2021 Top 11 Bosphorus Cruise & Boat Tours Istanbul (Guide with Advice)

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

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. We put together what kind of cruises & boat tours available, what you should expect with the best boat tours details.


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What to Expect?

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.

2021 Top 11 Bosphorus Cruise & Boat Tours Istanbul (Guide with Advice)

Typical Bosphorus Cruises are made by Public Ferries (Sehir Hatlari) or by Private Boats & Yachts. They go for about two hours. There are variety of companies. 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.

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 Dinner Cruise with entertainment 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.


Top 11 Bosphorus Cruises & Boat Tours

Istanbul Bosphorus Cruise with Dinner and Entertainment, Private Bosphorus Yacht Tour, or Morning/Afternoon/Half day / Sunset Bosphorus Cruises are the most common and popular themed Bosphorus cruises with the majority of the first-time visitors in the city. Below you’ll see our pick (as insiders) of probably the best ones in the city and book them below the best one that suits your needs.

1. Bosphorus Luxury Yacht Tour (Highly Recommended)

This is a fantastic new yacht cruise made on a luxury yacht for small groups (max. 15 people) with very affordable prices. You can take it at noon or at sunset for 2 hours. We highly recommend this cruise as you’ll feel yourself very special in this private chartered luxury yacht. Offered by Istanbul Welcome Card (IWC).

Highlights:

  • Cruise up and down the Bosphorus, passing the iconic palaces and historical sites
  • Get a closer look at famous landmarks such as Dolmabahce Palace, Ortaköy Mosque, Bosphorus Bridge and the Maiden Tower
  • A licensed and knowledgeable guide will share with you the stories and facts which accompany the many sites you pass
  • Enjoy an intimate trip as group sizes are limited to 15 people
  • Capture the best photos with a sparkling Bosphorus backdrop
  • Relax and enjoy the sunshine and/or sunset with a glass of wine, Turkish snacks and drinks
  • Admire the beautiful views from the deck of a gorgeous private yacht

Includes: Glass of Wine, Fruits and Snacks, Unlimited Coffee, Tea and Soft Drinks, English Speaking Local Expert Guide, Free WiFi on Yacht

Departure: Kabatas pier (see location map)

Tour Times: daily at noon between 12:00am – 14:00pm and at sunset between 18:30pm – 20:30pm


Ticket Price: €44 (our website visitors will get 5% discount)

Book Bosphorus Luxury Yacht Tour with 5% discount


2. Bosphorus Dinner Cruise with Entertainment

This is offered by IWC and we highly recommend. You’ll both have a great 3 hours orient Bosphorus Dinner Cruise on one of the biggest and most luxurious ships, appreciate delicious starters, dinner and dessert, and have a great night out while watching the variety of fantastic shows.

You’ll also witness Istanbul’s magic at night by catching the breathtaking views of some of the top Istanbul attractions like the Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque, Dolmabahce Palace, Beylerbeyi Palace, Maiden’s Tower and Bosphorus Bridge.

Highlights: Big and Luxurious Cruise Boat, unlimited local soft drinks, dinner, unlimited alcoholic drinks (local beer and wine), See 6 Different Shows, Belly Dance

Show Program: Welcome by an Ottoman Military Ensemble – Sufi and Alevi Dans Performance – Dance of the Odalisques – Dagger Dance – Oriental Belly Dance Show – Rhythm & Light Show – Folklore Dances

Cruise duration: 3 hours

Available days and hours: daily at 20:00

Meeting point: Kabatas Dentur Avrasya Pier (see location map)


Ticket Price: €50 (our website visitors will get 5% discount)

Book Bosphorus Dinner Cruise with Entertainment with 5% discount


3. Maiden’s Tower Ferry Line

This is offered by IWC and we highly recommend. This is a rare and unique tour made to the Maiden’s Tower by a yacht with 1-hour cruise along Bosphorus. You’ll witness the beauty of the one of the best Instagram spots of the city very closely, and capture lifetime memories with unique photos.

2021 Top 11 Bosphorus Cruise & Boat Tours Istanbul (Guide with Advice)

Highlights: Get a closer look on the Maiden Tower, enjoy a relaxing 1-hour yacht tour, see iconic landmarks such as Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque and Golden Horn, enjoy a coffee or tea on board

Cruise duration: 1 hour

Meeting point: Kabatas Dentur Avrasya Pier (see location map)

Ticket Price: €15 (our website visitors will get 5% discount)

Book Maiden’s Tower Ferry Line with 5% discount


4. Hop On Hop Off Bosphorus Ticket & Audio Guide

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.

2021 Top 11 Bosphorus Cruise & Boat Tours Istanbul (Guide with Advice)

Offered by Istanbul Welcome Card (IWC).

Includes: 1 day Hop On Hop Off Ticket, Bosphorus Tour Map, Audio Guide App for your Smartphone in 10 Languages: English, German, French, Russian, Italian, Polish, Arabic, Chinese, Turkish

Departure: Kabatas pier (see location map)

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)

Book Hop-on Hop-off Bosphorus Tour with 5% discount


5. 90 Minute Istanbul Bosphorus Cruise & Audio Guide

This is another top selling cruise that you’ll be able to explore the Bosphorus, enjoy the city’s landmarks, historical palaces, fortresses, capture amazing photos with this very economic boat tour.

2021 Top 11 Bosphorus Cruise & Boat Tours Istanbul (Guide with Advice)

Offered by Istanbul Welcome Card (IWC).

Departure: Kabatas pier (see location map)

Includes: Ticket for 90 minute Bosphorus Cruise, Meet & Greet by Marine Officer, Bosphorus Map, One Water or Juice, Free WiFi on Pier, Audio Guide in 10 Languages for your own Smartphone: English, German, French, Russian, Italian, Polish, Arabic, Chinese, Turkish

Departure times: every hour

How it works?

  • You’ll see the wooden DENTUR stand of IWC with lots of red labels at the Kabatas 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.

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

Book 90-Minute Bosphorus Boat Tour with 5% discount


6. 2 Hour Golden Horn & Bosphorus Boat Tour

2021 Top 11 Bosphorus Cruise & Boat Tours Istanbul (Guide with 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.

How it works?

  • 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: €15 (our website visitors will get 5% discount)

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


7. Round-Trip Ticket for Princes’ Island Ferry & Audio Guide

Offered by Istanbul Welcome Card (IWC).

You’ll have about 75 minutes ferry ride to the Princes’ Island, the Buyukada. While you have a fantastic Bosphorus ride, you can admire the beautiful skyline of Istanbul at the open air deck, enjoy refreshments from the kiosk or listen to the stories about the Bosphorus from the audio guide app on your smartphone.

2021 Top 11 Bosphorus Cruise & Boat Tours Istanbul (Guide with Advice)

Departure: Kabatas pier (see location map)

Includes: Round-Trip ticket to the Princes’ Island, Fast track entry on boat from the online ticket window, Bosphorus audio guide app for IOS and Android in 10 languages: English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Russian, Spanish, Turkish, Arabic, Chinese

Princes’ Island Ferry Departure Times:

  • Departure times are 10:40 AM and 13:40 PM
  • Return times from Princes’ Island is every hour
  • Return times from Princes’ Island 14:30 PM, 15:30 PM and 17:00 PM

How it works?

* You’ll see the wooden DENTUR stand of IWC with lots of red labels at the Kabatas 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 your cruise to Princes’ Islands.

Ticket Price: €8 (our website visitors will get 5% discount)

Book Round-Trip Ticket for Princes’ Island Ferry & Audio Guide with 5% discount


8. Bosphorus Sunset Cruise

2,5 hours Bosphorus Sunset Cruise by Luxury Yacht

Offered by Acetes Travel

Bosphorus sunset cruise will be an amazing experience for you. It is the best view you can see for a photoshoot. You breathe in the middle of Bosphorus and you can see palaces villas and historical areas. While you are watching the sunset with a Bosphorus view you can drink traditional Turkish drinks.

2021 Top 11 Bosphorus Cruise & Boat Tours Istanbul (Guide with Advice)

Free Services in this Activity

  • Food & Drinks: Snacks served aboard, Complimentary drink. (cookie, baklava, tea, coffe)
  • Live Tour Guide: Certified Live Tour Guide, English
  • Pickup included: Hotel Pick-Up / Hotel Drop-off (from centrally located hotels)
  • Sightseeing: Top landmarks of Istanbul Bosphorus (Asia and Europe sides)

Departure Time: before sunset
Duration: about 2,5 hours

Book Bosphorus Sunset Cruise by a Luxry Yacht


9. Bosphorus Tours by Public Ferries

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

2021 Top 11 Bosphorus Cruise & Boat Tours Istanbul (Guide with Advice)

Short Circle Bosphorus Tour

This is a round-trip that operates every day from the Eminonu Pier and goes for Uskudar and Ortakoy Piers in order. And comes back from Ortakoy and Uskudar Piers to Eminonu Pier. It takes about 2 hours.

Long Circle Bosphorus Tour

This a 6 hours round-trip that operates every day from the Eminonu Pier around 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.

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


10. 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.

2021 Top 11 Bosphorus Cruise & Boat Tours Istanbul (Guide with Advice)

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).

* Also 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.

Istanbul Private Bosphorus Yacht Cruise Guide


11. Private Luxury Yacht Cruise to Princes’ Islands

With a private luxury yacht, you can enjoy an exclusive sightseeing experience along the Princes’ Islands.

2021 Top 11 Bosphorus Cruise & Boat Tours Istanbul (Guide with Advice)

Upon your arrival to one of the Princes’ Islands, you’ll have about 3 to 5 hours leisure time. You can have a great day out at the Princes’ Islands by taking self guided walking tour or tour of the island with Electric Vehicle or bike, enjoy the beaches, visit Aya Yorgi Church (the Church of St. George), visit the Islands’ Museum and dine at the fish restaurants by the shore.

Private Luxury Yacht Cruise to Princes’ Islands


Bosphorus Cruises FAQs

What are the Bosphorus cruise options?

  • Public Ferries (Sehir Hatlari in Turkish): This is the easiest and cheapest way to travel up, down and across the Bosphorus. Just make sure don't be caught in rush ours as hundreds of locals will be using public ferries.
  • Private Boats: These are both good value for money and easy option for a good cruise along Bosphorus. You can find them at the piers in Eminonu, Kabatas and Besiktas.
  • Dinner or Sunset Cruise with Boats/Yachts: This is another popular option with the tourists. During the cruise , you’ll enjoy a full program of entertainment, such as Turkish classical music, belly dancing, a whirling dervish show, folkloric shows, an international singer, and an on-board DJ.
  • Private Yachts: These are luxury ones and good for the ones who would like a private cruise along Bosphorus and admire all the city's beautiful sights.

What are the Boshorus tours made by Public Ferries?

Istanbul’s Public Ferries has two main lines that include; Domestic Trips and Bosphorus Tours. Bosphorus Tours by Public Ferries are divided into two lines that include;

  • 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.
  • 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. And than comes back to Eminonu Pier at 16:40 pm.

What is Bosphorus Dinner Cruise with Entertainment?

This is the most popular Bosphorus cruises. You’ll also witness Istanbul’s magic at night by catching the breathtaking views of some of the top Istanbul attractions like the Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque, Dolmabahce Palace, Beylerbeyi Palace, Maiden’s Tower and Bosphorus Bridge.

During your Bosphorus Dinner Cruise, you’ll enjoy a full program of entertainment, such as Turkish classical music, belly dancing, a whirling dervish show, folkloric shows, an international singer, and an on-board DJ.

How much does a Bosphorus dinner cruise cost?

Typical Istanbul Bosphorus Dinner Cruise with entertainment, plus quality service cost about €50. This is a good price and value for money.

The price includes about 3 hours Bosphorus cruise, hotel pick-up and drop off service, unlimited local soft drinks, dinner, unlimited alcoholic drinks (local beer and wine), entertainment with many shows such as Turkish classical music, belly dancing, a whirling dervish show, folkloric shows, an international singer, and an on-board DJ.

Where do Bosphorus dinner cruise boats depart?

Majority of the Bosphorus dinner cruise boats depart from the Kabatas pier, within easy access by public transportation. You can take tram from Sultanahmet (20 mins), Karakoy and Galata (10 mins), take funicular from Taksim (5 mins), walk 15 mins or take any bus to Kabatas from Besiktas.

How long is the Bosphorus dinner cruise?

Typical Bosphorus dinner cruise starts about 20:00 pm. and goes for about 3 or 3,5 hours till 23:00/23:30 pm.

How much does a private Bosphorus yacht cruise cost?

Average cost of a crewed private Bosphorus cruise on a luxury yacht costs about €350 per group up to around 8 people. The price mostly includes about 2-hour private yacht tour, complimentary soft drinks and snacks, all taxes, private licensed tour guide, and hotel pick-up and drop-off service with a private van

How to book a private yacht in Istanbul?

You can book a private yacht via your travel agent, by yourself from the Kabatas, Besiktas and Eminonu piers, or by booking online. You can search all the best private Bosphorus yacht cruises online via our website or many online tour booking websites, read what they offer and traveler comments, and decide the one that best suits your needs. Many of the online bookings come with free transportation service from your hotel.




8 COMMENTS

  1. Bosphorus tour we enjoyed it very much me and my kids loved it. I have also booked other excursions with Istanbul welcome card very trust worthy company I recommend to everyone.

  2. This tour should be on your must do list in istanbul.! It’s beautiful I recommend this Bosphorus Tour 100% to everyone.! Note: don’t forgot to download your Bosphorus audio guide for acknowledge.

  3. A nice opportunity to see Istanbul from the sea. The boat was large and quite comfortable. The weather conditions were wintry so we couldn’t sit outside but the windows were large so it was easy to enjoy the views. As soon as we sat down in the salon a waiter appeared and served us toast and hot milk. He didn’t inform us that we later would have to pay for it. For about half of the cruise we thought that the snacks and drinks we were served were complimentary. We were quite surprised when the same waiter showed up with a bill after about 40 minutes. Fortunately it wasn’t very expensive. :)

  4. 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.

  5. Overall this is a great concept, we loved the concept. Hop on Hop off a series of boat (ferry) rides. !! Great view, lovely feel of the Boshorus straight, going under the bridges, etc. You can experience Cold chilly wind, so be prepared for that. We did not hop-off at all locations, but we did the Garden and the Palace and both were worth doing it (even though the entry ticket to the palace is a little steep). We face problems in communicating with the staff on the ferry, they did no know English. On the ticket you will find timings for pick-ups at each stop; however it seemed like they had 1 or may be 2 extra rises doing the rounds on that day and we really tried hard to establish the time of the last ride but could not get clarity, as a result we had to cut short the last part of our journey just to be safe. On the whole, this was really good value for money.

  6. As with every city or destination with an ocean front, the view from the water shows you a totally different physiognomy of Istanbul. Embark form Europe and being able to disembark in Asia is a very unique experience. If you have the time, is a must.

  7. Отличная прогулка на корабле, с возможностью высадки, прогулки и загрузки на следующей рейс. Расписание на билетах. Мы решили просто покататься. Еда за ваш счёт. Делают фото. На корабле будет голосовой путеводитель на турецком и английском, не волнуйтесь, если не знаете языка, все равно ничего не поймёте, сплошная каша. Это единственный минус. Просто расслабьтесь и наслаждайтесь видами и проливом.

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