Bosphorus Cruise

Saturday was forecasted to be a hot day, so we decided to go on a cruise and get out of the city. The word ‘cruise’ conjures up images of a multi day voyage in the open seas on a mega ship with hordes of people lining up in the buffet line. The Bosphorus cruise is not like that. It is a day trip along the Bosphorus Strait on the public ferry. You get to see some of the city sights from the water, and end up in a small fishing village for a lunch break before heading back to town.

The ferry departs from Eminönü at 10:35AM and costs 25TL ($3.30) round trip per person. Amazingly, the time table and fee have not changed since the 2016 Rick Steves guidebook was published.

The guidebook also warned about weekend crowds, but we knew that wasn’t going to materialize given what we’ve seen all week.

The northbound trip took a little under 2 hours making various stop along the way for locals to get on and off. Sitting on the left side of the boat not only shielded us from the sun, but it also allowed us to see the European side of Istanbul, which is where the majority of the sights are located. Here are some of the sights along the way.

The Dolmabahçe Palace is where the Sultans lived during the latter part of the Empire. Notice the more European/Western influence on the palace architecture.
A close up
Ortaköy Mosque
Cruising under the Bosphorus Bridge built in 1973
The Rumeli Fortress along with the Anatolia Fortress on the opposite bank allowed the Ottomans to cut off relief to the Byzantines, and resulted in the takeover of Constantinople.
The current president’s summer residence
Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge built in 2016. Beyond that is the Black Sea.
Our final destination – Anadolu Kavagi

The ferry stops here for 2.5 hours and departs at 3PM, which gave us a chance to explore the Yoros Castle and grab lunch.

After a 20 minute trek uphill
A view towards the Black Sea from the castle
Lunch back at the marina offered us a nice water front view for only 95TL ($12). We joked that this kind of seat in Newport Beach would have set us back by at least $50.
Grilled sea bass
Grilled bream

The timing of everything was perfect, as we didn’t have to wait long before the ferry departed. Again, we sat on the left side of the boat away from the sun to take in the sights on the Asian side. A lot of modern mansions.

As well as the Çamlica Mosque that was built in 2019

We got to chatting with another younger American couple, who are taking advantage of the work from home situation to travel for the next 10 months. I think we’ll start to see a lot of people doing this, which I think is wonderful.

We arrived back in Eminönü at 4:30PM, and were glad we got out of town today. The Saturday crowd in town was unbelievable.

Dinner was back in Beyoğlu, where we splurged a little because we wanted to try some meze.

The concept of meze is similar to Spanish tapas or Korean banchan.
Yummy main course at Antiochia

Dinner was 290TL ($38), so our total for the day came out to be $57.

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