Here's a full-day itinerary for exploring the Bosphorus in Istanbul: cruise on a traditional Şehir Hatları ferry fromEminönü near the Galata Bridge up the Southern Bosphorus to the Northern Bosphorus, get off the boat and have lunch in Sarıyer, then travel south by land along the European shore, stopping at the major sights which you glimpsed as you cruised north. (For a shorter 1.5-hour cruise, go by TurYol boat.)
First thing is to get to the Boğaz İskelesi Ferry Dock in Eminönü.
You can easily walk to the dock from Sirkeci hotels, walk or take the Kabataş tram from Sultanahmet or Beyazıt hotels. FromTaksim Square hotels, take the Füniküler to Kabataş, then the Bağcılar tram to Eminönü.
9:30 to 10:00 am: Go to Eminönü Boğaz İskelesi Ferry Dock
Although the ferry doesn't depart until 10:35 am, get to the dock early to buy your ticket. Unfortunately, you'll probably have to stand in the sun (or rain) after that until the ferry departs.
10:35 am: Bosphorus Cruise Departure
See the pages on Bosphorus Sights, Southern Bosphorus,Northern Bosphorus and European Shore for details.
10:50 am: Beşiktaş Dock
11:15 am: Kanlıca Dock
11:30 am: Yeniköy Dock
11:45 am: Sarıyer Dock
Here's an alternative schedule to return south by land. (For transport options south from Sarıyer, see the Bosphorus European Shore page.)
11:45 am - 13:30 (1:30 pm): Sarıyer
Leave the ferryboat when it docks at Sarıyer. Stroll around busy Sarıyer, enjoy the ambience and choose a place for lunch, preferably one of the seafood restaurants on the Bosphorusshore. If you only want to see Sarıyer and perhaps the beach at Kilyos or the Sadberk Hanım Museum, you can re-board the ferry for the southward trip when it returns from Anadolu Kavağı to Sarıyer in mid-afternoon.
13:45 - 15:00 (1:45 - 3 pm): Sadberk Hanım Museum
Spend an hour or so in this marvelous art and antiquities museum. More...
15:45 - 16:45 (3:45 - 4:45 pm): Rumeli Hisarı Fortress
Climb the castle walls for the marvelous views. More...
17:00 - 18:00 (5 - 6 pm): Ortaköy
Stop here for a rest, a drink hot or cold, a snack or meal, and some pleasant people-watching. Don't miss the ornate Ortaköy mosque. More...
19:00 (7 pm): Eminönü
Return to Eminönü in time to clean up and go out to dinner.
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—by Tom Brosnahan