Bosphorus Cruise Sights-Istanbul

Last Updated on November 18, 2023

Here are the sights you'll see (including six Ottomanpalaces) on a Bosphorus cruise in Istanbul.

I've divided the description into two parts, the Southern Bosphorus (from the Golden Horn and Istanbul city center north to the Bosphorus Bridge), and the Northern Bosphorus, (from the Bosphorus Bridge north to the Black Sea):

Southern Bosphorus

The most impressive sights are along the southern shores of the Bosphorus, nearest to the city: Topkapı Palace,the mid-Bosphorus Maiden's Tower (Kız Kulesi), theSelimiye Barracks (where Florence Nightingaleworked), Dolmabahçe PalaceÇirağan Palace, Yıldız Park & Palace, the chic art-boutique-and-café scene in the village of Ortaköy, the pretty Ottoman baroqueMecidiye Mosque, and the Bosphorus Bridge. More...

Seagulls on the Bosphorus, Istanbul, Turkey
Bosphorus shearwaters hunt for fish...

Northern Bosphorus

Beyond the Bosphorus Bridge there's plenty more to see: Beylerbeyi Palace, the village of ÇengelköyKuleli Naval AcademyArnavutköy with its photogenic Ottoman yalıs (wooden Bosphorus seaside mansions), Rumeli Hisarı (the mighty Fortress of Europe), the town of Bebek with its pretty bay, and Bosphorus University.

North of the Fatih Bridge, second to be built across the Bosphorus, is Anadolu Hisarı (the Fortress of Anatolia),Küçüksu Kasrı (a fine little rococo palace), the Hıdiv Kasrı (fine Art Nouveau villa built in 1900 for the Khedive of Egypt), the pretty restaurant village of Tarabya, the town of Büyükdere (with its excellent Sadberk Hanım Museum), and Sarıyer (with a fish market and several seafood restaurants on the shore).

Rumeli Kavağı (the farthest northern dock on the European shore of the Bosphorus), and Anadolu Kavağı(the final dock on the Bosphorus cruise-tour) are about 10 km (6 miles) south of the Black Sea, but these docks are as far as the Bosphorus cruises go.

Bosphorus Tour Boat & Rumeli Hisarı Fortress, Istanbul, Turkey

Bosphorus cruise boat passes Rumeli Hisarı('Fortress of Europe') on the BosphorusIstanbul.

If you take the cruise all the way to the end, you may have to wait three hours at the northern terminus of Anadolu Kavağı for the ferry's departure for the return to Istanbul. But you can get off the boat in Sarıyer, have lunch, then ride south along the shore. More...

Some boats do not stop but make a continuous cruise, bringing you back to the Galata Bridge in just over an hour. Dentur Avrasya operates a hop-on hop-off cruise that is among the best ways to see the Bosphorus. More...

Here's how to tour the European shore of the Bosphorus by road from Sarıyer to Istanbul, and here's an hour-by-hour itinerary to hit the main sights.

—by Tom Brosnahan

Aerial view of the Bosphorus, Istanbul, Turkey

Visit our Facebook group:

icon Book a Cruise

You’re forwarded to tekce.com


You will be redirected
in 3 seconds...

Please wait to continue or Cancel

Skip to toolbar