Istanbul is the only city in the world built on two continents, Europe and Asia. Turkey's capital is divided by the Bosphorus and is a mesmerising mix of the ancient and modern, a place of beauty, culture and buzzing markets and bazaars.
Not sure what to do while you're in the city? Check out some of its most amazing sights on Istanbul boat tour! The cruise will introduce you to towering minarets, mosques, basilicas and summer palaces where sultans used to swing.
Learn about Istanbul's past and present from onboard tour guides and let yourself be swept away by the majesty of a city where east meets west.
What kind of boat tours are available in Istanbul?
Choose from an enticing variety of tours, such as sunset cruises, half-day cruises with lunch and nighttime cruises with musical and dance performances. Whether you just want to sail and gaze at the gorgeous sights or be entertained at the same time, there's bound to be a boat trip for you. Here's a guide to help you choose:
Get out on the Bosphorous on a sunset cruise and watch the dying lights of the day reflect off the water and bathe riverfront buildings in warm orange and red glow. The cityscape looks even more stunning at this time of day. Whether you're on your own, with friends or your partner feel uplifted as you glide across the water while the sun goes down.
Watch the city sparkle after dark as you take a nighttime cruise along the Bosphorus. It is a fascinating and magical sight that you'll never forget.
Dinner and Show Cruise Tour
Combine your river sightseeing trip with a three-course dinner and top-quality traditional entertainment. When you can tear your eyes away from the scenic river vistas, you can enjoy such entertaining spectacles as belly dancing, folk dancing and a henna ceremony.
Luxury Yacht Cruise
Travel in style aboard a glass-enclosed luxury yacht. Marvel at iconic attractions from the comfort of your plush seating.
Savour an unforgettable experience with a 4-hour or full-day cruise that includes lunch. Dine on an open buffet of Turkish specialities as your boat takes you along the Bosphorus Strait. The full-day tour includes lunch at a restaurant.
Boat Tours and Sightseeing
Yes, you can see gorgeous sights from the water, but some tours include visits to popular destinations such as the Blue Mosque, the Spice Bazaar and the Princes' Islands.
Private Boat Tours
Consider booking private boat cruises for just you and the friends or family members you are travelling with. Choose from several options such as a Bosphorus cruise that includes a tour of the Islamic Arts Museum in the heart of the Sultanahmet district.
How much should I budget for an Istanbul boat tour?
Prices of Istanbul boat tours start at just €10 per person for a 90-minute trip that passes fortresses, historical palaces and the Bosporus Bridge. Numerous tours cost between €30 and €70. Private boat tours are more expensive: a 2-hour yacht trip costs €385, but it can be shared between up to 12 participants within your group.
How long does a boat trip take?
The shortest Istanbul boat tour lasts for one hour, while the longest is one day. Other durations are also available such as 2-hour and 4-hour trips. If you would like some flexibility in your touring schedule, consider a 24-hour hop-on hop-off bus ticket that also includes a laidback cruise on the Bosphorus.
Where do Istanbul boat tours leave from?
Boats depart from several locations in Istanbul. They include Kabatas Iskelesi boat station and the pier in front of Dolmabahçe Mosque. With some Istanbul boat cruises, you will be picked up and dropped off at your hotel.
When is the best time for a boat trip from Istanbul?
To make the most of the good weather, the best time for a boat trip in the city is from March to May and between September and November. During these months the average temperatures are manageable, and Istanbul isn't too crowded with tourists. It is probably best to avoid the winters which can be rainy and chilly.
Here are some handy travel tips for your boat tour in Istanbul.
- If there are no refreshments on your Istanbul boat tour, bring water with you to keep yourself hydrated.
- Bring appropriate items to protect you from the sun such as suntan lotion with a high SPF factor, sunglasses and a hat.
- To avoid slipping on the deck if it gets wet wear rubber-soled shoes.
- Don't forget your camera or video camera to preserve your memorable moments for posterity.
- For some boat trips, you may need to take your passport or another form of identification. Check with the tour operator when booking your trip.