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Golden Horn

Cable car tours

Our most recommended Golden Horn Cable car tours

Istanbul: Fener/Balat Walking Tour, Pierre Loti Hill & Ferry

1. Istanbul: Fener/Balat Walking Tour, Pierre Loti Hill & Ferry

Meet your guide at the Fuego Café and Restaurant in Sultanhamet, in the heart of the main tourist area of Istanbul. From here you’ll take the local tram to Eminönü Harbor and begin a 5-hour excursion into Istanbul’s heritage. Travel by public bus to the colorful Fener/Balat district, one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods and at one time home to Istanbul’s Ottoman Orthodox and Jewish residents. See traces of Ottoman life, including wooden houses, mosques, churches, and synagogues, standing together and demonstrating the multicultural and religious ways of the Ottoman Empire. After walking along the cobblestoned streets of the Fener/Balat World Heritage area, you’ll continue along the historic Byzantine city walls that date to the 4th century A.D. and the time of Constantine the Great. Visit the historic Eyüp mosque complex, a sacred area where pilgrims come to visit the mosques and the tombs of Muslim saints. From here you’ll take a short cable car ride up to the famous Pierre Loti Café, a popular meeting point for locals. Enjoy stunning panoramic views of Istanbul while sipping a drink in one of the cafés where French Poet Pierre Loti was inspired to write Aziyade, part biography and part love story about his escapades in Istanbul in the late 1800s. Walk back down to Eyüp to catch the local ferry for a cruise on the blue waters of the Golden Horn. See Ottoman houses, shipyards, the old and new Galata bridges, Ataturk Bridge, ancient city walls, mosques, churches, and other historic and modern sites. You’ll disembark at Eminönü Harbor, where the tour ends.

Istanbul: Half-Day Cruise and Cable Car to Pierre Loti Hill

2. Istanbul: Half-Day Cruise and Cable Car to Pierre Loti Hill

Explore Istanbul in 3 fascinating ways on this action-packed, 3.5- to 4-hour sightseeing tour by boat, then the magnificent view of Istanbul from Pierre Loti Hill by cable car. Take an amazing cruise between the 2 continents of Europe and Asia. Sail along the Bosphorus by the Dolmabahçe and Beylerbeyi Palaces, wooden villas and mansions, all the way up to the Rumeli Fortress near the Black Sea. See imposing Rumeli Fortress, Yildiz Palace, and wooden Ottoman houses. Then head back to shore to wonder at the ancient City Walls, iron-paneled St Stephen's Church, and colorful former-Jewish district on a bus tour to the Golden Horn. Finish with a memorable experience in Istanbul's iconic old city, Sultanahmet.

Istanbul: Bosphorus Cruise and Golden Horn Bus Tour

3. Istanbul: Bosphorus Cruise and Golden Horn Bus Tour

Enjoy a Bosphorus cruise through the waterway separating the two continents, Europe and Asia, with a possibility to take photographs of marble palaces and ancient wooden villas of Ottoman architecture besides modern residential and luxurious apartments. See the Rumeli Fortress from the boat, a historical armament built by the Conqueror to control and protect the Bosphorus. It is a unique example of military architecture. Visit the Golden Horn by bus, the arm of the Bosphorus and a natural harbor of the historical peninsula separating the old and new parts of Istanbul where the first colonies settled during the Byzantine Empire. This was a residential area for Byzantine Jews, Italian traders, and other non-Muslim minorities. Drive along the traces of history in Balat and view the Bulgarian St Stephen Church, the Jewish Hospital (Or-Ahayim), the Fener Orthodox Patriarchate, and the 22-kilometer Byzantine City Wall, the strongest fortification of the Middle Ages. You then take a cable car ride to Pierre Loti coffee house.

Istanbul: Old City Tour, Bosphorus Cruise, Cable Car & Lunch

4. Istanbul: Old City Tour, Bosphorus Cruise, Cable Car & Lunch

Explore Istanbul on this coach tour of the Old City. See sights like the Eyup Sultan Mosque and the Hippodrome. Learn about Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque on a guided tour. Sit down to a tasty lunch and sail on the Bosporus. Soak up the views from Pierre Loti Hill and ride a cable car.  Enjoy the convenience of being picked up from centrally-located hotels in Istanbul. Sit back and relax in an airconditioned coach with plenty of space on your way to the departure point. Meet your local guide and head to the Old City to visit the Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque. Learn about this 6th century building that was constructed by the emperor Justinian as a Greek Orthodox Church. Hear about how the the Hagia Sophia has transformed over time and how it was the largest church in the world for a 1,000 years. Continue to the Blue Mosque to admire its 20,000 blue Iznık ceramic tiles and its 6 towering minarets. Find out how it was built for Sultan Ahmet I and how it was the last great mosque of the Classical period. Make your way to the the sporting and social center of ancient Constantinople at the Hippodrome. View the German Fountain of Wilhelm II, the Bronze Serpentine Column, the Obelisk of Theodosius, and the Column of Constantine. Discover the Tombs of Sultans, the final resting place of 5 Sultans and 142 members of the Ottoman dynasty. Visit the fountain of Sultan Ahmet III which is in front of the Imperial Gate of the Topkapı Palace. See the Perayton, an older Byzantine fountain with a Turkish rococo structure. Take as stroll through the Grand Covered Bazaar, the oldest and biggest covered market in the world. Get lost in 65 streets with more than 4000 shops. Have some free time to haggle before sitting down to a delicious lunch. Take in the city sights from the sea on a Bosphorus cruise. Capture pictures of of the Golden Horn, the Topkapı palace, the Dolma Bahçe palace, the Hagia Sophia Mosque, the Maiden’s tower, Galata tower, the Blue mosque, Ortakoy mosque. Gaze out at the bridges connecting Europe and Asia. Board the coach and pass by historical wooden houses, churches, synagogues, mosques, and the remains of the Roman Wall. Visit the Eyup Sultan Mosque and see the Abu Eyup Alansari Tomb (Abu Ayyub al-Ansari was the standard bearer and companion of Muhammad). Ascend the Pierre Loti Hill by bus and snap some photos of sweeping views of the Golden Horn. Marvel at city views as you descend the hill on a cable car ride. Return to your accommodation by coach at the end of your tour.

Istanbul: Full-Day Golden Horn & Bosphorus Tour

5. Istanbul: Full-Day Golden Horn & Bosphorus Tour

Begin this full-day excursion with a stroll around Pierre Loti Hill. Hop-on a cable car and let it take you to another world where the ancient Byzantine walls of Constantinople, Tekfur Palace and the Castle of Seven Towers await. Learn about the history of this centuries-old metropolis and how it functioned as both the capital of the eastern Roman Empire and as the head of the Ottoman Empire.  Then, board the boat and cruise around the Bosphorus Strait which connects the Sea of Marmara to the Black Sea and separates Europe and Asia, making Istanbul one of the most beautiful cities in the world and the only one built astride two continents. This romantic cruise along the Bosphorus will allow you to admire the Dolmabahce Palace, the Beylerbeyi Palace, the Ciragan Palace and the Rumeli Fortress, ancient wooden villas, bridges and all the wonderful and unique maritime landscapes.

Istanbul: Golden Horn & Pierre Loti Hill Cable Car Day Trip

6. Istanbul: Golden Horn & Pierre Loti Hill Cable Car Day Trip

The Golden Horn, a horn-shaped estuary, is said to be the world’s best natural harbor. Its name is rumored to have been derived from the golden hue of the water due to the reflection of the sun during sunset. During the Byzantine period, the Golden Horn was a trading harbor as well as a popular residential area. By the time of the Ottoman period, the Golden Horn had become populated by immigrants from Spain, Armenia, Greek, etc. In this full day trip, you’ll explore the areas by the banks of the horn and learn about the many historic sites nearby and explore the picturesque parks and promenades that have popped up in recent years. Start with a stop at St. George’s Cathedral. This neo-classical church dates back to the 16th century when it was recognized as the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. Take a look inside the lavish interiors of the cathedral before heading to the Phanar Greek Orthodox College. Built in the early 1800s and said to be one of the oldest educational institutions in Turkey, this historic structure will remind you of the iconic Hogwarts Castle in the famous Harry Potter franchise. Up next, you’ll head to the districts of Fener and Balat, which are steeped in history and culture. Wander around the cobblestone streets and take in the colorful Ottoman architecture. Stop for lunch in one of the local restaurants in Balat before heading to the Bulgarian St. Stephen Church. Also known as the Bulgarian Iron Church, this shrine’s design features prefabricated cast iron elements in the neo-Byzantine style. Marvel at the intricate details of the church before making your way to Pierre Loti Hill. To reach the top of the hill, you’ll board a cable car and take in the stunning 360-degree views of the Golden Horn. Once you reach the hill itself, take a breather and admire the breathtaking views of the wonderful city below.

Frequently asked questions about Golden Horn Cable car tours

What are other things to do than Golden Horn Cable car tours that are worth visiting in Istanbul?

The other unmissable things to do in Istanbul are:

Other Sightseeing Options in Golden Horn

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What people are saying about Golden Horn

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 151 reviews

I had no idea and the tour ended up being a private tour, and my guide Baki, he was the best, he explained to me everything and answer any question I had without problems! It was awesome having him with me during the day because he would show me everything and explained many many things and he always let it be my choice for the things to do first or later. It was absolutely worth it!

I took this tour with another lady, guided by Onder, and partially by Selih. Onder was probably the best guide I had while in Istanbul and he really made me enjoy this part of the city

Very interesting tour with an excellent guide Önder. The guide has a wealth of information not only for the tour. Top information Top tour.

Off the beaten path for those who are interested. Got to see a lot more about Istanbul which I didn’t see before. Highly recommend this.

A nice experience, I recommend it. The guide is very attentive in everything. All very well detailed.