Istanbul offers all visitors endless beauties, even to those who want to gaze at its beauty from the sea, which can be done along the Golden Horn and Bosporus. The Rumeli Castle, Anatolian Castle, Dolmabahçe Palace, the waterfront mansions, Çırağan Palace, Ortaköy Mosque, Beylerbeyi Palace, Göksu Pavillion and Emirgan Grove are only but a few of Istanbul’s beauties you will witness while on this trip.
You can travel the route we recommend in one day, by only visiting land to move from one dock to the other. Or, if you like, you could spread it out into a couple of days, spending some time on land after arriving at a new dock. Have fun!
Greeting the day in Istanbul is beautiful in Beşiktaş! You can start your day with a great and nourishing Turkish breakfast by the sea in Beşiktaş, or you could go down town and have a lovely breakfast in one of the small restaurants Beşiktaş also has to offer. But please keep in mind to put off your coffee pleasure till Kadıköy. Try not to miss a Kadıköy ferry leaving the dock at quarter past or quarter to each hour. Here’s another tip! Buy a ‘simit’ to snack on along the way from one of the street sellers before getting on the ferry. You can also share some of your simit with the seagulls and enjoy their company. Sit back and relax to the wonderful view of the sea, the Maiden’s Tower and Haydarpaşa Terminal with your new seagull buddies.
We’re sure you’ll be happy you’ve postponed your coffee till later when you see one of the other gates opening to Istanbul, the historical Haydarpaşa Terminal built in 1908; you can reach this great spot for some authentic Turkish coffee by walking along the seafront when you get off at Kadıköy. While sitting in the shade of Haydarpaşa Terminal, familiar to all even if they’ve never been to Istanbul and only seen it from films and postcards, you’ll understand why it was listed among one of the world’s most beautiful train stations in 2009.
If you’re on time and get on a ferry moving towards Karaköy at twenty past or twenty to each hour, you can have lunch at one of the fish restaurants at Karaköy. Move towards the bow of the ferry while closing in on Karaköy! You’ll see the amazing silhouette of the historical peninsula. You’ll understand why they call this place a historical peninsula once you see the minarets of the Sultanahmet and Süleymaniye mosques, and the Topkapı Palace.
We also recommend that you stop by a patisserie where you can taste the traditional dessert baklava after a great feast of fish at Karaköy. You can move towards Eminönü with a wonderful view of the amateur fishermen on Galata Bridge.
Once you’ve passed Galata Bridge and arrived at Eminönü, you can feed the pigeons in the yard of the New Mosque and find beautiful souvenirs to take home to your loved ones at the Grand Bazaar. You can ride the Eminönü-Haliç ferry to go to Eyüp where you can watch a picturesque sunset at the famous Pierre Loti Hill. The historical sites you must see while visiting Eyüp is the Eyüp Sultan Mosque and its mausoleum. If you’re visiting Istanbul during Ramadan, you’ll get the chance to visit the Ramadan events taking place at Eyüp Feshane and experience Turkish traditions.
You can pass over to the Anatolian side of the city once more by getting on the Üsküdar ferry from Eyüp. After getting off at Üsküdar, you can walk along the seafront to Kuzguncuk and take a short break there enjoying one of the lovely coffee shops. If you’re not very keen on walking, you can get on one of the shuttle buses to get the chance to actually step foot on Maiden’s Tower and have a wonderful dinner at the tower. Built on a small island offshore Salacak, the Maiden’s Tower is the truest witness of Istanbul’s history. As Evliya Çelebi said, this tower is situated “an arrow’s distance” from the land and in a perfect spot where you’ll get to see both coasts of beautiful Istanbul.
Once you get on the Anadolu Hisarı (Castle) ferry from Üsküdar, you’ll have a spectacular view of all the beautiues the Anatolian side of the strait has to offer; Mihrimah Sultan Mosque, Kuleli Military School, Göksu Palace, Beylerbeyi Palace… You can enjoy a cup of tea on the banks of Göksü Stream or snack on some mussel sandwiches while at Anadolu Hisarı. If you’d like to spend some more time here, you can also enjoy eating some fish while watching the beautiful scenery along the stream. We’re sure this little fishermen’s village will seem like a little corner of heaven on earth to you…
This time, you can travel to the other side of the Bosporus, to the European side, by ferry from Anadolu Hisarı. You can get off at Ortaköy dock to visit Büyük Mecidiye Mosque also known as Ortaköy Mosque, Esma Sultan Mansion, the Greek Orthodox Church of Agios Fokas and Hüsrev Kethüda Turkish bath. You can also shop in the cute souvenir and jewellery stores at Ortaköy Square and the surrounding areas.
One of the best city ferry rides is probably one heading towards the Islands… The trip takes around 1 hour if you get on the ferry from Kabataş and Kadıköy and around half an hour if you get on from Bostancı, and in the end you’ll get to meet the peaceful residents of the Islands… You’ll discover a holiday haven in the middle of Istanbul with beaches where you can swim and wonderful seafood restaurants at Heybeli and Büyükada and enjoy the natural beauty of Burgaz and Kınalı.
What makes Istanbul a unique city, different than all the other metropolitans, is that it is situated on two continents. That’s why when we say this travel route is incomparable to any other, you shouldn’t doubt a word of it. You can witness history from the sea while enjoying these wonderful boat tours or city ferries, sailing through the Istanbul Strait stretching between the two continents.
You can get on the city ferries from the docks in Eminönü or Beşiktaş, where you’ll get to see Kanlıca, Sarıyer, Rumelikavağı and Anadolukavağı. The historical structures you’ll see along the way is the Dolmabahçe Palace, Çırağan Palace, Beylerbeyi Palace, Küçüksu Pavilion, Beykoz Pavilion, Adile Sultan Pavilion, Ortaköy Mosque, Beylerbeyi Mosque, Vaniköy Mosque, Şemsipaşa Mosque, the Embassy of Egypt and Sabancı Museum.
The historical mansions along the strait where important families of Istanbul have been living for hundreds of years will have you daydreaming! Hasip Paşa, Muhsinizade, Ahmet Fethi Paşa, Tophane Müşiri Zeki Paşa, Kıbrıslı, Tahsin Bey, Kont Ostrorog, Şehzade Burhaneddin Efendi, Zarif Mustafa Paşa and Nuri Paşa mansions have become iconic structures of Istanbul with their beautiful location along the strait.