Bosphorus Cruises

The word Bosphorus means, “cow-ford.� Let us explain. Bosphorus is a straight, that appears to be in the shape of a cow, that forms the boundary between the European part of Turkey and the Asian part of Turkey. According to myth, Zeus’s mistress “lo� fled across the cow-shaped straight to escape the wrath of Zeus’s wife, Hera. This world-famous waterway is absolutely beautiful, which is why millions explore the straight each year on a Bosphorus Cruise.

In addition to forming the boundary between the European part and the Asian part of Turkey, Bosphorus also joins the Black Sea and Sea of Marmara. Bosphorus literally winds between wooded hills lined with castles, 19th century mansions and mosques as well as villages and baroque palaces of the late Ottoman sultans. Excursions throughout Bosphorus cruises may include stops at Istanbul’s best ethnological museum Sadberk Hanim Museum as well as the 17th century Spice Bazaar, fortresses, and restaurant villages.

Bosphorus cruises will take the passenger along the southern Bosphorus and the northern Bosphorus, where you will see Topkapi Palace, Dolmabahce Palace, Ciragan Palace, Yildiz Park & Palace, Mecidiye Mosque and the Bosphorus Bridge. North you will see Beylerbeyi Palace, the village of Cengelkoy, Kuleli Naval Academy, Arnavutkoy including wooden seaside mansions, Rumeli Hisari (the fortress of Europe), the town of Bebek, and Bosphorus University.

Bosphorus cruises come in all shapes and sizes to fit a wide variety of tastes and budgets. You can opt for a traditional Istanbul ferry boat, a TurYol boat cruise, or a private yacht. A Bosphorus cruise is either part of a larger tour itinerary or one that travels up-and-down the waterway. These are typically 90 minute cruises, and while they are much cheaper than Bosphorus cruises that are part of a larger itinerary, they can be quite crowded in the summer. 90 minute Bosphorus cruises may travel slightly past Rumeli Hisari and then it heads back.

TurYol is a private boat owners’ cooperative, which operates frequent 90 minute Bosphorus cruises in Istanbul. These cruises start from the Eminönü ferry docks on the west side of the Galata Bridge at the mouth of the Golden Horn. TurYol boats depart more frequently than traditional Bosphorus Tour ferries. Traditional ferry boat tours makes several dock stops along its route. A round trip Bosphorus ferry boat tour takes around six hours.

If you prefer a little privacy and money is no object, you can take a private Bosphorus cruise. Check out for details.

Due to the very nature of Bosphorus cruises, it’s best to know what type of weather to expect during each season of the year. Below is information about Turkey’s climate and the best time to take a Bosphorus cruise.

Spring (April-mid-June): While April can be quite rainy, the weather is moderate during most times throughout the spring season making it a prime time to visit. Another benefit is that the tourist rush hasn’t begun.

Autumn (mid-September-October): Autumn features mostly mild weather, with short days. While October can be rainy, autumn is the second best time to visit.

Summer (mid-June-mid-September): The summer season in Turkey is very hot and dry. The evening brings relief when things tend to cool off considerably.

Winter (November-March): Winter in Turkey is chilly and rainy just about everywhere except the southeast. Prices are ridiculously low, however, and tourists are nearly non-existent.

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