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Golden Horn

Sightseeing Cruises

Our most recommended Golden Horn Sightseeing Cruises

Istanbul: Golden Horn and Bosphorus Tour

1. Istanbul: Golden Horn and Bosphorus Tour

After finishing your busy day of sightseeing around Istanbul, you can relax on this 2-hour Golden Horn and Bosphoros cruise. You will meet your guide across from the Hagia Sophia, from where you will go together down to the pier behind the building. From there you will discover the Golden Horn, including the 32-kilometer-long Bosphorus which separates Europe and Asia. You will be able to see Istanbul’s main attractions, including magnificent palaces, ancient castles, and famous hills and parks, as well as spectacular seaside residences from different centuries. All of this sightseeing will of course include your passing under Istanbul's many famous bridges. You will pass by Dolmabahce Palace, Ciragan Palace, Ortaköy Mosque, Bosphorus Bridge, Rumeli Fortress and Beylerbeyi Palace. You will also get to see some historical landmarks from a distance, such as Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Maiden Tower, and Galata Tower. 

Istanbul: 1, 2 or 3-Day Private City Guided Tour

2. Istanbul: 1, 2 or 3-Day Private City Guided Tour

Discover the best of Istanbul on this 1, 2, or 3-day private tour that covers the major attractions, such as the Hagia Sophia Museum, the iconic Blue Mosque, the bustling maze of the Grand Bazaar, and the obelisk of the Hippodrome of Constantinople. A few of the possible attraction you'll visit on your tour include: The Hagia Sophia, a great architectural beauty and an important monument during the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. For many centuries, this was the largest church in the world, and it still boasts the 4th largest dome after St. Paul's in London, St. Peter's in Rome, and the Duomo in Florence. Dedicated to the Hagia Sophia or 'divine wisdom', it is one of the greatest surviving examples of Byzantine architecture. The Blue Mosque, more officially known as the "Sultanahmet" Mosque has striking blue tiles give it its more common name and make it one of Istanbul’s most iconic attractions. Located close to Topkapi Palace, Sultanahmet Mosque was considered the Supreme Imperial Mosque in Istanbul. Topkapi Palace, a relic of the glory days of the great Ottoman Empire. The former palace boasted a population of about 4,000 people at its peak and was home to 25 sultans over a period of 400 years. Located on a promontory overlooking the Golden Horn, it sits in tranquil gardens that provide shade from the blazing heat of the summer. Pop in to the museum to see the gorgeous Iznik tiles and the ornate stateroom of the harem, among other attractions. The Hippodrome is the former circus built in 203 AD by the Roman Emperor Septimus Severus. Three monuments from the original building remain, including the Egyptian Obelisk, the Serpentine Column, and the Constantine Column. Pause to look at the German Fountain of Wilhelm II, made from 8 marble columns. The Grand Bazaar is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. With hundreds of small handcraft shops selling everything from handmade carpets to Turkish coffee, the atmosphere is electric, and it's a great place to try out your bargaining skills. The spice bazaar is located in Fatih. It's known as the Egyptian Market because during the Ottoman period, Egyptian exports were sold there. The Bosphorus is a narrow, navigable strait between Europe and Asia that connects the Black Sea to the Marmara Sea. Rumeli and Anadolu Fortresses are located at the narrowest point of Bosphorus. There are also magnificent Ottoman palaces and mosques along the Bosphorus. Keep an eye out for them. Built in the 19th century, Dolmabahce Palace was the administrative center of the Ottoman Empire and housed some of the last Ottoman Sultans. The palace site was created by filling in the small bay on the Bosphorus. This gave rise to its name — in Turkish, Dolma means "filled" or "stuffed," and bahce means "garden". Istiklal Street is brimming with life. There, you'll find a plethora of shops, restaurants, and bars, and from there, it's an interesting and scenic 2-kilometer walk down to the Tunel Galata Tower area. See this and more depending on which length tour option you select. Possible Itinerary for each day of the tour: Day 1: Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Basilica Cistern, Grand Bazaar, Hippodrome Day 2: Spice Market, Bosphorus Cruise, Dolmabahce Palace, Taksim Square, Istiklal, Galata Tower Day 3: Suleymaniye Mosque, Chora Church, Fener/Balat Districts, Pierre Loti Hill

Istanbul: Bosphorus and Golden Horn River Sunset Cruise

3. Istanbul: Bosphorus and Golden Horn River Sunset Cruise

Sunset Cruise is the 2-hours Bosphorus and Golden Horn boat tour. After meeting point we walk to port for to get cruise. The Bosphorus Strait connects the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara and splits the European and Asian sides of Turkey. This romantic cruise along the Bosphorus will allow you to admire the Dolmabahce Palace, the Beylerbeyi Palace, the Ciragan Palace, the Rumeli fortress, the Anadolu fortress and the Maiden Tower. See ancient wooden villas and bridges and all the wonderful unique maritime landscapes.

Istanbul: Private Bosphorus Strait Sightseeing Yacht Cruise

4. Istanbul: Private Bosphorus Strait Sightseeing Yacht Cruise

Experience the incomparable opportunity to see two continents at once private yacht tour along the Bosphorus Strait, which runs between the beautiful shorelines of Europe and Asia. You'll also get to see the city of Istanbul from the water, gliding by some of the most famous sights and monuments. Take your time to unwind with your group of friends as you sit back and take in the most unforgettable views from your personal sundeck. Enjoy the trip as the friendly crew looks after the rest. Navigate past the waterfront palaces of Sultans and their Pasha’s villas. From the European Side, discover the Dolmabahçe Palace, Çirağan Palace, Rumeli Fortress, and the Bosphorus Bridge. Meanwhile, from the Asian Side, get a glimpse of the Anadolu Fortress, Beylerbeyi Palace, and more.

Istanbul: 1 or 2-Day Private Guided Tour with Hotel Transfer

5. Istanbul: 1 or 2-Day Private Guided Tour with Hotel Transfer

Explore Istanbul on a guided tour. Choose from a 1-day tour to top attractions like the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and Topkapi Palace, or a 2-day tour with a cruise on the Bosphorus straight and a visit to the Dolmabahce Palace and Istiklal Street. Pick from a walking tour or a driving tour.  Day 1 – Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Hippodrome, Topkapi Palace, and the Grand Bazaar Explore the highlights of Istanbul on this private full-day walking tour that covers the major attractions, from the Hagia Sophia Museum to the iconic Blue Mosque, to the bustling maze of the Grand Bazaar, to the obelisk of the Hippodrome of Constantinople. The excursion starts with a pick-up from your Istanbul hotel and a walk through the lively streets of Turkey’s largest city to visit the dramatic former basilica of the Hagia Sophia, a great architectural beauty and an important monument during the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. For many centuries, this was the largest church in the world, and it still holds the position for the 4th largest dome. Dedicated to the Hagia Sophia or 'divine wisdom', it is one of the greatest surviving examples of Byzantine architecture. Move on to the Blue Mosque, officially known as the Sultanahmet Mosque. The mosque’s striking blue tiles give it its more common name and make it one of Istanbul’s most iconic attractions. Located close to Topkapi Palace, Sultanahmet Mosque was considered the Supreme Imperial Mosque in Istanbul. Continue to Topkapi Palace, a relic of the glory days of the great Ottoman Empire. The former palace boasted a population of about 4,000 people at its peak and was home to 25 sultans over a period of 400 years.  Located on a promontory overlooking the Golden Horn, it sits in tranquil gardens that provide shade from the blazing heat of the summer. Pop into the museum to see the gorgeous Iznik tiles and the ornate stateroom of the harem, among other attractions. Visit the Hippodrome, the former circus built in 203 AD by the Roman Emperor Septimus Severus. See the Egyptian Obelisk, the Serpentine Column, and the Constantine Column, the 3 remaining monuments from the original building. Pause to look at the German Fountain of Wilhelm II, made from 8 marble columns. Complete your day with a visit to the Grand Bazaar, one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. With hundreds of small handicraft shops selling everything from handmade carpets to Turkish coffee, the atmosphere is electric, and it's a great place to try out your bargaining skills. Day 2 – Spice Bazaar, Bosphorus cruise, Dolmabahce Palace, Istiklal Street, Taksim The spice bazaar is located in Fatih. It's known as the Egyptian Market because, during the Ottoman period, Egyptian exports were sold there.  The Bosphorus is a narrow, navigable strait between Europe and Asia that connects the Black Sea to the Marmara Sea. Rumeli and Anadolu Fortresses are located at the narrowest point of the Bosphorus and there are magnificent Ottoman palaces and mosques along the Bosphorus. Keep an eye out for them. Built in the 19th century, Dolmabahce Palace was the administrative center of the Ottoman Empire and housed some of the last Ottoman Sultans. The palace site was created by filling in the small bay on the Bosphorus. This gave rise to its name, in Turkish, Dolma means 'filled' or 'stuffed,' and bahce means 'garden'. Istiklal Street is brimming with life. There, you'll find a plethora of shops, restaurants, and bars. From there, it is a 2-kilometer walk down to the Tunel Galata Tower area.

Istanbul: Full-Day Tour with Dolmabahce & Bosphorus Cruise

6. Istanbul: Full-Day Tour with Dolmabahce & Bosphorus Cruise

Get a comprehensive overview of Istanbul on this full-day tour of the city by coach, boat, and cable car. Perfect for those who aim to get a sense of what makes Istanbul unique, this full-day exploration gives a varied tour of the city. It will reveal a mixture of Eastern and European influences that makes the city so unique. First, get picked up from your hotel by bus and driven along the length of the Golden Horn, the historic water that divides Istanbul. Take in the sites of the historic city center and the main port, dating back to the Ottoman and Byzantine empires. Then, travel to the top of Pierre Loti Hill by cable car, and admire panoramic views of the city as you drink coffee at the famous Pierre Loti Café, named after the French novelist who spent much of his time there.  Next, experience the splendor of Istanbul from the water. In the afternoon, enjoy a relaxing cruise on the Bosphorus and take in the grand spectacle of the city’s houses and palaces from the river. Finally, enjoy a tour of Dolmabahce Palace, home to the last of the Ottoman Sultans. Admire one of the most glamorous palaces in the world, once the administrative heart of the Ottoman Empire.

Istanbul: Golden Horn, Pier Loti Hill, and Bosphorus Cruise

7. Istanbul: Golden Horn, Pier Loti Hill, and Bosphorus Cruise

Your tour begins with a pick-up at your hotel and the drive to Pierre Loti Hill, where you’ll take a cable car to the top. Next you’ll see the highlights of Istanbul on a panoramic Golden Horn bus tour. Follow this with a 90-minute Bosphorus cruise, following along the shores and taking in many of Istanbul’s iconic sights. A guide on board will provide full commentary. Admire the views of Dolmabahçe Palace, Leanders Tower, the city’s 2 suspension bridges, Rumeli Hisarı Fortress, and the stunning mansions on the Bosphorus shores. Disembark near Istanbul’s famous Spice Bazaar for the transfer back to your hotel.

Istanbul Scenic Half-Day Bosphorus Cruise

8. Istanbul Scenic Half-Day Bosphorus Cruise

Explore the spice bazaar, located next to New Mosque (Yeni Camii) in Eminonu. The unique bazaar evokes fantasies of the mystical East and is filled with the enticing aromas of cinnamon, caraway, saffron, mint, thyme and many other herbs and spices. Be driven along the Golden Horn and gaze at the historical heart of Istanbul and the principal harbor of the Byzantium and Ottoman periods for hundreds of years. Enjoy snacks and refreshments at Cafe Pierre Loti, a quaint cafe at the end of the Bosphorus with a beautiful view of the Golden Horn that was named after the famous French writer Pierre Loti. After this you will gain an entirely different perspective of the Golden Horn whilst driving down from the nearby hill with the Cable Car. Relax on a cruise along the great Bosphorus river which separates Asia and Europe. This voyage enables you to see the delightfully surprising mixture of past and present, Asian and European influences, grand splendor and simple beauty.

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

9. 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: Old Town Highlights Tour & Bosphorus Cruise

10. Istanbul: Old Town Highlights Tour & Bosphorus Cruise

Begin your 8-hour tour at Hagia Sophia, in the heart of old Istanbul. Known for its mosaics, Its massive dome dominates the Sultanahmet skyline. Visit the Blue Mosque, named after the exquisite tiles in its interior. It is the only imperial mosque with six minarets. The Grand Bazaar was the commercial heart of the city and its 4,000 shops are full of treasures including carpets, silk, jewelry, icons, and leather goods. Indulge in some shopping before enjoying your lunch at a rooftop restaurant with Bosphorus views. After visiting the Spice Bazaar, explore the Golden Horn and take a Bosporus tour on a private boat. Enjoy the sights and sounds of this legendary waterway.

Frequently asked questions about Golden Horn Sightseeing Cruises

What are other things to do than Golden Horn Sightseeing Cruises 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

Songul Aksu. She is the best tourist guide you can imagine, if you want to feel like someone local she can help. She can also give the best recommendations in town for anything you want. I feel so comfortable and it was an amazing experience, I would repeat these experience as many times as possible. Istanbul is a place that I will recommend 100% to walk with someone local, you will never stop learning and getting shocked by these city. I chose 3 day tour with transportation and I will recommend this experience 100%.

Relaxing couple of hours with great views. Meet staff at the permanent news/drinks kiosk as described. They have a red flag and yellow sign so you can see and follow them. Refreshments available on board the boat and a loo! Tannoy style commentary was ok but you can download an app if you prefer. If you have a guide book the sights are in there too - pretty obvious. We really enjoyed our trip.

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!

My wife and I had a 3 days guided tour, it covered everything we wanted to see in Istanbul and more. You can also nominate location. We opted not to go to Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar (also they are closed during Eid holiday). Our guide Korhan was fantastic, friendly and knowledgeable. We had a great time with him, highly recommended!

It was very nice to see the Bosphorus at sunset. There was a little wind in the evening hours. I would recommend it to everyone. The boat was a bit crowded, but it's normal in the summer season because everywhere is crowded.