A stay in Istanbul is not complete without a traditional and unforgettable excursion up the Bosphorus, the strait that separates Europe and Asia. Its shores offer a delightful mixture of past and present, grand splendor and simple beauty.
The best was to see the Bosphorus is to board one of the passenger boats that regularly zigzag along the shores. Embark at Eminönü and stop alternately on the Asian and European sides of the strait. The round-trip excursion, very reasonably priced, takes about six hours.
For those who want a private voyage, there are agencies that specialize in organizing day or night-time mini cruises.
During the trip you will pass Dolmabahçe Palace, further along you will see the imperial pavilions of the Yildiz Palace, and the Ciragan Palace. You will pass Ortaköy, where you can hop off to taste a Kumpir (baked potato) The trip will lead you past the beautiful Beylerbeyi palace, and the wooden Ottoman villas of Arnavutköy. A few kilometers along stand the fortresses of Rumeli Hisari and Anadolu Hisari, and the Göksu Palace.