Istanbul's 34 big traditional passenger ferryboats, operated since 2010 by Istanbul Şehir Hatları ("Istanbul City Routes"), serve 45 docks throughout the metropolis. Information on fares(excluding the Bosphorus Cruises) is here. More...
Şehir Hatları apps are available for Apple and Android phones and tablets from the relevant app stores.
Here are the most important services:
Ferries depart each dock every 20 minutes from about 07:00 am until about 20:40 (8:40 pm) every day on the 35-minute voyage.
Ferries depart each dock every 20 minutes from about 06:30 am until about 22:30 (10:30 pm) every day on the 25-minute voyage. On Sundays and holidays, first departures are after 07:00 am.
Ferries depart each dock every 20 minutes from about 06:30 am until midnight 01:00 (1:00 am) on the 30-minute voyage.
Historic Haydarpaşa Station, is not currently in use as a train station, so there is no regular service to the beautiful antique dock in front of the station, although TurYol and Dentur Avrasyaferries may be serving the station. Otherwise, take a ferry to nearby Kadıköy.
On workdays, four voyages depart Bostancı in the morning and one in the evening; two depart Karaköy in the morning and three in the evening.
Departures every 30 minutes at 15 minutes past the hour and before the hour, from 07:15 am until at least 21:15 (9:15 pm), on the 40-minute voyage. First voyages are earlier on weekdays.
Two commuter boats on workdays depart in early morning from Küçüksu, in the evening from Beşiktaş, with one morning boat from Beşiktaş and one evening boat from Küçüksu.
On weekdays only, eight voyages operate in each direction between Üsküdar and Beykoz on the Bosphorus, stopping at the Asian-shore villages Beylerbeyi, Çengelköy, Anadolu Hisarı, Kanlıca, Çubuklu and Paşabahçe. Three of these voyages—morning, early afternoon and late afternoon—continue beyond Beykoz to Anadolu Kavağı. The voyage all the way takes 100 minutes—just over 1-1/2 hours), and can be used as a Bosphorus cruise: depart Üsküdar at 11:45 am, arrive Anadolu Kavağı at 13:20 (1:20 pm); depart Anadolu Kavağı at 14:30 or 16:00 (2:30 pm or 4:00 pm) and arrive back in Üsküdar at 16:05 or 19:00 (4:05 pm or 7:00 pm). (See also the Eminönü-Sarıyer-Rumeli Kavağı voyages below.)
On weekdays only, up to 12 voyages operate between Eminönüand Sarıyer on the European shore of the Bosphorus. Three voyages in each direction serve Rumeli Kavağı as well. All stops (except for Eminönü) are on the European shore: Beşiktaş, Arnavutköy, Emirgan, İstinye, Sarıyer and Rumeli Kavağı. These voyages can be used as Bosphorus cruises, though on weekdays only (no voyages on weekends or holidays), and they do not stop at Anadolu Kavağı, so you'd have to make other arrangements if you want to see the Yoros Kalesi fortress. Board the 11:00 am boat at Eminönü and you reach Sarıyer at 12:15 pm. Have a quick bite and a look around, board the southbound ferry at 13:00 (1:00 pm), and you'll be back at Eminönü by 16:05 (4:05 pm).
İstinye-Çubuklu Car Ferry
Car ferries cross the Bosphorus between İstinye and Çubuklu every 20 minutes (every 30 minutes on Sunday) starting at 07:00 am (08:00 am on Saturday, 09:00 am on Sunday), with the last voyage at 21:00 (9:00 pm) every day. Foot passengers are carried as well—you don't have to ship a car.
These "ring voyages" depart Sarıyer 13 times daily for Anadolu Kavağı, with six voyages stopping at Rumeli Kavağı on the way, on the 10- or 20-minute voyage. Most voyages are in the morning and evening, with midday voyages from Sarıyer only at 10:30, 13:30 (1:30 pm) and 15:40 (3:40 pm).
Istanbul Ferryboat History
The route system may shrink again now that the Marmaray rail link is operating beneath the Bosphorus, but you'll still find the big white boats a convenient—and extremely pleasant!—way to travel from Europe to Asia and back again.