’ll answer.
So thanks again for sharing and best regards from Prague!

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Eva September 13, 2012 at 4:31 pm

edit: Question solved, summer time schedule is till 16th of September.

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Erlend Geerts September 13, 2012 at 9:37 pm

Thanks Eva, I’m sure you helped a lot of people with this info!

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Craig Byren September 15, 2012 at 12:51 pm

We took the full 25TL tour on Thursday (13th September). While I do recommend the river cruitse, I would not recommend do the trip all the way to the end. Other than the fort one is pretty much ‘trapped ‘ in the small town and at the mercy of the local restaurants. This was the only place in Istanbul where we were charged for bread and forced to pay a 10% service charge. The Mezze was very dissappointing and the fried calamari tasteless. The service was the worst we had on our trip and the staff were extremely grumpy. In retrospect I would either have done the shorter loop trip or, if doing the full trip I would have disembarked at the second last stop. There is a wonderful swimming beach and I am sure the eateries are a lot less entitiled!

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farikica September 16, 2012 at 6:35 am

Hello Erlend,

I’m travelling to Istanbul this coming December, early December to be precised. Are there any river cruise services in December (both short and long cruises)? TQ

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Erlend Geerts September 18, 2012 at 8:02 am

Hi Farikica,

Both the short and the long Bosphorus tours should be available then. To my knowledge, only the night cruise does not run in winter.

Have fun,
Erlend

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Amy Fradel October 20, 2012 at 6:57 am

I will be in Istanbul Nov 1-12. You said there were several Full Bosporus Tours each day and that one must get off at the last stop. How long does it stop? Is it possible to go out on one ferry and come back on a later one? One writer complained about being trapped in a small town and the food being not so good…what do you think? I would like to see the fort and anything else that is interesting. Is it better to pack a picnic?

Reply

Erlend Geerts October 20, 2012 at 9:44 pm

Hi Amy,

In wintertime, you have to be careful, since they don’t make as many runs as they do in summertime. Just play safe and take the morning one from Eminönü at 10:35, which will take you to the furthest point by 12:10. That gives you almost a three hour window to eat and do some sightseeing, before the last ferry leaves again at 15:00. Keep your ticket with you for the return trip. Do check the timetables through the link provided in the article for the latest updates.

In all honesty, the food is rather average, except for the fish maybe. Certainly in summertime, since people only have/had a 45 min window to eat. In winter you have more time, so maybe they take more pride in their cooking.

Have a nice trip,
Erlend

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Amy May 24, 2013 at 8:33 am

I took the full Bosporus tour on Nov 9. As you said I had plenty of time to walk up to the castle and back, and enjoy a leisurely fish lunch which was just fine. It was a wonderful outing. I want to recommend renting the recorded tour guide with the touch pad. Unlike some of the recorded guides, such as the one at the archeological museum, this one was really great. It had photos of the buildings inside and out and gave a neat little history. Thanks!

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Erlend Geerts May 24, 2013 at 5:29 pm

Hi Amy,

Thanks for sharing this. Glad to hear you had a great time.

Erlend

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Jill January 15, 2013 at 3:06 pm

We will be visiting Istanbul for 2 days in during the last week of March. I would love to take one of the cruises, but because we are there for such a short time we would have to give up something else. I am worried about weather conditions on the ferry – is it still worth it at that time of year to take the ferry? Also, if I only have time for the short ride, is that still worth it? I thought the greatest part of this cruise would be to go to the Asia side, and it looks like the short ferry stays in Europe. Please advise. Thanks.

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Erlend Geerts January 16, 2013 at 12:32 pm

Hi Jill,

In March we may already have a few nice afternoons. If that’s the case, I would try to fit in a short cruise. If the weather is mediocre to bad, I would focus on visiting other things.

Kind regards,
Erlend

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joanne January 16, 2013 at 11:38 pm

I will be at the Witt in early June what is the easiest way to set up a full bosphorous cruise? Do they run on Wednesdays?

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Erlend Geerts January 17, 2013 at 7:49 am

Hi Joanne,

I can’t tell for sure since by then they’ll be running on the summer schedule, which they will only announce a few weeks before. But no need to worry, there is no need for reservations. If you’re staying at Witt, just ask the front desk to help you set it up upon arrival. They’ll gladly look into all the options available.

Kind regards,
Erlend

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Manoshi Rellan February 4, 2013 at 5:34 pm

Hi, thanks for the great information that you provide on Istanbul.request if you could please advise which are the good, convenient and safe areas to stay in…our travel is planned for end April…….

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Erlend Geerts February 6, 2013 at 10:17 pm

Hi Manoshi,

This is not the first time people ask me this question, so I plan a full post on that this month. If you can’t wait for that, then I’d go for a hotel in Beyoğlu (Taksim/Cihangir).

Kind regards,
Erlend

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Nik Linda February 9, 2013 at 2:43 am

Hi Erlend,
Thank you for this informative info. I’ll be travelling from Malaysia and was looking around for the Bosphorus Tour without using the private tour. Definitely will try your suggestion during my upcoming visit end of February 2013. Thanks a lot for other beneficial info as well.

Well done. Linda

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Erlend Geerts February 9, 2013 at 7:34 pm

Hi Nik Linda,

Thanks for the compliments. I’m glad I could be of assistance.

Kind regards,
Erlend

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Earlean February 18, 2013 at 10:25 am

A round of applause for the blog post. Truly thank you! Excellent.

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Ruch March 19, 2013 at 12:31 pm

Hi Erlend,

That you for such a nice and detailed information that you have out up. We are in Istanbul in first week of April and want to do the night cruise of Bosphorus . We will be staying in Sultanhemet area. Which will be the closest dock station for us to catch the boat. We will be arriving in the afternoon and hence will be looking for something in the evening, around 5pm. Please suggest something.
We are also planning for a day drip to Prince’s island. Any pointers/suggestions on that will be very helpful.
We do not want to go with the private tour operators for both the trips. Also keeping my fingers crossed and hoping for a good weather when we visit. Looking forward to your reply!

Thanks,
Ruchi

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Erlend Geerts March 19, 2013 at 5:43 pm

Hi Ruch,

I’m afraid the night Bosphorus cruise will not yet operate in April. They only start these tours in summertime. But you can still take the full Bosphorus daytime tour if you wish, which will be much warmer that time of the year.

As for a trip to the Princes’ Islands, the closest harbors are Eminönü for the (slower) conventuals ferries and Kabataş for the quick sea ferries.

Kind regards,
Erlend

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Ruch March 23, 2013 at 9:24 am

Many thanks for the reply Erlend!

Should we buy online tickets (from IDO website) for the full Bosphorus daytime tour or should we buy it directly from the dock when we are there? Same question for Prince’s island.

We reach Istanbul in the afternoon and will be at our hotel by evening 5 , which is in Sultanhemet. What should we plan for that evening?Please suggest. Since we are there only for 3 days, I do not want to waste any time

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Erlend Geerts March 24, 2013 at 3:23 pm

Hi Ruch,

You can buy the tickets on the dock. If you want to be sure, you can buy them in the morning ahead of time.

Kind regards,
Erlend

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dell April 8, 2013 at 9:51 am

Hello,
I will be in Istanbul on 24th April. I was hoping to do the short cruise by sehirhatlari. Do you think I will be able to buy tickets or will they be sold out? Is there any way to buy a ticket online? Thanks.

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Erlend Geerts April 8, 2013 at 1:21 pm

Hi Dell,

You should have no problem finding them the day itself.

Kind regards,
Erlend

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Namrata April 9, 2013 at 8:01 pm

Hi! Erlend

I would like to know whether October/ November are good months to travel to Turkey. We are planning a 8 day trip.

Regards
Namrata

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Erlend Geerts April 10, 2013 at 11:03 am

Hi Namrata,

Nobody can predict the weather of course. Maybe check out this post on best times to visit Istanbul.

Regards,
Erlend

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Namrata April 11, 2013 at 2:59 pm

Many thanks Erlends! the link did help.

I have gone through lonely planet to check out must see places in Turkey. However, they have listed so many that one gets confused. Can you suggest must see places in Turkey?

Regards
Namrata

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Erlend Geerts April 12, 2013 at 6:38 pm

Hi Namrata,

I’m glad to hear the link was useful. Bare in mind though that this blog only offers information on Istanbul. I’m afraid I can’t give you a list of things to see in Turkey.

Kind regards,
Erlend

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Goedele April 30, 2013 at 5:50 pm

Hi Erlends,

I found your information concerning Bosphorus cruises very enlightning. However, you seem to focus on the Sehir Hatlari line. Do you have any information on IDO? On several websites they advise using them and give prices as lowe as 5 TR, but have no detailed information on the stops or schedule. I visited their website but found it rather confusing. Do you know if they have a Bosphorus cruise as well, and if it is possible to get off and back on at several stops to visit the smal towns or villages?

Kind regards,
Goedele

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Erlend Geerts May 2, 2013 at 5:44 pm

Hi Goedele,

IDO is a company that used to organize these Bosphorus tours, but no longer provide the real experience. They now focus on the quick sea buses.

About hopping and on off, it’s best to ask before boarding, because their policy changes a lot. Also, very important, make sure you don’t miss the last boat.

Kind regards,
Erlend

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rebecca samie May 16, 2013 at 9:07 pm

We only have a short time in Istanbul and my huband wanted to go to the beach. I know there are the more popular beaches that are not close to Istanbul but I have heard of a beach by the Black Sea. First is this right and two will the full Bosphorus tour take us there where we can stay for a couple of hours?

Second I am still confused about where to buy ticket for the Whirling Dervishes in Istabul. The names are confusing to me. Are the recommneded places in Istanbul?

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Erlend Geerts May 17, 2013 at 1:39 pm

Hi Rebecca,

Bosphorus cruises will not take you to a beach. The closest beaches to the Istanbul city center are located by the Black Sea or at the Princes Islands. I have no clue when you plan to come, but the seas will be rather cold (they take a long time to heat up) until mid July.

If you are only a short time in Istanbul, a beach would be at the bottom of my to-do list.

Kind regards,
Erlend

Reply

Vic May 26, 2013 at 12:32 pm

Hi

We’re in Istanbul this coming week and heard form friends that they really enjoyed taking the cable car up to Pierre Loti Café. What’s you opinion about it, and what’s the nearest public transport stop/line to get there?

Thanks
Vic

Reply

Erlend Geerts May 28, 2013 at 7:52 am

Hi Vic,

Pierre Lotti is actually a very basic tea garden, but has one big advantage: a magnificent view over the Golden Horn. If you like nice views while sipping a glass of tea (no alcohol served), by all means.

To reach the cable car, there are several buses from Eminönü, but the quickest and easiest way is to take a short taxi ride. Tell the driver “Pierre Lotti teleferik lütfen”

Kind regards,
Erlend

Reply

janet June 21, 2013 at 2:24 pm

We will be in Istanbul from Oct 2- 5. We are taking a city tour on Oct 2 that includes all the sites in the Sultanhamet area.
On Oct 3 we have a private morning tour from 9 am to 1 pm. and we have a reservation for the Mawlavi Whirling Dervish Ceremony at the ismail Dede Effendi House and need to be there at 6:30 pm to secure our tickets. We hope to take a Bosphorous cruise between the end of the tour (1pm) and the arrival at the Effendi (6:30 pm). Should we take just the short cruise from 2:30 to 4:30 or could we take the longer one from , boarding at Eminou at 1:30 and arriving at R.Kavaghi at 3; the reboarding at RKavaghi at 3:10 to return to Eminou at 4:25? Is there any food service on the ferry?
Will we have enough time to get from the ferry to the Dede Effendi House by taxi ? Is there a dress code for attending the ceremony?
Thank you for sharing all the advice, tips, and information about Istanbul. Your suggestions and wisdom are very much appreciated!

Reply

Erlend Geerts June 23, 2013 at 2:34 pm

Hi Janet,

You will be able to do that and make it back in time. However, the ferry only has snacks like a toast. No real lunch or dinner. That’s why most people get of at the ferry at the lady stop, eat something there, and return with the next ferry. Which won’t fit into your tight schedule.

There is no special dress code to watch the dervishes, but try to keep the amount of visible bare skin minimal. It is a religious ceremony after all.

Kind regards,
Erlend

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Joseph July 10, 2013 at 6:54 pm

Hello Erlend,
I’ll have 12 hours layover in Istanbul next week, are there any tours early in the morning that are possible to end till 11 am (my next flight at 1pm).

Regards,
Joseph

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Erlend Geerts July 13, 2013 at 6:23 pm

Hi Joseph,

I’m afraid not. Besides, also consider possible traffic jams while getting back to the airport.

Erlend

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Kamilla July 11, 2013 at 9:05 pm

Hi Erlend,

First off, great website and thanks for all the tips.

I will be in Istanbul from 27 september to 1st october. Do you know if I can pay for the bosphorus cruise with the istanbulkart? And what does it cost for children (11 months and 4 years old)? The given website does not state anything about children.

Also, are the stores in the Taksim area, Istiklal caddesi etc. open on sundays?

Reply

Erlend Geerts July 13, 2013 at 6:21 pm

Hi Kamilla,

You can’t pay for the Bosphorus Tours with Istanbul Kart, and as far as I know there are no discounts for children.

Yes, all stores are open on Sundays in Istanbul, except for the Grand Bazaar.

Kind regards,
Erlend

Reply

chitranganie July 15, 2013 at 3:50 am

We will be in Istanbul for a few days in the first week of November . Since the summer timetable ceases to function in November please let me know what options are available to us in terms of a Bosphrous Cruise. We were actually interested in the short cruise described here.

Reply

Erlend Geerts July 18, 2013 at 2:12 pm

Hi,

The short cruises run every day, winter and summer, at 14:30 from the Eminönü dock.

Erlend

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johnny mehanna July 16, 2013 at 7:13 pm

Hello Erlend,
I likedso much ur usefull information. May i ask if night tours did start or not this year?
Me and my wife r coming to istanbul at 9-august-2013.
Thanks

Reply

Erlend Geerts July 18, 2013 at 2:08 pm

Hi Johnny,

Yes they started, but as mentioned in the article, don’t forget they’re only on Saturdays.

Kind regards,
Erlend

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Vijay July 23, 2013 at 6:41 pm

Dear Erlend,
Thanks for giving frank and honest advise to travellers like us. We will be in istanbul from 09 Aug to 11Aug. 09Aug being Id Day will there be any restriction ? Will the Hadipasha cultural center be open or close due to this important Festival. Also will the places of interest be open the next day I.e 10 Aug. can u suggest some places which are must during our short stay. We are four of us all 60 plus.Thanks in advance.
Regards,
Vijay

Reply

Erlend Geerts July 26, 2013 at 12:27 pm

Hi Vijay,

During your stay you should visit the classics: Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, Basilica Cistern, and the Blue Mosque. The Grand Bazaar and the Spice Market will probably be closed because of the Sugar Feast. If you like mosques, also go to the Süleymaniye Mosque. In my opinion it’s the most beautiful one in Istanbul. A lot of people skip Dolmabahçe Palace, but I think it’s a must see spot. No need to do both, just selamlik is enough. And of course walk around in Galata and maybe catch the 360 view from the top of the Galata Tower. If you need to get away from the heat and noise for one day, you can escape to the Princes’ Islands, or take the full Bosphorus Tour.

Kind regards,
Erlend

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mihri July 24, 2013 at 6:21 am

thanks for the useful information god bless

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Asif July 24, 2013 at 8:26 am

Hi Erlend,

Thanks for all the information you have provided. I would like to ask you for advice regarding a bosphorus cruise. I am trying to arrange for a 2-3 hour evening cruise on august 17, saturday. Somewhere between 50-70 people, maybe more. I would like to organize a private cruise with basic refreshments. I dont want to ask our hotel to arrange it for us as im sure it will cost more than it should. Can you suggest some reputable companies or persons i can contact to set this up? Also, what is a reasonable per person charge to expect when i shop around? I have some friends in istanbul who can inquire for me if that makes a difference? Thanks for your help.

Best,

Asif

Reply

Erlend Geerts July 26, 2013 at 11:38 am

Hi Asif,

It’s difficult to give advice about these kind of things, because companies go and new ones come every year. And of course I don’t take a private cruise ship every year.

I would ask your hotel to give you two or three company names that they know are solid this year. So don’t ask the hotel to arrange it for you, just ask them to give you reputable names and you contact them yourself.

Hope this helps,
Erlend

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Bilal July 25, 2013 at 11:54 am

Hi Erlend,

Is it possible to get down at the various stops during the trip and then get the next available cruise or do we have to stick with the cruise ship that we might have boarded initially.

Reply

Erlend Geerts July 26, 2013 at 11:48 am

Hi Bilal,

Yes, you can with the full Bosphorus tour (and only that one). Do make sure to keep your boarding pass on you at all times (and ask the sailors before getting off just in case) and make sure you don’t miss the last ferry. You don’t want to walk back from the Black Sea to the city center!

Erlend

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Wayne July 26, 2013 at 3:37 pm

Hi I am in Istanbul in early September,and am looking for a evening cruise and a bite to eat which is the best value way of doing this on a Saturday nite?
Thank you

Reply

Erlend Geerts July 28, 2013 at 6:17 pm

Hi Wayne,

The sunset Bosphorus cruise doesn’t serve dinner. This leaves you with two options: have a nice dinner before that in a place of your choice (but don’t miss the boat), or have a fish dinner at the end of the first leg on the Asian side by the Black Sea. The food is good, but because of a sudden influx of people, don’t expect anything special. If you want to have dinner before the cruise, I can recommend the Hamdi Restaurant which is in Eminönü, close to the dock from where the ship will set sail.

Kind regards,
Erlend

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Zehra August 7, 2013 at 12:59 am

Hi Erland
I am planning to travel around Oct 11th and since everything else would be closed on Eid, i am thinking of booking a bhosphorous cruise or a trip to fairy or princess island.
are both available during Eid Al Edha holidays?
Do you think we need to book in advance during the holiday period.
thanks
Zehra

Reply

Erlend Geerts August 7, 2013 at 11:26 pm

Zehra,

In Turkey, the Feast of the Sacrifice in 2013 doesn’t start until October 15. No need to make any special arrangements.

Kind regards,
Erlend

Reply

Loges August 7, 2013 at 12:25 pm

What are the times for the short cruise in mid Nov please?

If I take the full cruise, can I stop anywhere along the route & pick up the ferry on the return trip, instead of stopping at the last stop for 3 hours? Whaere is a good stop?

Reply

Erlend Geerts August 7, 2013 at 11:22 pm

Hi Loges,

It’s too early to be sure about the timetables for winter Bosphorus cruises, but generally the short cruises are once a day at 14:30.

Erlend

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Safina August 29, 2013 at 3:31 pm

Hi Erlend,
Again, thank you for being so informative. The only thing please write me how to get to Eminonu from Sultanahmet?? Sorry of it was answered in previous comments, but I didn’t get chance to go through all the comments:))

Reply

Erlend Geerts August 30, 2013 at 1:22 pm

Hi Safina,

Just walk down the hill from Sultanahmet, or take the T1 tramline for a few stops until Eminönü.

Erlend

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ROHIT KUMAR September 20, 2013 at 3:47 pm

Hi,

Thanks for the insights. Virtually enjoying Istanbul through your well informed articles.

I would be arriving in Istanbul on 6th October at 10pm for the very first time through Ataturk Airport for a stay less than 20hrs, what recommendation would you give about Istanbul’s night life and must see spots in the moonlight as I have booked a hotel near the Grand Bazaar (I hope the vicinity is safe and sound).

I look forward to your reply.

Regards,
Rohit Kumar

Reply

Erlend Geerts September 20, 2013 at 11:08 pm

Hi Rohit,

Thanks for the compliments.

I recommend going over a few of our post where locals share their secret spots.

As for the vicinity of your hotel, I’m sure it’s safe and sound. But since this area is not that lively after dark, I would go for night entertainment in the Beyoğlu area.

Kind regards,
Erlend

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Alison October 5, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Hi Erlend
Your website is so informative and useful. You have been very kind to spend your valuable time to answer everyone’s questions.
My husband and I are coming to Istabul from Dubai and will stay 14-17 October. Could you please let me know which tourist attractions will be closed then. Also our hotel is in Faith, Hurriyet hotel. What s the best way to get there from Sabiha Airport? By bus to Kadikoy then ferry to Sultanahmed, or bus to Taksim then to Faith? We arrive around midday.

Thank so very much for your help.

Alison

Reply

Erlend Geerts October 7, 2013 at 7:45 am

Hi Alison,

Did you already have a look at this post: http://www.wittistanbul.com/magazine/kurban-bayrami-or-the-feast-of-the-sacrifice-in-a-nutshell/

This should answer most of your questions.

Kind regards,
Erlend

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Talal October 5, 2013 at 3:20 pm

Dear Erlend,

Amazing and helpful article. Can’t be better than this. I almost got caught with private bosphorous cruise company. But, thanks to you.

Really appreciate your effort.

Regards,
Talal

Reply

Erlend Geerts October 6, 2013 at 12:32 pm

Hi Talal,

Glad we could help.

Enjoy your stay,
Erlend

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Mervin October 12, 2013 at 10:32 am

Dear Erlend,

Had done the wonderful cruise along the Bosphorus.
Wondering if a drive along the strait to Rumeli Kavalgi is a good alternative sightseeing option when I revisit in March.
Do you have any good fish restaurants to recommend along the coast. Would turbot be in season ?

Best Regards
Mervin

Reply

Erlend Geerts October 22, 2013 at 6:30 pm

Hi Mervin,

Yes, you could do that, but be aware that traffic can be really bad at certain hours of the day.

Did you have a look at our Istanbul fish restaurants listing yet?

Kind regards,
Erlend

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Fadwa October 22, 2013 at 3:34 am

Plz could anyone advice me how to reserve a Bosporus trip on new year eve with dinner, show, belly dancer etc.. Or wat company to contact bec I will arrive on 31 December so I don’t have time to search when I arrive.

Reply

Mia October 27, 2013 at 7:59 am

Dear Erlend,

I’m loving your detailed advice on everything.
My husband and I are in a bit of a spot travelling with a 5 year old and a 2 year old( fairly behaved, sporty travellers :) )… I really want to do the Bosphorous cruise with them though. Just wanted to know if these cruises are child friendly and would the full day or the quick one be more suitable.

Thanks,
Mia

Reply

Erlend Geerts October 27, 2013 at 12:50 pm

Hi Mia,

There are plenty of kids taking these tours, just make sure you never loose sight of them. I think the short tour would be the better choice, since they may get bored taking the longer one.

Kind regards,
Erlend

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MH November 8, 2013 at 9:13 pm

Erlend, thanks for all your time and effort to maintain this site and provide such useful information. I am planning to visit Istanbul sometime during November or December of this year and have a question about the short Bosphorus cruise and the Princes’ Islands.

From the timetables shown in their websites, it seems that the short cruise is available once a day and only during the weekend for November/December (at 14:30 from Eminonu). [http://sehirhatlari.com.tr/en/timetable/short-bosphorus-tour-363.html]

Similarly, the Sea Bus to the Princes’ Islands also seems to offer one departure and only during the weekends from Kabatas. [http://www.ido.com.tr/en/yolculuk-oncesi/tarifeler/346-adalar]

Is that correct, am I reading it right? If that is the case, then I’ll have to plan my days accordingly.

Thanks again for all your help.

Reply

Erlend Geerts November 11, 2013 at 8:07 am

Hi,

Yes, that is correct, just like mentioned in the article. As for the trip to the Princes’ Islands, don’t forget you can also take the conventional ferry. It is slower, but makes more rounds trips.

Kind regards,
Erlend

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danny November 16, 2013 at 10:39 am

Hi

Thanks for the information provided on your website. I am coming to istanbul for 2 full days. Just wondering if alot of the service industry people such as restaurant workers speak english?

Reply

Erlend Geerts November 18, 2013 at 5:25 pm

Hi Danny,

Most people working in the service industry do speak (a little bit) of English.

Kind regards,
Erlend

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Dorota November 21, 2013 at 5:37 pm

Dear Erlend,
I wonder if you could help me.We are planning to spend 2 days in Istanbul,and it is going to be 24 and 25 December. We would love to go on Bosphorus Cruise.Could you please give us some advise? 24 is Tuesday and 25 is Wednesday…
Thank you

Reply

Erlend Geerts November 22, 2013 at 7:58 am

Hi Dorota,

What advise would you want from me? Is a good idea? Sure. Will it run on December 24, 25, or 26? Sure, those are normal days in a Muslim country. Will it be cold on the boat? Outside, probably yes. But you can also sit inside.

Kind regards,
Erlend

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Dorota November 26, 2013 at 2:13 pm

Dear Erlend,
I sent to more comments,one explaining what I wanted to know about Bosphorus Cruise and the other about the public transport.Unfortunately none of them seem to get trough…
Dorota

Reply

Erlend Geerts November 27, 2013 at 1:14 pm

Hi Dorota,

I’m sorry to hear that. I would go for the short Bosphorus tour, which runs once every day. Af for public transportation, did you have a look at the articles we have on that subject?

Erlend

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Arif November 22, 2013 at 6:08 am

Hi Erlend ,

Thanks for all the informaiton in you blog. It is very helpfull. I am planning to be in Istanbul in December during Christmas time and would like to find out if the Bosphorous tour is available on 24th or 25th December by Şehir Hatları. Because of cold wheather, do we need to be inside the ship.

Thanks & Regards,

Arif

Reply

Erlend Geerts November 22, 2013 at 7:55 am

Hi Arif,

Yes, in Turkey December 24 and 25 are as normal a day as any day of the week.

You don’t have to sit inside, but you can if it’s too cold.

Kind regards,
Erlend

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Arif November 25, 2013 at 4:05 am

Erlend,

Many thanks for the informaiton.

Regards,

Arif

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roula December 4, 2013 at 6:31 am

Do you advise taking a Bosphorus Cruise the first week of March? What will the weather be like, and are cruises provided during that time?

Thanks

Reply

Erlend Geerts December 7, 2013 at 11:23 pm

Hi Roula,

If I would get a dime for every time people ask me to predict the weather at a certain period, I’d be rich by now. March is very unpredictable. It can be freezing cold with showers, or pleasantly warm (during the day) with sunshine.

Regardless, take the cruise. You won’t regret it, even if you have to watch all grandeur from behind a window.

Kind regards,
Erlend

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Veshan December 11, 2013 at 3:14 pm

Hi Erlend

My wife and I will be in Istanbul for 18 hours (arriving @ 06:00 03/01/2014, departing 04/01/2013 at 01:00 from Atatürk). This is our first time in Istanbul. We would like to see a few sites in Istanbul including the Bosphorus Cruise Tour. Would you recommend the Bosphorus cruise bearing in mind the time we have? Or should we just stick to touring the city?

Thank you for an awesome site,

Kind Regards
Veshan

Reply

Erlend Geerts December 11, 2013 at 10:06 pm

Hi Veshan,

It always surprises me how people want to visit the city in a lay-over while it actually takes about five days.

Since you have such a limited time here, I would certainly recommend the short Bosphorus tour, if only to grasp the grandeur of the city.

Since it doesn’t depart before 14:30, I suggest you squeeze in a Turkish breakfast followed by a visit to the Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace.

Kind regards,
Erlend

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Cyrus Katrak December 23, 2013 at 7:12 am

Hi Erlend – Love the info you put on the website. We are coming to Istanbul on Christmas day for 3 days. Our flight lands at 4 pm at Ataturk and we are at a hotel in Taksim Square. We plan on buying the Istanbul Kart and taking the Havatas bus to Taksim square. It will take us about two hours to get settled in. Would you recommend a night Bosphoros city tour or the long circle tour the next day?
Also, any recommendations about authentic Turkish restaurants in the Taksim Sq area? Thanks a bunch!
Cyrus

Reply

Erlend Geerts December 23, 2013 at 10:01 am

Hi Cyrus,

In winter there is no night Bosphorus tour, which leaves you with the choice between the long and short tour. Personally, since it is winter time and no chance to sit on deck for a long time, I would go for the short cruise.

Kind regards,
Erlend

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Cyrus Katrak December 23, 2013 at 9:03 pm

Erlend – Thankyou! Not to take up more of your time – what would you recommend we then do the evening of the 25th when we fly in? Any recommendations? We should have checked in at the hotel by 6 pm.
We are also planning on taking the ferry/train to Izmir-Epheses. Would you recommend that this time of the year?
Thanks a Million!
Cyrus

Reply

Erlend Geerts December 25, 2013 at 1:00 am

Hi Cyrus,

You can do whatever you please December 25th. For Turks it’s business as usual since this is a majority Muslim country.

Erlend

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Elaine January 14, 2014 at 11:31 am

Hi,
My parents, sis and 2 young kids are planning to stay in Istanbul for 10 nights from 28 May 2014. Since we have the time, we would like to take the full Bosphorus Cruise.
Would it be viable if we also make 1 or 2 stops at the ferry stops to check out the towns before Anadolu Kavağı? If so, which ferry stops would you suggest? How much time would I have in the towns?

Thanks so much!
Elaine

Reply

Erlend Geerts January 15, 2014 at 10:12 am

Hi Elaine,

It’s too early to provide an answer on this. They are currently on the winter schedule (and then there is no such an option).

Keep an eye on the Şehırhatları website starting end of April, and look for the long (uzun) Bosphorus trip summer schedule.

Kind regards,
Erlend

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Wendy January 15, 2014 at 7:14 am

Hello, we will be on a cruise ship that docks in Istanbul and want to take the Bosphorus 2 hour cruise, can you tell me how to get from the port to the ferry wharf .
thank you for all of this information.

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Erlend Geerts January 15, 2014 at 10:15 am

Hi Wendy,

You can take a very short taxi ride to Eminönü, or have an enjoyable walk to Eminönü by crossing the Galata Bridge of about 20 minutes.

Kind regards,
Erlend

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foteini January 15, 2014 at 4:47 pm

Hi Erlend
Thank you for the info you put on the website. We will come to Istanbul at 3 until 7 Feb. unfortunately there is no Bosphorus tour or for Princes’ Islands that time (it’s only for weekends) :( ….
Do you have another idea how can I visit them or make a Bosphorus tour

Reply

Erlend Geerts January 16, 2014 at 10:17 am

Hi Foteini,

I’m not sure if you’re well informed. Sure, until March one there is no short Bosphorus tour, but there still is the daily long Bosphorus tour starting at 10:35 in Eminönü.

As for getting to the Princes’ Islands, there are several options per day with both the quick (IDO) as the conventional (şehir hatları) ferries.

Kind regards,
Erlend

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Ahmer January 19, 2014 at 6:26 pm

I am planning to visit Istanbul mid of March and wondering if the Bosphorous trips are operations at that time?
From the sounds of comments I will be somewhere close to EMINOUNU area so what will be the best tour (roundtrip) for us since I am not sure the departure/arrival times. If anyone can recommend any site where to get information in English for the times and rates during this time?
Thanks,

Reply

Erlend Geerts January 19, 2014 at 6:36 pm

Hi Ahmer,

Did you follow the timetable links in the article? They have the latest updates and are in English.

Kind regards,
Erlend

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Fremy January 31, 2014 at 9:24 pm

Hi Erland,
I read all your above posts, and Im afraide. We 4, 2 couples 60s, will be in Istanbul from 15 to 19 February. You say there are no moonlight bosforous tours, but we are told that there are. They pick us at 19.30 and drop us off from at 24.00 It has 2 prices one non alcoholic cost €44 and one alcoholic costs 51 both unlimited beverages, with dinner and show plus the tour. Do you think these are false? We have to pay now. Please let us know before we make a mistake.
tks

Reply

Erlend Geerts February 3, 2014 at 9:37 pm

Hi Fremy,

With the official service that we promote as mentioned in the article, there are currently no nightly Bosphorus cruises. That doesn’t mean there are no private companies organizing similar trips. The tour run by the official company charges about 20 TL per person. The prices you mention ranging between 44 and 51 Euros, are of course more expensive, but offer food and a ‘show’ whereas the official tour doesn’t. I can’t say whether these tours are worth the money or not — from what I’ve heard there are good and bad ones. I’m afraid this will be your judgement call.

Kind regards,
Erlend

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SS February 17, 2014 at 7:31 pm

Hi Erlend,
We will arrive at Ataturk airport at 4:00pm and will leave IST airport at midnight. We would like to take a short Bodphorus boat ride. Since we only have a few hours to stay Istanbul. I can’t find any cruise that match our schedule. Do you have any suggestions where we can book our boat tour. We want to take boat ride, not a dinner cruise.

Also, we have 4 people. Do you have any suggestion which transportation will be the fastest and cheapest way from IST airport and ride a boat?
Thaks!

Sara

Reply

Erlend Geerts February 18, 2014 at 4:45 pm

Hi Sara,

I’m assuming that you’ll arrive shortly, in which case you won’t find official day cruises at that time. Don’t forget the sun sets at 18:00 in winter, so you’ll have to use privately owned ones.

Unfortunately, I can not recommend any nor guarantee their quality.

Kind regards,
Erlend

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Samia Hus February 26, 2014 at 10:25 am

Hi Erlend,

Thank you so much for this article. Very helpful :)
If I take the two way ticket for the full bosphorus Tour, can I stop at Andalolu Kavagi and take another ferry for my return to Eminocu? Or do we have to remain on the ferry boat throughout the whole trip? I’d would like to have lunch and visit the Yoros Castle.
More over is it possible to board the ferry somewhere closer to beyoglu (since i’ll be living near istiklal area) ? Can we also buy the ticket at another ferryboat dock?

Thanks and Regards,
Samia

Reply

Erlend Geerts February 27, 2014 at 10:35 am

Hi Samia,

If it were summertime, then you could do that indeed. But in winter there is only one full trip, so don’t get off.

You can take the boat from Beşiktaş too. Follow the links in the article for the official timetables.

Kind regards,
Erlend

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Arif March 5, 2014 at 2:16 pm

Hi,
Wow this is a great article and I am glad I stumbled upon it. My parents are travelling in April and staying at Sultanamet. Please advise how they can reach the ticket office at Eminönü? I hear Taxis can swindle and over charge. Is this true. What is the expected fare from Blue mosque? Can they take a bus or tram? Appreciate your help mate.

Reply

Erlend Geerts March 6, 2014 at 5:24 pm

Hi Arif,

Yes, the easiest way to reach Eminönü from Sultanahmet is either on foot (just walk down the hill) or take the tram and get off in Eminönü. The ticket office is almost right across the tram stop.

Kind regards,
Erlend

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Manu March 9, 2014 at 12:24 am

Hi Erlend,

The April timetable for the full Bosphorus Cruise shows arrival at Sariyer at 11.50. Could I take a taxi from Sariyer to Ataturk Aiport and be sure to get there in time to check in (hand luggage only) for a flight leaving at 15.25? I would probably do the trip on a Saturday.

Thanks and regards
Manu

Reply

Erlend Geerts March 9, 2014 at 7:03 pm

Hi Manu,

Of course you can, but it will cost you a small fortune.

Kind regards,
Erlend

Reply

Manu March 10, 2014 at 1:11 am

Hi Erlend,

What’s a small fortune? Would TL75/$35 be about right?

What about alternatives, for instance taxi from Sariyer to Haciosman and then Metro?

Thanks in advance for your useful advice.

Regards

Manu

Reply

Erlend Geerts March 10, 2014 at 8:48 pm

Hi Manu,

More like 150 TL. I really wouldn’t take the risk, traffic is really unpredictable. A ride can take 20 minutes one day, and 2 hours the next. A bit exaggerating here, but you get the picture. We’re not talking about being late for dinner, but about catching a plane.

Erlend

Reply

Manu March 11, 2014 at 4:12 pm

Hi Erlend,

I read on-line that the M1 Havalimani –Aksaray Metro line was due to be extended to Yenikapi by late 2013 and the M2 Haciosman – Sishane line was also due to be extended to Yenikapi by the end of 2013. Have those deadlines been met? Is it now possible to travel by Metro from Haciosman to Yenikapi and from Yenikapi to Havalimani?

Manu

Natasha April 1, 2014 at 12:32 pm

Thanks for this great article. It had all the information I needed to know about the Bosphorus Tours that we hope to take next week while in Istanbul! We are really looking forward to our 1st trip to Turkey. We will travel to Cappadocia for the 1st part of the week and then spend some time in Istanbul. I’ve heard so many wonderful things about the country, I can’t wait to see it all for myself!

Natasha

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Leo Tiernan April 6, 2014 at 1:51 pm

Hi

My self and a friend will be in Istanbul in August for a weekend. While we are there we would like to do the full Bosphorus Tour by Night. Unfortunately my friend does not eat fish. Are there other alternative places that you could recommend at Anadolu Kavağı where we could eat?

Many Thanks
Leo

Reply

Erlend Geerts April 7, 2014 at 12:25 pm

Hi Leo,

Some restaurants also serve meat dishes, so nothing to worry about.

Kind regards,
Erlend

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Micky Lapid April 9, 2014 at 11:17 am

Dear Erlend,
First- thank for your website. It is very helpful.
We shall be in Istanbul 8-11.5.14. The full Bosphorus cruize has only one round trip at that time. That means that we shall need to stay at the north end for 3 hours. Is there so much to see there ecxept lunch ? Is it worth spending almost 1 full day (out of 3.5) or better take the short trip ?
Micky

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Erlend Geerts April 9, 2014 at 4:39 pm

Hi Micky,

In that case I would go for the small tour. But, by May the summer schedule may have kicked in, so check their site one more time before you leave.

Kind regards,
Erlend

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Iris Pavlov April 13, 2014 at 10:04 pm

Thank you!!! This saved us so much…

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Erlend Geerts March 11, 2014 at 5:26 pm

Hi Manu,

According to the official website, the M1 has not been extended to Yenikapi yet.

Erlend

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