Exploring Istanbul’s Golden Horn and Bosphorus: A Detailed Guide
Istanbul is a sprawling, dynamic city, full of diverse attractions. One of the most popular sights in the city are the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn waterway. Spanning two continents and a history that goes back thousands of years, the Bosphorus and Golden Horn offer breathtaking views, interesting activities and lots to explore. In this guide, we’ll take a look at what makes these waterways so special, and give you insider tips on how to make the most of your visit.
What is the Golden Horn?
The Golden Horn is a relatively shallow estuary that divides Europe from the city’s old Ottoman centre. It is part of the chain of waterways that links the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara. It stretches from the main portion of the Bosphorus in the north to near Salacak at its southern entrance, where it meets the Sea of Marmara. The famed Galata area forms the western edge of the Golden Horn and includes many historic sites. As a major harbour, transport of goods by ship has been a key factor in its history.
Bosphorus: Connecting Two Continents
The Bosphorus is the strait that links Europe to the historic city of Istanbul and Asia Minor. This stretch of water is an integral part of the city; throughout Istanbul’s history, it has been used as a trading centre and military base by many civilizations. Spanning 31 km, it stretches from the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara. At its narrowest point, it measures only 700 m across.
Exploring The Waterways
The best way to take in both the Golden Horn and Bosphorus is to join an organised tour. This can range from a sightseeing cruise lasting a few hours, or an extended full-day tour. Some itineraries will start from the Asian side of Istanbul, while others will begin from Golden Horn’s European shores. Either way, your tour will feature spectacular views of both sides of Istanbul, including ancient parts of old Constantinople, modern neighbourhoods and more. Whichever option you choose, ensure that your tour includes enough stops so that you can take it all in. Your tour can include stops at:
- The Istanbul Modern Art Museum
- Beşiktaş (a waterfront district)
- The historic Dolmabahçe Palace
- Rumeli Hisarı (fortress)
- Çengelköy (a fishing village)
- Küçüksu Palace
Numerous companies offer tours along these waterways; make sure you compare prices and pick one that fits in with your budget and time availability. Also, take into account what else you have planned for your holiday before booking a full-day tour; given their length, resting periods may be necessary before and after.
Operators & Boat Types
When choosing an operator for your cruise, take into account the different types of boats on offer too. The classic two-deck tour boats offer an up close and personal experience of these waterways; with plenty of room on board and easy access to seating on both levels, they’re perfect for sightseeing in comfort. If you want something more luxurious, why not try one of Istanbul’s elegant sailing boats? These boats offer an elegant atmosphere in which to enjoy a unique perspective of both waterways but are best suited to small group tours.
Other Ways to Explore
If you prefer not to join a tour group, there are other ways to explore these waterways; for instance you can take a private boat charter to explore Golden Horn and Bosphorus at your own pace. This can be especially useful if you are looking to explore some of Istanbul’s lesser-known sights or visit archaeological sites not generally included on tours. There are also ferries, which travel regularly up and down both waterways. Using these can be a great way to travel between Istanbul’s two sides while also taking in all the sights along the way, although some visitors may find them cramped compared to a larger boat tour option.
Travelling on Foot
If You Don’t Prefer Spending Time on Boat Tours Or Waterways Then You Can Also Explore Istanbul’s Waterways By Foot Since Both The Golden Horn And The Bosphorus Have Large Walkable Areas Allowing You To Explore Numerous Sights Along The Waterfront. You Can Stroll Through Gilded Parks, Get Lost In Richly Decorated Mosques And Discover Local Craft Shops Filled With Handcrafted Goods.
Book Now for an Unforgettable Experience
Whatever type of exploration you choose for your experience along Istanbul’s Golden Horn and Bosphorus waters, you are sure to have an unforgettable time filled with timeless memories. So don’t hesitate and book your Golden Horn and Bosphorus Tour in Istanbul now!