Istanbul Bosphorus Cruises & Boat Tours (No Frills 2020 Guide with Tickets & Insider Advice)

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Istanbul Bosphorus Cruise is one of the most popular, unique and fantastic forms of entertainment on your Istanbul visit. It is also one of the best ways to discover and enjoy the most beautiful sights and sounds of the city over the sea.


By taking a public ferry, private boat or yacht, you’ll enjoy spectacular views of historical sites, including Ottoman palaces, fortresses, museums, and the stunning bridges, and soak up the atmosphere along the city’s European and Asian shores.

Istanbul Bosphorus Cruises & Boat Tours (No Frills 2020 Guide with Tickets & Insider Advice)

Typical Bosphorus Cruises are made by Public Ferries (Sehir Hatlari) or by Private Boats & Yachts.

If you want a proper cruise, than you can find range of boat tours departing from the main docks mostly located in Eminonu, Kabatas and Besiktas piers, or you can take private boat/yacht tours. Typical Bosphorus cruises go for about two hours.


Bosphorus Cruises by Public Ferries

* This is the most common option for the ones who want to explore Bosphorus like a local.


* The sea transportation of Istanbul is mostly made by the Public Ferries (Sehir Hatlari in Turkish), and it is the most easiest, cheapest and the most pleasant way to travel up, down and across the Bosphorus.

Istanbul Bosphorus Cruises & Boat Tours (No Frills 2020 Guide with Tickets & Insider Advice)

* There are ten main ferry docks that include; Karakoy, Kabatas, Besiktas and in Eminonu on the European side; Uskudar and Kadikoy on the Asian side.

* Istanbul’s Public Ferries has two main lines that include; Domestic Trips and Bosphorus Tours. They operate every 15-20 minutes until 23:00 pm.

Insider Tip: Note that Istanbul’s public ferries (inner city lines) are in high use with the locals. And we don’t recommend you take them for a Bosphorus sightseeing tour. You’ll face a huge crowd of locals at the piers. Especially at the rush hours. We recommend you take the Bosphorus tours lines of the Public ferries (see below) for sightseeing.

Domestic Trips

* This is not a proper Boshorus Cruise, it is the common sea transportation in between the districts of Istanbul and used with the locals.

* This can be an option for a quick cruise in the Bosphorus.


* Price vary from one way 4 TL to 5,50 TL with the lines.

* You’ll need IstanbulKart to pay.

Inner Istanbul Ferry Lines: Kadikoy – Eminonu ; Karakoy – Kadikoy ; Uskudar – Eminonu; Kadikoy – Besiktas ; Golden Horn Line ; Bostanci – Karakoy – Kabatas

Bosphorus Ferry Lines: Sariyer – Anadolu Kavagi – Rumeli Kavagi ; Kucuksu – Besıktas – Kabatas ; Cengelkoy – Istınye ; Kadikoy – Sariyer ; Anadolu Kavağı – Uskudar ; Uskudar – Ortakoy ; Rumeli Kavagi – Eminonu ; Istinye – Cubuklu ; Kucuksu – Istinye

Princes’ Islands Ferry Lines: Kabatas – Eminonu – Kadikoy – Adalar ; Bostanci – Adalar ; Besiktas – Kınalıada – Burgazada ; Besiktas – Heybeliada – Büyükada ; Bostanci – Adalar ; Eminonu – Kadikoy – Adalar

Check sehirhatlari.istanbul for all above routes, timetables and prices.

Bosphorus Tours

Bosphorus Tours by Public Ferries are divided into two lines that include; Short Circle Bosphorus Tour and Long Circle Bosphorus Tour.

Istanbul Bosphorus Cruises & Boat Tours (No Frills 2020 Guide with Tickets & Insider Advice)

Short Circle Bosphorus Tour (2 hours)

* This is a round-trip that operates every day from the Eminonu Pier at 14.35 pm. and goes for Uskudar and Ortakoy Piers in order.

* And comes back from Ortakoy and Uskudar Piers to Eminonu Pier at 16.35.

Duration: 2 hours

Ticket Price: round-trip 12 TL (adults), 6 TL (children under 12).

Long Circle Bosphorus Tour (6 hours)

* This a round-trip that operates every day from the Eminonu Pier at 10.35 am. and goes for Besiktas, Uskudar, Kanlica, Sariyer, Rumelikavagi and Anadolu Kavagi Piers in order.

* Ferry arrives to Anadolu Kavagi Pier about 12.25 pm. and gives a break here until 15.00 pm. You’ll have free time for strolling around the neighborhood, and have a lunch.

* Ferry leaves the Anadolu Kavagi Pier following at 15:00 pm. and following the Rumelikavagi, Sariyer, Kanlica, Uskudar and Besiktas Piers in order, finally ends the tour at Eminonu Pier at 16:40 pm.

Duration: 6 hours

Ticket Price: round-trip 25 TL – one way 15 TL (adults), round-trip 12,50 TL – one way 6 TL (children under 12)

Check sehirhatlari.istanbul for all above routes, timetables and prices.


Bosphorus Cruises by Private Boats

Typical Bosphorus cruise goes for about two hours. There are variety of companies making Bosphorus cruises. Travelers who want to travel on a shoestring can board one of the passenger boats that regularly zigzag along the shores. You may also celebrate your special days like birthdays, meetings or any kind of organizations at the Bosphorus Cruises.

Istanbul Bosphorus Cruise with Dinner and Entertainment, Private Bosphorus Yacht Tour, or Morning/Afternoon/Half day Bosphorus Cruises are some these themed Bosphorus cruises. You can see and book them below and pick the best one that suits your needs.

There are also variety of guided Istanbul city tours that offer Bosphorus Cruises on their schedule. You can see and book them below and pick the best one that suits your needs.

Where to take the boat and buy tickets?

There are several options:

  • Buy directly at the pier on location.
  • Buy tickets online.

We recommend you buy tickets online, as you’ll have an open ticket you can use any time you want, get a free map, several treats, as well as fast track entry to the boats.

Hop-On Hop-Off Bosphorus Tour

* This is a good option for the ones who want to explore the city’s popular districts while having a Bosphorus cruise and to have the opportunity to come back to the starting point of your trip.

* You’ll be able to explore the city at your own pace on board of this Hop-On Hop-Off Boshphorus sightseeing boat, and enjoy all the famous landmarks on the Boshphorus such as Dolmabahce Palace, Ortakoy Mosque, Rumeli Fortress, Maiden’s Tower and the Bosphorus Bridge.

* We recommend the below boat tours.

Hop-on Hop-off Bosphorus Boat Tour

Istanbul Bosphorus Cruises & Boat Tours (No Frills 2020 Guide with Tickets & Insider Advice)

Offered by Istanbul Welcome Card (IWC).

Includes: 1 day Hop-On Hop-Off Ticket, Bosphorus Tour Map

Departure: Kabatas pier (see location map)

Available Hours and Days: daily at 11:45, 12:45, 13:45, 14:45 and 15:45

Hop-on Hop-off Stops: Kabatas (starting point), Emirgan, Kucuksu, Beylerbeyi, Besiktas, and back to Kabatas

Tour Duration: You can hop on and off as many times as you like. Your ticket will be valid for the whole day. If you never leave the boat, the round trip will take about 100 mins.

Ticket Price: €12 (our website visitors will get 5% discount)

Rebooking & Cancellation: You have missed your meeting time? No problem, you can come to our next meeting time or day. You want to cancel? No problem, you can cancel your reservation anytime and get your refund.

Buy Hop-on Hop-off Bosphorus Tour Ticket – with 5% discount 


Popular Bosphorus Boat Tours

* This is one of the most popular ones with the tourists. It’s kinda self guided, easy and a cheap way to enjoy Bosphorus.

* You’ll be able to see city’s beautiful sights such as Golden Horn, Galata Tower, Dolmabahce Palace, Ciragan Palace, Ortakoy Mosque, Bosphorus Bridge, Beylerbeyi Palace, Uskudar, Maiden’s Tower, Topkapi Palace and Hagia Sophia while having a wonderful Bosphorus cruise.

* We recommend the below boat tours.

Combo: Dolmabahce Palace Guided + Bosphorus Hop-On Hop-Off Boat

This is offered by Istanbul Welcome Card and we highly recommend. You’ll both have a great Bosphorus tour and visit Dolmabahce Palace. You’ll see all the famous landmarks on the Boshphorus, not only Dolmabahce Palace but also Beylerbeyi Palace, Historical Mansions, Ortakoy Mosque, Rumeli Fortress, Maiden’s Tower and the Bosphorus Bridge.

A great opportunity for the ones staying at the Sultanahmet or Taksim hotels as you’ll not need a transfer. From Kabatas you can take the funicular get back to your hotel in to Taksim or the tram to Sultanahmet.

Istanbul Bosphorus Cruises & Boat Tours (No Frills 2020 Guide with Tickets & Insider Advice)Includes:

  • 1 day Hop-On Hop-Off Ticket
  • Bosphorus Tour Map
  • Dolmabahce Palace VIP skip the line ticket
  • Certified Guiding service in English for the Palace
  • Audio Guide for Dolmabahce Palace

Ticket price: €25

Tour Duration: Dolmabahce Palace visit takes about 90 minutes. Then you take the Hop on and Hop off boat tour as many times as you like. Your Bosphorus boat tour ticket will be valid for the whole day. If you never leave the boat, the round trip will take about 100 minutes from the start to the finish.

The Hop-On Hop-Off Stops: Kabatas (starting point), Kucuksu, Beylerbeyi, Besiktas, back to Kabatas (ending point).

Dolmabahce Palace Meeting Hours: daily at 09:00 am and 10:00 am, except Mondays

Hop-On Hop-Off Boat time schedule: daily at 11:45, 12:45, 13:45, 14:45 and 15:45

Rebooking & Cancellation Policy: You have missed your meeting time? No problem, you can come to our next meeting time or day. You want to cancel? No problem, you can cancel your reservation anytime and get your refund.

Combo: Dolmabahce Palace Guided Tour + Bosphorus Hop-On Hop-Off Boat


90-Minute Bosphorus Boat Tour (from Eminonu pier)

Istanbul Bosphorus Cruises & Boat Tours (No Frills 2020 Guide with Tickets & Insider Advice)

Offered by Istanbul Welcome Card (IWC).

Departure: Eminonu pier

Includes: Ticket for 90 min. Bosphorus Boat Tour, Meet & Greet by Marine Officer, Skip the ticket lines at the pier, Free Internet on Pier, Bosphorus Tour Map, Coffee or Tea

Available Hours and Days: daily every hour between 09:00 – 18:00

How it works?

Istanbul Bosphorus Cruises & Boat Tours (No Frills 2020 Guide with Tickets & Insider Advice)

* You’ll see a separate stand and reception with the red label for the Istanbul Welcome Card (IWC) at the Eminonu Pier, where The Marine Officer will meet you there.

* You’ll just show your confirmation email to the IWC Marine Officer will take you directly to the boat (without waiting in the queue).

* You’ll just sit back and enjoy the beautiful views of the Bosphorus, with bridges, palaces, fortresses, seaside residences and many other historical places. There’ll be free WiFi at the dock.

* You should sit on the top deck to get the best views.

Tour Duration: 90 mins.

Ticket Price: €10 (our website visitors will get 5% discount)

Rebooking & Cancellation: You have missed your meeting time? No problem, you can come to our next meeting time or day. You want to cancel? No problem, you can cancel your reservation anytime and get your refund.

Buy 90-Minute Bosphorus Boat Tour – with 5% discount 


120-Minute Golden Horn & Bosphorus Boat Tour

Istanbul Bosphorus Cruises & Boat Tours (No Frills 2020 Guide with Tickets & Insider Advice)

Offered by Istanbul Welcome Card (IWC).

Departure: Eminonu pier

Includes: 120 minute boat tour, English speaking tour guide that will lead you from Sultanahmet to the boat.

Available Hours and Days: daily at 12:30 pm., 16:00 pm. and 19:00 pm.

How it works?

Istanbul Bosphorus Cruises & Boat Tours (No Frills 2020 Guide with Tickets & Insider Advice)* Meet your guide with the Grand Boat Line sign in his hand in front of the kiosk opposite the Hagia Sophia. Show your confirmation email.

* Walk about 15 mins. together with the guide down to the Eminonu pier and start your boat tour.

Tour Duration: 120 mins.

Ticket Price: €12 (our website visitors will get 5% discount)

Rebooking & Cancellation: You have missed your meeting time? No problem, you can come to our next meeting time or day. You want to cancel? No problem, you can cancel your reservation anytime and get your refund.

Buy 120-Minute Golden Horn & Bosphorus Boat Tour – with 5% discount 


Alternative Bosphorus Boat Tours & Buying Channels


Bosphorus Dinner Cruise with Entertainment

* This is also one of the most popular one with the tourists. Mostly preferred with the tourists who want to experience a unique attraction specific to Istanbul.

* While you cruise along Bosphorus and enjoy your meal, you’ll be entertained by traditional belly dancing, a henna ceremony, a Romany dance, folk dancing, a live DJ, etc.

Istanbul Bosphorus Cruises & Boat Tours (No Frills 2020 Guide with Tickets & Insider Advice)

* You’ll be able to see city’s historical sites, including Ottoman palaces, and stunning bridges illuminated by night.

* Please check the Bosphorus Dinner Cruises on our detailed page, where you can find the comparisons and reviews of the several Istanbul Bosphorus dinner cruises with entertainment available to you.

Bosphorus Dinner Cruise with Entertainment Guide


Alternative Dinner Cruises & Buying Channels


Private Bosphorus Cruise with a Luxury Yacht

With private yachts, you may enjoy an exclusive sightseeing experience on the Bosphorus from the private deck of your yacht on a 2-hour private cruise past some of Istanbul’s most famous sites. You’ll admire the beautiful scenery with 360 degree views from the spacious upper fly-bridge, or enjoy relaxing in comfort on the sun deck or in the comfortable outdoor and indoor lounges.

During the cruise, you’ll just sit back and unwind as you enjoy a cup of tea, coffee or water which are available on request (free of charge) or enjoy sipping an alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage or cocktail from our on-board bar (purchase required).


Go Fire Up Us in the Comments Below

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1 COMMENT

  1. Amazing experience, you can admire most of historical buildings and monuments during your cruise in Bosphorus. They also offer application for Android to guide you about what you see around. It’s better to prefer the latest itinerary so to enjoy the sunset.

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