Istanbul Boat Cruises

Bosphorus from Asian side on a foggy day

Needless to say Istanbul is one of the most romantic towns in the world, especially if you do the city by boat.

A starter is a Bosphorus Cruise if you have not done it yet. The cruise with the regular Istanbul municipality ferry which starts in Eminonu ends in Anadolu Kavagi where you can have lunch, and even a short trek above the small fishing village to the Genoese Castle overlooking the Black sea and the Bosphorus. The vistas are wonderful, in a blue sea extending over to Odessa, Ukraine. You will ships going to Black sea countries like small whitish dots on the blue of the sea. And if you turn around you will see the straight of Bosphorus in all its grandeur lying to your south.

Eat fried mussle sandwitch if you are into seafood especially good during winter and spring time. Do the bargaining for the fish before you enter any fish restaurant.

You can also visit beautiful Prince's islands, the biggest and the most beautiful being Buyukada (Big Island). Since traffic is not allowed on the island you can do a horse buggy ride, you should negotitate the fare before doing a tour. There are two types of tours, big and the small. Here too the speciality is fish. There are also fried mussle shops and ice cream parlors.

There are two types of ferries in Istanbul. The ones that are typical to Istanbul are the landmark boats whose design is taken after the British boats built for Constatinople and that design although has evolved the look is the similar. The second type are Australian designed ferries that are called Seabuses that look like airplanes on sea once inside.

The major difference is the outer passenger space of the former traditional ferries. They do have many areas on the sides, at the top and at the back of the boat that would give you the ability to travel outside like in a cruiseship and feel the breeze, take pictures, hear the waves and feed the seagulls with simits, a typical Turkish fun. You will see seagulls following the boat at the same speed as the boats for a while so they will look as if they are hanged from the sky by some invisible cord.

You can instead of the ferry take a private boat tour but they do not go that far in the Bosphorus hence the trip is shorter. However a private boat trip at night is advised as Istanbul has gotten more beautiful due great lighting of many landmark buildings on the water.

An important note: you cannot charter a boat to cruise from Istanbul to Southern coast. You need take a ferry that departs on Fridays to Izmir and then onto Bodrum. It is not time efficent but if you like sea travel that could be a good trip to a southern Turkish resort. You can charter a gulet once at Bodrum or coastal towns in Southern Aegean.

Also check Ferries from Istanbul to other cities and countries, or back to Istanbul Travel Guide.