We will be arriving in Istanbul at 2PM on Tues. Sept 24. We return home on Thursday at 1PM. Our first goal is a cruise on the Bosphorus. How often do these cruises run daily? What is the cost?. I've read different prices. Any recommendations from you as to cruise line or anything in general. We hope to walk to most sights as well. Thanks...Bob L
There are the ones catering to small groups of tourists and then there are local boats that ferry to different stations on the Bosphorus. I took the non-touristy one and it was probably just as good (the route covered all the top spots). The boats run all the time - every half hour at least and there are different routes (one stops at a fortress but leaves you there for at least half day - I didn't do that one). It won't be hard to figure out once you get there (just don't get suckered by touts - weigh your options). Unless you are getting a private small boat, it should be quite inexpensive (and very spectacular if the weather's good). You should also consider taking local ferries up the Golden Horn - again, very inexpensive because that's how locals get around on their commute.
We took the cruise all the way up the Bosphorus and back that Rick recommended in his Istanbul book as a 3/3 highlight (actually, Lale and her husband wrote it, not Rick). It was one of the few "mistakes" in the book; it was a very long day, and while the ride up was nice, the ride back was boring and the town you end up in has nothing to do but eat lunch (to be fair, a good lunch with a pretty view, but you can get that in Istanbul itself). So I'd aim for a shorter cruise. Or, if you just want to be on the water and it doesn't technically have to be the Bosphorus, take one of the commuter boats to Kadikoy. These are cheap (the same as a bus fare), you get great views of the Old Town, the ride is less than 30 minutes, and Kadikoy is interesting to see in its own right. Particularly since you have such a short time in Istanbul, I wouldn't spend too much of it on the water - there's too much great stuff on land.
@Harold - what trip did you take, and what town are you talking about (sorry, I don't follow RS books all the time, or even most of the time)? The one by Fortress Rumeli where you're left for hours to wander around and eat lunch? There are several routes for the Bosphorus - it doesn't need to last all day or half day (mine was 2 hours or so). The trip I took was probably the highlight of Istanbul among many highlights - I did it twice just to snap more photos. The Golden Horn ferry was great too - I took it to Eyup where there is a very interesting mosque and close to the Pierre Loti cable car. Ditto, a short trip to Kadikoy on the Asian side is worthwhile too.
Here's some good info: http://www.wittistanbul.com/magazine/what-bosphorus-cruise-tour-to-take-in-istanbul/ I'm pretty sure I took the short circle tour, and it was very inexpensive (10 Turkish Lira sounds about right)
I took a short one about 2 hours or so. it goes as far as the bridge connecting asia and Europe. the view is pretty nice and it's not very expensive (evening rides are even cheaper). definitely take a heavy jacket if you can it can get windy.
@Agnes: The town was Anadolu Kavagi, on the Asian side, almost at the Black Sea. As for the value of the Bosphorus cruise itself, we'll just have to agree to disagree. I had the exact opposite reaction to yours. In a city where so many sights and experiences "met expectations" or "exceeded expectations," the cruise was a standout in that it "did not meet expectations." I found the views better from the commuter boat to Kadikoy. But, as the old saying goes, that's why there's chocolate and vanilla. Or, my other favorite, "If we all liked the same places, they'd get awfully crowded."
Had I read Harold's post before I left for Istanbul I would have been very much ahead of the game! Take the "short cruise", which is 10TL rather than the "long cruise" which is 25TL and takes a three hour break at the small fishing village which has little to offer other than pricey food, althuogh there is a castle that is a long steep walk out of town. The "long cruise" uses up nearly an entire day and shows you little of interest above what the "short cruise" offers.
Hi - I am also voting against the long cruise....especially if it is not a sunny day. My family went all the way to the Black Sea. It was a long day and the weather wasn't that nice so the short trip would have been just fine. If you've never been to Istanbul before I would skip the cruise and take the ferry to the Asian side. That will get you on the water, save lots of time, and Istanabul has so much to see for such a short period of time.